WHY HIRE A DOULA?

If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it. ~ John H. Kennell, MD

WHAT IS A DOULA?

A Doula is a companion who supports a birthing person during labour, birth and in the first few weeks postnatally.

Doulas provide a vital continuity of care that can be lacking elsewhere. Doulas nurture and support the birthing person throughout labor and birth. Their essential role is to provide continuous labor support to the mother, no matter what decisions the mother makes or how she gives birth.We provide information, physical and emotional support to birthing persons and their partners.

A Doulas focus is tending to and helping the labouring person and supporting the the relationship of the labouring couple. This comes in a variety of guises including;

  • Using comfort measures such as massage and breathing exercises.

  • Accommodating the parents wishes for the birth environment

  • Encouraging the mother to communicate with her doctor and to be informed about any procedures and interventions

  • Supporting the other parent or birth partner in the best way to support labour.

  • Praise and encouragement.

  • Helping the birthing person and partner work through fears and self-doubt

  • Debriefing after the birth—listening to the mother with empathy

  • Helping them find evidence-based information about different options in pregnancy and childbirth

  • Helping explain medical procedures before or as they occur

  • Helping the partner understand what’s going on with their loved one’s labor (for example, interpreting the different sounds the birthing person makes)

  • Encouraging the birthing person or their partner to ask questions and verbalize their preferences

  • Asking the birthing person what they want

  • Supporting the birthing person’s decision

  • Amplifying the mother’s voice if she is being dismissed, ignored, or not heard,

  • Creating space and time for the birthing family so that they can ask questions, gather evidence-based information, and make decisions without feeling pressured

  • Facilitating communication between the parents and care providers.

 

WHAT DOES A DOULA NOT DO?

Doulas are not medical professionals and do not give medical advice. We will not perform any medical tasks and will not take over or come between the parents or doctor and will work with other birth attendants.

Unlike nurses and doctors, doulas also do not take shifts or leave during a labor. A doula is continuously with a laboring mother without leaving or sleeping. Also, unlike medical professionals, a doula does not have other patients or rounds so her single focus is on the mother.