What is a doula?
Doula is a Greek word which means caregiver, slave, or a woman who serves. The word doula is now used to describe a trained and experienced labor companion who provides a woman and her partner/husband continuous emotional support, physical comfort, and information before, during, and just after childbirth.
What is the difference between a birth doula and a postpartum doula?
I am a DONA International Certified Birth Doula. Birth Doulas work with women during pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum period (1-2 hours after birth, and 1 postpartum meeting). Postpartum doulas provide care for women, their babies, and their families during the postpartum period, for days and sometimes weeks following the birth.
What is the benefit of having a doula?
Research has shown that women who receive support from a doula during labor and birth have more satisfying birth experiences as well as more positive outcomes (for both the mother and baby).
Research findings to support doula care (based on combined findings from 21 trials representing over 15,000 women):
-28% less likely to have a cesarean section
-31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin (to speed up labor)
-9% less likely to use any pain medication
-34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively
-Simkin, Penny. “Position Paper: The Birth Doula’s Contribution to Modern Maternity Care.” DONA International. 2012
Why do I need a doula if I have a partner/husband?
My role is to help your partner help you. Though most partners are ready and willing to help out in any way, they are often unfamiliar with the normal process of labor. During labor, a woman’s partner is expected to be familiar with the language of birth, understand medical procedures, and know hospital protocol. It is also difficult for him to see his partner experience pain. Often these additional challenges can be very stressful when combined with the desire to provide care and support for the woman.
I can help your partner provide the type of support you need (ie. massage, comforting touch, coaching, etc.). At some point throughout your labor, your partner will also need to take breaks; my presence will allow him to feel more comfortable leaving you briefly. The love and relationship your partner shares with you is unique, and something only they can provide. This is something I recognize and respect. As such, I am there in addition to, not instead of, your partner.
What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?
A midwife is a person trained to assist women in childbirth. They are health professionals who provide primary care to women and their babies during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. Midwives work with women experiencing low-risk pregnancies and attend births in hospitals, birth centres, or at home. In addition, midwives work with other health professionals and refer patients as needed. Doulas are trained as labor companions or coaches. As such, we DO NOT provide any medical services.
Who does my doula work for?
I am independent and self-employed, working for you, not the care providers or medical facility.
When do I call my doula in labor?
It is best to call me whenever labor begins, even if you do not yet need me. This allows me to prepare myself to attend the birth, as well as to travel to meet you at your home or the location of the birth. I can usually meet you within one hour of receiving your call (depending on traffic).
What if my doula isn’t available when I go into labor?
I make sure to have a backup doula for every birth. In the unlikely event that I am unavailable for your birth, the backup doula will provide labor support services.
Can my doula check my cervix to make sure I’m in labor before I go to the hospital?
No. Doulas provide physical, emotional, and informational support only. Any suggestions or information I provide as a doula are to be checked with your primary care provider before using any application. I am not a medical professional and do not do any of the following:
–DO NOT perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, etc.
– DO NOT make medical diagnosis or provide medical advice.
– DO NOT make decisions for you. When deemed appropriate and helpful, I will remind you if there is a significant departure from your birth plan.
– DO NOT speak to staff on your behalf.