Frequently Asked Questions
- What does a doula do?
- Why should I hire a doula?
- Will a doula take the place of my partner?
- How is a doula different than a midwife?
- How often do we meet?
- Where and when do you join us in labour?
- What is your experience and training?
- Do you work with a backup?
- Do you have references?
- What do your services include?
What does a doula do?
Doulas provide an opportunity for the mother and her partner to experience birth as a ceremony, something to be celebrated, honoured and at the very least, an active participant in. Doulas provide a service that is tailored to meet the needs of each individual couple, and in so doing, support each couple to give birth their way. A doula’s role is one of continuous support that is far reaching: she provides informational support, emotional support, physical support and spiritual support when required and/or requested. She does not provide clinical support or perform clinical duties such as internal exams, fetal heart checks or blood pressure monitoring.
Doulas provide a woman and her partner (if she has one) the opportunity to experience birth as a ceremony - something to be celebrated, honoured and actively participated in. Each parent-to-be is unique in their preferences and needs surrounding their birthing, It is the Doula's role to offer support that is tailored to those needs, so birth may unfold as a personal experience.
A doula provides continuous informational, emotional, physical, and spiritual support. She does not provide clinical support or perform medical duties.
A doula provides the best information possible so a brithing woman / couple can make informed decisions around the course of their baby's birth. A doula doesn't speak on behalf of her clients but rather provides them with questions they may wish to ask their primary caregivers regarding interventions or courses of action.
A doula assists in building confidence in the birthing family so that their birth is one of ownership and empowerment - she is a wise woman in the art of childbirth.
However informational and educational a doula’s support is, her true light shines in the form of emotional and physical support throughout the birth process. A doula becomes that auntie, the wise woman who understands birth energy, who is famililar and knowledgeable about birth and the birth process. She is the calm hand on a shoulder, a caress on a sweaty forehead, providing continuous encouragement and reassurance throughout the entire experience. Doulas may offer positional changes and movement techniques that aid in the management of pain and assist a woman to cope with the swellings of her body as her baby moves through her. She offers nourishment and suggestions for breathing, toning, swaying, and hydrotherapy. She may offer massage or hypnosis or aromatherapy, depending on her specific additional trainings.
Why should I hire a doula?
The effect on births attended by a doula is astounding: less interventions, shorter, more manageable labour, less caesarians, increased satisfaction with the birthing experience, and more successful and extensive breastfeeding. In a recent study conducted by Marshall H. Klaus, M.D. and associates, “continuous labour support from a doula in…ten studies reduced the odds of receiving analgesia by 31 percent, decreased the use of oxytocin to stimulate labour by 50 percent, forceps deliveries by 34 percent and cesarean sections by 45 percent.” Statistics are important, but the true benefit rests still with the family – how any particular family feels about the birth of their child; are they satisfied? Did their child enter into the world in the way in which their parents had hoped? Did the birthing woman experience the birth she most desired? There is obviously no way to ensure that everything every family desires is always possible. However, the doula’s role is to instill confidence and trust in the birthing process and the birthing couple so that even if special circumstances arise, they will feel supported and guided; held in care during this, their most intimate, life-changing and special time of their lives.
Will a doula take the place of my partner?
A doula supports not only the birthing woman, but her partner as well, providing him/her with a trusted friend to turn to when s/he may be having difficulty understanding the process and what his/her love is experiencing. She works with partners to provide them with additional tools to help the birthing woman locate their inner resources and when necessary help them to focus and remain on track. She is the guide, but can never replace a partner’s role, for she can never love the woman in the same way, and understand her nuances and intimacies. A doula works with the partner to provide a solid, continuous support team for the birthing woman, whilst also offering the partner the chance to take a break when necessary. Thus the birthing woman is never left feeling alone or unattended in labour; she always has someone to support her throughout her journey.
How is a doula different than a midwife?
A midwife is a primary caregiver, meaning that in Ontario, OHIP covers either an obgyn OR a family doctor OR a midwife. A midwife has 4 years university training in birthing and will attend non or low risk births. They are the only primary caregiver who will attend a home birth should a woman wish to birth at home. She is also licensed and has privileges at (particular) hospitals should the woman prefer to birth in a hospital setting. A midwife attends all the prenatal visits, does all the clinical work a doctor would do, internal exams, blood pressure, heart rate checks on baby, monitors growth, orders ultrasounds, etc. throughout the pregnancy and then continues to provide post partum care for 6 weeks after the baby is born, the first 3 visits in the woman's home. A doula does nothing clinical. She offers all the physical, emotional, and educational support, helps women move through the birthing process without doing a single exam. She finds out what fears the woman may have to prevent her from birthing in a calm and relaxed manner, and helps her move past them.
How often do we meet?
I will meet with you and your partner in your home 2-3 times before you go into labour to establish a relationship, to answer questions about what to expect and to sort through whatever limitations may impede your best birth possible. It is also during this time that I provide you with the informational and educational support that you may require.
Where and when do you join us in labour?
Typically I meet you at your home when you feel the need to have me be there with you. We then decide together when you feel it would be best to go to the hospital. However, there may be times where your preference would be to meet at the hospital directly. We would discuss which would be best for your situation.
What is your experience and training?
The birth of my daughter inspired me to journey into the world of childbirth education, and labour, post-partum and breastfeeding support. My entire body of work is focused around prenatal and postpartum care. I received my birth doula certification from DONA International and I have been practicing as a birth doula for several years. I am also a postpartum doula, childbirth educator, breastfeeding consultant, certified HypnoBirthing® (Mongan method) practitioner, Birthing From Within Mentor, and mother of two amazing children. My greatest teachers and the source of all that is light and precious are my two children, aislin & gabriel. Thank you for choosing me to come through into being. I am also a certified prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher. I am continually upgrading and expanding my knowledge and experience by attending various birthing workshops and advanced teacher trainings. I wish to acknowledge and thank all of the women, partners and babies who continue to inspire me in my work. I am truly blessed and thankful for finding my passion and love of this work.
Do you work with a backup?
Yes, I have a doula partner, Catherine Cameron, RP-CRA. should I be unable to attend your birth, who will contact you and either meet you or at the very least speak with you on the phone prior to your birth. You can be assured that you will have the best possible care whether it is I or Catherine who attends you.
Do you have references?
I would be happy to provide you with references from families I have previously worked with. Please contact me for this information.
What do your services include?
I incorporate many techniques for assisting women in childbirth including movement, visualization, fear release, hydrotherapy, massage, acupressure, aromatherapy, special breathing and deep relaxation techniques. I am available to you during your prenatal period and meet with you and your partner, if you have one, 2-3 times in your home before your birth process begins. I remain with you throughout your birth journey, from when you need me to be there until your baby is born. I usually come to your home, but can join you in the hospital if that is preferred. I remain with you throughout your labour, help to initiate breastfeeding and remain with you for 1-2 hours after your baby is born. I also provide 2-3 postpartum visits upon your return home to help with the early adjustment period of new motherhood and to help support and assist with breastfeeding. I am available for phone and email consults as necessary during your pregnancy and often remain in contact with my clients well after their babies are born.
Should you wish to meet for a no-obligation interview, I’d be happy to
arrange that with you.
To those who say it is just not possible to birth naturally and without pain, I say, ‘but what if we're right? Wouldn't it be wonderful?'"
—Lorne R. Campbell, M.D.