What is a Doula?
A doula is a non-medical assistant in prenatal care, childbirth and the postpartum period. Doulas provide laboring mothers with educational, physical and emotional support. Doulas offer support to the pregnant couple prior, during and after the baby is born.
When Should I Hire A Doula?
Whenever you want :) Some mamas decide they want to hire a doula when they are just 10 weeks pregnant, other mamas have decided last minute they wanted extra support. Looking early for a doula will give you the extra time to sit down with couple different doulas. Hiring a doula early on also gives you more time to build rapport and a trusting relationship.
Does a Doula Replace Midwife/OB/Nurse?
No. Doulas do not replace medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
Does a Doula Make Decisions On My Behalf?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.
Will a Doula Make My Partner Feel Unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.
What Are The Benefits of a Doula?
Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labours are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. Women who use doulas report having more positive feelings about their childbirth experience.
Studies have shown that having a doula's support can:
- shorten labour by about 1.5 hours
- decrease chance of cesarean birth by 51%
- decrease the use for pain medication by 36%
- reduce the need for pitocin by 71%
- reduce the need for forceps by 57%
- help partners participate with confidence
- facilitate mother-baby bonding & breastfeeding
What If I Know I Want an Epidural?
Many mamas who have an epidural in their birth plan still hire doulas. Your doula will come to your home to support you during the intensity of early labour and will guide you along to the hospital. It's also good to keep in mind that sometimes labours progress too quickly to receive an epidural, or the anesthesiologist may be unavailable. In this situation your doula will help you with the intensity of labour if your epidural is delayed or unavailable.
I met our birth doula, Jamie Kalynuik, in my 2nd trimester, and I was quite nervous about the delivery side of things. She focused on us the entire time as we navigated through the many decisions we had to make relating to delivery and baby. She was our constant the entire 24 hours I was in labour at the hospital. She helped us create a birth plan, and be vocal about this. Jamie went over the choices and decisions we would have in advance, this was very helpful. During labour she helped keep me present emotionally. There were times it would have been easy for me to give up, and she was an incredible support for me especially then.
I also prepared for my delivery through prenatal yoga at Toronto Yoga Mamas. These yoga classes helped me mentally prepare and focus for the labour and delivery. I loved those sessions, and the environment was extremely warm and welcoming. Prenatal yoga became a highlight of the weeks leading up to my birth.
My birthing experience was enriched because of Jamie, and my husband also says she was a real asset to our birth tea
~ Nicole Brown
Megan was amazing! My partner and I were really looking for a doula that could support both of us in coping with pregnancy and labour. Megan did just that. She was an amazing resource. Megan was always responsive and thorough in her communication and she provided fact based information that helped us feel confident and prepared for labour. During labour, Megan really helped my partner and I, especially in coping when things didn't go exactly as planned. She was very respectful of our decisions and worked really well with my partner, providing a holistic and inclusive experience for both of us. I would definitely recommend Megan.
~ Ahou M.
Susee's visits felt like visits from a friend with the added bonus of supporting me in the early postpartum days and helping me feel confident with my baby - so important as a new mom. ~ Amanda E.