Birth Doula Services - Frequently Asked Questions
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 decide they want to hire a doula when they are just 10 weeks pregnant, others have decided at the last minute they wanted extra support. Looking early for a doula will give you the extra time to sit down with a 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 you and your birth team and to enhance communication with medical professionals. Doulas support your medical team by providing non-clinical support, so that they may focus on their clinical responsibilities.
Does a Doula Make Decisions On My Behalf?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. They provide informational and emotional support, while respecting your decisions.
Will a Doula Make My Partner or Other Support People Feel Unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her support person, and plays a crucial role in helping them 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 who have an epidural in their birth plan still hire doulas. Your doula may come to your home to support you during the intensity of early active 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.
Can I be sure that the doula I hire will be able to attend my birth?
Birth can be unpredictable, so all doulas on our team work with a backup doula that will attend your labour in the unlikely event your primary doula is unable to attend. You will have the option to schedule a call or video meeting with your backup doula prior to your birth.
What if I have a planned or emergency cesarean birth?
If you have a planned cesarean birth, doulas may adjust the package to include more prenatal or postpartum support in lieu of birth attendance. Your doula will individualize support to focus on cesarean birth preparation and postpartum recovery. If a cesarean is required during labour, your doula will remain at the hospital during your operation and provide postpartum support in the first few hours after birth.