What is a Birth Doula?
A Birth Doula is a professional who is trained and experienced with childbirth, offering continuous emotional, physical, and informational support to expectant parents during the labour and delivery of their baby. A Birth Doula meets with the family prenatally, to discuss their birthing preferences, build a rapport, and help them prepare for the birth from an informed and empowered place.
What are the benefits to having a birth doula?
This is your journey as new parents, and your Doula is there to guide your way and provide a comforting, normalizing presence as well as relief. Doulas recognize that childbirth is a transformative, important experience, and their presence at births is linked to better outcomes overall:
- 31% decrease in the use of synthetic hormones used to augment or start labor
- 28% decrease in the risk of a cesarean section
- 12% increase of the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of pain medications
- 14% decrease in the risk of a newborn being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience(Source: Cochrane Review and evidencebasedbirth.org)
Do I need your services as a Birth Doula if my partner will be at my birth?
A Doula does not replace a partner at a birth, but rather supports him or her in their unique role. The partner knows the mother on an intimate level that could never be attained by the Doula. The Doula is a trained professional with an expertise and an understanding of childbirth, offering that knowledge as they work together to support the labouring mother. The Doula helps to assist the partner assist the labouring women. Additionally the Doula can offer breaks to the partner, help to reassure him/her about the process and empower them.
Do I need your services as birth doula if I’m planning on having an epidural?
Plans for an epidural do not diminish the need for emotional, physical, and informational support throughout childbirth. I am trained with physically supporting labours with epidurals, by keeping my clients comfortable and moving in the bed, as well as encouraging rest when needed.
Do I need your services as a birth doula if I’m having a planned c-section?
There remain emotional and physical needs present at cesarean births, and I can help prepare you for your surgery and accompany you to the hospital on the big day you’ll be meeting your baby. I meet my clients upon arriving to the hospital and I re-join them in recovery to help facilitate skin-to-skin contact and initiate breastfeeding. There is the possibility that I will be able to accompany you into the operating room. I recommend discussing this in advance with your care provider. Typically one support person is permitted to attend but there have been circumstances where two have been allowed. I cannot advocate for this but you can.
Do I need your services as a birth doula if I have a midwife? Or what about the nurses in the hospital?
The primary role of care providers such as midwives and nurses is to focus on the clinical needs of the mother and baby, plus they change shifts as well as have other patients. The Doula is present continuously for the family throughout the labour and delivery. As your Doula I focus on emotional and physical support, as well as providing evidence-based information for decisions about your care, and work independently for the family.
What kind of birth settings do you support?
I offer support in the hospital, the birth center, and home births. I am an objective, non-biased source of support wherever you feel most comfortable birthing your baby.
What does a Birth Doula not do?
Birth Doulas do not perform clinical tasks such as cervical checks, fetal heart rate monitoring. Doulas do not speak to your provider on your behalf, nor do we make decisions about your care.