FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a birth doula?
As defined by DONA International, a birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the pregnant client before, during, and just after childbirth.
What is a postpartum doula?
According to DONA International, the goal of a postpartum doula is to nurture the parents into their new roles. A postpartum doula serves all parents with new babies, including adoptive parents and parents using a surrogate. What a postpartum doula does varies from client to client depending on the needs of each individual family; it also changes from day to day as the needs of the family change. Postpartum doulas work to help parents best enjoy and care for their new babies. A large part of the role of the postpartum doula is education. Postpartum doulas share information about baby care with parents, and teach siblings and partners to care for family members recovering from the experience of childbirth. They assist with breastfeeding education, and make sure breastfeeding clients are fed, well-hydrated, and comfortable. Unlike a baby nurse, a doula’s focus is not solely on the baby, but on fostering independence for the entire family. Treating the family as a unit that is connected and always changing enables doulas to do their job: nurturing the family.
Are there any statistics or studies that show a doula can really help?
Yes. Clinical studies have shown that the presence of a doula during childbirth not only leads to more positive memories of the labour experience on the part of childbearing individuals and their families, but also tends to result in shorter labours with fewer complications and interventions. Research has also shown that the services provided by postpartum doulas can help improve parental satisfaction and ease the transition of the addition of a baby to a family, reducing the risk of mood disorders.
When should I start looking for a birth doula?
You can begin to look for a doula at any point during your pregnancy. However, it’s better to look for a doula earlier rather than later as a doula’s schedule can become booked months in advance. To get the full benefits of doula care, we recommend interviewing a few doulas in your first trimester and choosing a doula during your second trimester. Doing so will enable you to work with your doula through your prenatal, birth, and postpartum planning and to receive the doula’s guidance as you progress throughout your pregnancy. That said, if you decide you want a doula later on in your pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Although our availability may be more limited, it’s still worth inquiring (even if you’re past your due date!).
When should I start looking for a postpartum doula?
Ideally, you should look for a postpartum doula before your baby is born so that you can find a doula who suits your specific personality and needs and so that your doula can reserve space for you in her schedule. At the same time, many people discover that they would like postpartum doula care only after their baby has been born. Although availability may be more limited as time goes by, it is possible to hire a postpartum doula at any point during your fourth trimester, and we encourage you to contact us if you are interested!
What should I look for in a birth or postpartum doula?
When looking for a doula, it’s important to pick someone who makes you feel comfortable and calm. We recommend interviewing a few doulas in order to get a sense of their personalities and styles so that you can find one who matches your needs. All doulas provide something a little different, giving you many wonderful options! When interviewing potential doulas, be sure to review their contracts, fees, and payment plans to see what works best for you.
What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?
A midwife and a doula have two very distinct and separate roles. In Canada, a midwife is a licensed medical professional who is responsible for delivering your baby and performing any necessary medical tasks related to your pregnancy (these tasks include but are not limited to advising you medically, performing physical exams, prescribing suppliments or medications, monitoring the baby’s heart rate during labour, etc.). Those with low-risk pregnancies may choose between having a midwife or an OB. If you chose to have a midwife, you have the option of birthing at home or in the hospital. OBs only offer the hospital as a birthing option.
A birth doula is not a medical professional and does not provide clinical care. Birth doulas provide physical, emotional, and informational support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Birth doulas help you create a birth plan that is right for you, connect you with resources within your community for pregnant women and families, use techniques during labour to help you manage discomfort, provide a calming presence for you and your birth partner/s, and empower you to communicate your needs to your healthcare providers. Our doulas will provide continuous support to you no matter what kind of birth you choose (hospital/home, medicated/non-medicated) in order to help you have a positive birth experience as you define it.
Do I need a midwife and a birth doula?
Midwives, like OBs, are primary care providers; as such, their ultimate responsibility is the safety and health of you and your baby. Doulas are a great accompaniment to midwives, because their sole focus is on you and your birth partner. Doulas work alongside midwives to keep you informed as to what is going on and to ensure that you are as physically comfortable and as emotionally supported as possible. Because doulas do not work in shifts and can join you earlier in the labouring process than midwives do, they can offer you continous physical and emotional support throughout the entirety of your birthing experience. Multiple studies have shown that continuous support during labour and birth leads to more positive outcomes.
Do doulas provide medical care?
Doulas are not trained medically and therefore do not provide clinical care. What we do provide is emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. We will direct you to your healthcare provider for any medical advice or care that you might need.
I have a very supportive birth partner. How can a doula help me? Will a doula interfere with the involvement of a birth partner?
Doulas work alongside both mothers and birth partners in order to help them have satisfying births as they define it. Birth partners themselves greatly benefit from the reassurance, help, and advice that doulas can provide. We can encourage birth partners to identify their own priorities and fears before the birth itself, and help them develop strategies to deal with those issues during labour. Moreover, doulas can help you and your birth partner apply what you have learned about birth and what you have planned for your own birth to the stressful situation of labour so that they are as included as they would like to be. They can help birth partners interpret a mother’s feelings and actions during labour, and provide reassurance that these feelings and actions are normal. A doula can carry out errands so that a birth partner will not have to leave the labouring mother’s side, or they can stay with a mother who is experiencing a long labour so that a birth partner can rest or eat. Finally, a doula may be able to take photos or videos of the birth so that the birth partner is not distracted.
This is my second birth; would I still benefit from a doula?
Absolutely! No two births are alike. If you have 2, 3, 4, or even 10 births, each one will be different than the others! Our doulas' knowledge of the wide variety of paths labour can take enables them to provide you with physical, emotional, and informational support suited each unique situation. As such, all families can benefit from the services doulas provide.
Can a doula still help me if I plan to have an epidural?
Yes. A doula can help you manage early labour by providing physical comfort measures and emotional support, can help keep you calm during the administration of the epidural (making it easier for the anaesthesiologist to deliver the medication quickly), and can help you cope with any remaining discomfort in the event that the epidural provides incomplete pain relief. A doula can also offer alternative positions to encourage your baby’s descent and to push effectively within the constraints placed on your movement after the epidural has been administered. In addition, a doula will continue to provide you with emotional and informational support throughout the entirety of your labour. In the event that an epidural is contraindicated (i.e., there is a medical reason an epidural cannot be given), a doula can help you cope with the unplanned discomforts of active labour.
Can a doula still help me if I plan to have a caesarean?
Yes. A doula can provide you with emotional and informational support before, during, and after a caesarean procedure. A doula can also help you ensure that your birth plan is carried out to the greatest extent possible, take photos of your baby after the birth, and give you updates on the status of your baby during the repair phase of the operation. If your baby needs to go to the nursery, your partner can accompany the baby and your doula can stay to support you. A doula can also provide postoperative comfort measures and help with breastfeeding.
Do doulas only attend home births?
A doula can help you give birth at home, in a hospital, or in a birth centre. Hospitals may limit the number of people allowed in the room while you are in labour. Commonly, a cap may be placed at two people (so, for example, you might be able to have your birth partner and a doula at your side, but not your birth partner, your mother, and a doula). Please check with your health care provider regarding hospital policies so that you can determine who you would like to attend your birth.
Will a doula attend an unassisted birth?
An unassisted birth is a birth where no midwife or doctor is present. Members of The Doula Collective will not attend unassisted births, as we believe that for your safety and the safety of your baby, a trained medical professional (either a midwife or an OB) should be present at your birth.
What happens if my doula is suddenly unavailable for my birth?
At The Doula Collective, we work individually with clients but always have a back-up available for the "on call" period of your pregnancy. Should unforeseen circumstances prevent your doula from attending your birth, your back-up doula will be present. You will receive your back-up doula’s contact information before the birth, and can even meet her ahead of time if you’d like!
Can a doula service be given as a gift?
Yes, absolutely! If you would like to give our services as a gift, please email us to inquire.
Do you offer sliding-scale fees?
The Doula Collective offers sliding-scale fees for clients in special financial circumstances. Eligibility and fees are determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for more information.
What happens in a Reiki session?
During a Reiki session, you will be asked to lie down in a supportive way for your pregnant / postpartum body. The practitioner will move through a series of hand positions while you relax and receive.
How can Reiki help me prepare for birth?
Reiki helps with relaxation, trust, practicing a calm state and gives you an energy boost before labour.
What cities does The Doula Collective service?
We service the following areas:
Halton Hills (Acton, Ashgrove, Ballinafad, Bannockburn, Erin, Rockwood, Georgetown, Glen Williams, Hornby, Limehouse, Mansewood, Normal, Scotch Block, Silver Creek, Speyside, Stewarttown, Terra Cotta, Wildwood)
and surrounding areas.
*For any area close to these cities, please inquiry about service. We will of course help you if we can!
Not all services are provided in all areas. Please contact us for the services provided near you!