What is a doula?
A doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support before, during and/or after birth. Studies have shown that when a doula attends a birth, labors are shorter with few complications and mothers are less fearful during the process.
* Understands the physiology of birth and the mothers’ emotional needs
* Is trained in comfort measures to help the mother throughout the natural process of labour and birth, and can offer guidance and suggestions for making the journey easier
* Creates a secure and calm space for birth and ensures that both mother and partner are taken care of
* Nurture the woman on her journey into motherhood and lead her to the path to nurture her own child
* Is an impartial and undistracted listener, who provides reassurance to both mother and partner in the natural process of birth
* Ensures mother and partner have access to accurate information which gives them the power to make informed decisions
* Acts as an advocate to empower the mother in her birth choices
* Provide evidence-based information to help with the transition into parenthood and childcare
Are doulas only for mothers having a natural birth?
Absolutely not. A doula recognizes that each birth is different and each mother has different needs and wants during her birth. We have supported mothers during a scheduled c-section, mothers who plan on getting an epidural, and mothers who want a non-medicated birth.
A doula will help the mother stay comfortable and work through her contractions until she decides to get the epidural. Once a mother has an epidural her mobility is limited. However, the birthing mother still needs support. Emotionally it may have been a difficult decision for her to get the epidural and she needs reassurance. Having an epidural does not mean the mother should not be proactive about her labor and control her body. Position changes are just as important with an epidural. A doula and partner will help find the best and safest positions to keep you comfortable, babies heart rate stable, and allow the baby to descend
During a c-section a doula can hold the mothers hand while explaining the process to her. Answer any questions you may have beforehand. Stay with the mother once the baby is born, while the partner goes to baby’s side. Assist in skin to skin and breastfeeding in the recovery room and offer continued postpartum support.
Does a doula replace my partner? Will he/she feel left out of the birth process?
For the mothers’ without a partner or support person, a doulas presence is very important. However, having a doula does not replace the partner’s role. Most partners who have used a doula report feeling more useful and confident in the birth process.
Doulas and partners support mothers together:
* A partner can be giving the mother a massage while the doula is describing different techniques
* The partner can take a break and get a meal if it is a long labor without leaving the mother alone
* The doula can explain what is happening during the process or should a need for any interventions come up
* Most comfort measures are a two-person job- the laboring mother deserves a team!
Does a doula replace nursing staff?
No. Doulas do not replace nurses or other 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.
I have the support of a midwife, should I still get a doula?
Of course! While midwives and doulas typically share the same philosophy regarding education, support, and informed decision making, a midwife offers clinical support, which is out of the doulas scope of practice. While the midwife is taking care of your medical needs, the doula will continue to offer physical and emotional support to you and your partner. We make a perfect team!
I really want a doula, but I don’t think the cost is in my budget at the moment. Will you offer a reduced fee or payment plan?
We believe in universal access to birth support and offer flexible payment plans and custom packages to best fit your family’s needs, including payment plan options. Contact us to discuss pricing options or to receive referrals to doulas who offer reduced/free services.
What if the doula is sick/unavailable for my birth?
As birth doula support is very unpredictable, we always arrange for a backup doula support through The Birth Collective members, though it isn’t typically necessary. You will have an opportunity to speak with or meet the backup doula during the prenatal period.
Which areas do you provide support to?
We provide custom prenatal, birth and postpartum support to families in Halifax, Dartmouth, St.Margaret’s Bay, Tantallon, Upper Tantallon, Hammonds Plains, Glen Arbour, Bedford, Sackville, Timberlea, Beechville, Peggy’s Cove, South Shore including: Hubbards, Mahone Bay, Chester, Lunenburg and Bridgewater.
Birth support is available for families under GP, OB or midwifery care and delivering at the IWK, South Shore Regional or at home with the IWK or South Shore Community Midwives.