Meghan Markle has reportedly hired a doula, a non-medical birth coach, to guide her and Harry through the birth of their first child.
According to US Weekly, Meghan has met with her doula several times already in the run-up to her birth, in her quest for a positive birthing experience that is also said to include self-hypnosis techniques.
It’s a royal first for a doula to be in the delivery room, but not entirely unsurprising, as Meghan is a keen practitioner of yoga—her mom is a yoga teacher.
“Meghan is focused on calm and positive energy around the birth—she’s a big believer in that,” a source tells the magazine.
In a bizarre twist of fate, Meghan has reportedly engaged the services of a doula named Lauren Mishcon, the wife of Oliver Mishcon, whose grandfather headed up attorneys Mishcon de Reya, the firm that represented Princess Diana during her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.
As well as supporting Meghan with practical guidance, massage and emotional support, Lauren will also be giving Harry advice on how to help Meghan when she is giving birth.
Harry “is doing everything he can to make sure Meghan’s comfortable and happy,” the source said.
The word doula comes from ancient Greek, meaning “woman’s servant.”
Mishcon fueled speculation that she had landed the gig when, according to Us Weekly, she was asked on a private forum if she had the job and replied: “I’m busy in Spring. I could not possibly say,” followed by a wink emoji.
Mishcon has reportedly made several visits to Meghan at her home in Great Tew, Oxfordshire, and at Kensington Palace already.
Markle is believed to be following the principles of hypnobirthing when she delivers in April. The method, popularized by American childbirth guru Marie Mongan, sees mothers using meditative techniques and self-hypnosis to enter a state of deep relaxation which theoretically makes giving birth easier—and reduces or even eliminates the need for drugs.
Sleuths have observed that Meghan’s much-noted habit of cradling her bump in public places coincides neatly with Mongan’s advice to new parents to communicate with their unborn children by holding their bellies, which she claims offers the child reassurance and comfort in what could otherwise be stressful situations.