Why a Doula?
“…Continuous support [in labour by a doula] was most effective when provided by a woman who was neither part of the hospital staff nor the woman’s social network…”
–The Cochrane Collaboration, 2017
Whether you have a midwife or a doctor, your doula is the only person on your support team whose sole role is to support you. They will be by your side calming you down when you feel afraid or anxious. Their role is to suggest ways of coping in moments when you don’t know what to do, asking questions to help you learn what decisions you feel most comfortable with. They will help take care of your extended support so that you can be fully present in your birth experience.
In a sense, your doula is like your labour and postpartum guide to get you through the big change that is childbirth and becoming a parent.
Your Birth Doula….
- Is on call for you 24 hrs a day
- Meets you in your home prenatally to prepare for your birth
- Comes to you in your home in early labour
- Helps you to know what is normal, helps you decide for yourself when to go to the hospital or when to call your midwife
- Suggests coping strategies for the sensations and emotions that come up in labour
- Encourages partners to try out different support ideas
- Helps allow partners to eat and rest so that they can be alert and present for the labour and the first night with baby
- Works with you to ask questions when you need to make decisions about your care
- Comes to your home after the birth to offer suggestions for feeding, sleeping and general baby care
Find out more about our Birth Packages
Your Postpartum Doula….
- Offers suggestions and support for feeding (including breast/chest feeding, supplementing or bottle feeding)
- Provides guidance to maximize sleep for parents and children
- Shares information about postpartum mood adjustment
- Holds your baby so that you may eat, sleep, shower or have some time to yourself
- Does light chores and cooking so that you can feel cared for and enjoy your time with your baby
- Helps you with errands and appointments
- Supports you as your figure out how to change and feed your baby in public
- Answers questions about baby care and help you gain your confidence in caring for your child on your own
Find out more about our Postpartum Packages
Do I really need a Doula?
Your doula will add safety and comfort to your delivery. When you feel comfortable, calm and safe during your birth, your labour tends to unfold more smoothly and may be shorter.
It’s easier for you to feel connected with your partner(s) and other support people when you’re not afraid and unsure of yourself.
Do I need a doula if I have an epidural?
Your doula will help you maximize the benefit of having an epidural. At the same time, minimizing the side effects to encourage your labour to progress as smoothly as possible even with the change in mobility.
Do I need a doula if my parent/friend/sibling is coming?
Your doula is familiar to you like a friend but has experience in childbirth and hospital policies that your family and friends do not. In 2012, The Cochrane Collaboration published a study indicating that continuous support in labour had the most benefit when the support person was “provided by a woman who was neither part of the hospital staff nor the woman’s social network.”
While your parent, friend or sibling may add unique and important support, it is not the same as that of a doula.
Do I need a doula if I have a C-Section?
A C-section is a different kind of birth, but it is still a birth in need of emotional and practical preparation. In a cesarean birth, your doula will walk you through what to expect, what you can change about the operating room routines and what you can’t.
If she’s able to come into the OR, she’ll suggest coping practices for the sensations, sounds and emotions that accompany a cesarean birth. She and will advocate for your preferences where appropriate.
Danielle and Jeff hired a doula for their planned C-section. Here is what Danielle has to say about her doula support:
“When Jeff went over to meet our girl, I was not not left alone wondering what was going on and hoping she was okay–which could have easily led to a panic attack. Instead, as soon as he left my side, [our doula] was holding my hand and narrating what was happening across the room. I felt connected to everything going on the whole time and never felt left out because I was behind a curtain.”
Here more about Daneille and Jeff’s experience of cesarean delivery.
Do I need a doula if I have a midwife?
Midwives very much value emotional support and coaching as an important part of a good birth experience. However, as your primary healthcare provider, your midwife has many clinical responsibilities in addition to offering you labour support. This means that, at times, she may not be always be able to be at your side.
Your doula will be available to come to you in early labour for support. While your midwife may not come to you until your contractions are around or under 5 min apart. When she is there, she will absolutely be one of the people offering coaching. However, other tasks like monitoring, charting, setting up equipment and communicating with other health care providers on your team means that she might not be able to provide continuous coaching.
Your doula’s only role is your emotional care. Her responsibilities in birth primarily include helping you to maintain a coping mindset, giving you physical support and helping your partner(s) to feel supported.
We regularly work with midwives and the midwives of the GTA often refer our practice to their clients.
Ready to Meet With Us?
Meet one of our birth doulas for a complimentary consultation to see if they’re a good match for you. It’s an opportunity to meet the team before you decide. You’ll be inviting them to be with you at your most vulnerable, so it’s important that you feel comfortable in their care.