What is a Birth Doula?
Let's just skip the textbook answer that you found on google, shall we?
We like to say we are your "birth nerd besties." We are here for you at any point during your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey to provide evidence-based, non-judgmental support.
Let's face it, sometimes our friends and family give terrible advice or "words of wisdom" (that is often rooted in trauma, misinformation, or is simply outdated). We're got your back (as you can see in this photo)!
Aside from the incredible informational support we provide, we will also be by your side during labour and birth to help you manage pain, positioning, decision-making, and maximizing use of the tools that are available to you. Afterwards, we visit you at home to offer helping hands and guidance in your brand new role as parents.
We are equally there for your partner, ensuring their needs are being met and allowing them to be present with you throughout this process.
What Doulas Do: -provide emotional, physical and informational support -use comfort measures and coping practices to support you in labour and birth -provide you with evidence-based information -continuously reassure, support, and comfort you during labour, birth, and immediate postpartum -help you become informed about the risks and benefits of various birth options -help you to achieve your birth preferences by empowering you prenatally, and helping to facilitate communication between you and your care providers -look after your partner during labour, allowing them to recharge and rest when needed
What Doulas Don't Do: -perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams, blood pressure, or fetal heart monitoring -speak on your behalf to your care provider or hospital staff -make decisions for you -give medical advice or diagnose conditions -judge you for decisions that you make -pressure you into making any decisions -take over the role of your partner -deliver your baby -discriminate based on gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race, marital status
Our Scope of Practice
What is "shared-care"?
"Shared-care" means that you are essentially hiring two doulas for the price of one! Each of us has an amazing variety of training and certifications which complement our collective perfectly and give you the best of both of us. You will spend quality time with us at the workshop and at our consultation (Kayla) and prenatal meeting (Erin) — so you'll get to know us both!
We work as a team, with a rotating on-call schedule. This allows us to be rested and ready to give you 100% on your special day. As we both have youngsters of our own, we strongly believe in work-life balance. Shared-care allows us to be the best doulas we can be, while honouring the sacred time we spend with our own families.
What can you expect your doula to do?
Your doula will meet with you prenatally to discuss your birth preferences, share comfort and pain-coping practices, provide evidence-based information, as well as address any of your fears, concerns or questions. During labour, birth, and immediate postpartum, your doula will be by your side offering continuous emotional, physical, and informational support. Your doula will help you make informed decisions and support you and your partner in having the most empowering experience possible.
Does my doula replace my partner?
Your partner may really want to be involved. It is a very common concern that your doula would take the place of your partner, or take away from their ability to be involved. This is simply not true! Your doula provides a buffer between you and the caregivers, minimizing unwanted intrusions into your intimacy, and helping create a calm and peaceful environment, as you define it. Roles regarding everyone's involvement will be defined together, prenatally.
The presence of a doula allows the partner to offer support during labour and birth without any pressure, to be present and in the moment. A doula is experienced in labour and knows what to expect. Birth often does not follow the plan you had envisioned. However, your doula will be there to help you navigate these changes and challenges.
Doulas support the partner to become involved in the birth to the extent they feel comfortable. A doula compliments and enhances the partner in their supportive role rather than acting as a replacement. Studies have shown that partners participate more actively during labour with the presence of a doula compared to without one.
Does a doula speak for me during labour?
Your doula empowers and educates prenatally, and assists with communication, but does not speak on your behalf. Your doula may remind or encourage you to ask the questions necessary to understand a procedure and make an informed decision.
What difference does the presence of a doula have on my birth outcome?
Research shows the presence of a doula results in shorter labours with fewer complications, a reduction in the need for oxytocin, forceps or vacuum extraction, fewer cesareans, and a reduction in requests for pain medication. When a doula is present during and after childbirth, people report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, and make more positive assessments of their babies. This is because doulas help educate you prenatally to make informed decisions and support you through the experience. **These are statistics and every birth is unique. Having a doula doesn't guarantee you a specific birth outcome.
Why hire a doula rather than simply inviting a friend/family member?
Doulas are professionals, trained in pain-reducing comfort measures, natural methods to keep labour progressing, and knowledge on how to support both the labouring person and their partner. Doulas are familiar with local hospital & midwifery policies and practices, and have often built a rapport with the staff. They are experienced in childbirth and can offer reassurance through evidence-based information in times of doubt.
What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?
Midwives are highly trained medical caregivers, and replace a physician or obstetrician for normal pregnancy and birth. A doula fills a support role.
Doulas work as part of a team with doctors or midwives, but do not replace them. It is outside of a doula's scope of practice to attend births as a primary care-provider, as they offer non-medical support and comfort measures. Doulas do not "catch babies". They do not perform clinical care such as heart rate, blood pressure, or internal exams, whereas midwives do.
How does the doula fit in with the nursing staff?
Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff, but rather work as part of the team. They are there to comfort and support the birthing person and their partner. Nurses change shifts; a doula will stay by your side.
Will a doula support me if I have an epidural?
Absolutely! The role of the doula is to help you feel empowered, informed, supported, no matter what type of birth you are planning. People who choose medicated birth need as much support as those who choose unmedicated birth. To be frank, sometimes choices go out the window with birth. Doulas can bridge the gaps that medication may not cover, and help support you in the presence of interventions. We also help keep you in active positions, even with an epidural, to keep labour progressing.
What if I have a Ceasarean birth?
The doula will help you mentally prepare for surgery while providing comfort, support and encouragement. Often a caesarean birth is an unexpected situation and new mothers are left feeling unprepared, disappointed, and lonely. A doula will support you in the prior to your birth, in the recovery room and postpartum. Whether planned or unexpected, a doula will provide support in the event of a caesarean birth.
What if I planned a natural birth then change my mind during labour?
Regardless of how you bring your baby into the world, a doula is there for you! Doulas do not make decisions for clients or intervene in clinical care, nor do they judge your choices. They provide informational and emotional support while respecting your decisions, regardless of what type of birth you have.