Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Doula?:
Doulas are professionals that offer support during life's big moments! Doula Support Foundation offers support from three types of Doulas:
Birth Doulas start working with you during pregnancy to prepare you for labour. They offer physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual support during labour and birth, as well as in the immediate hours and days postpartum.
Postpartum Doulas continue to support the new family where Birth Doulas leave off. During the first year with your new baby, they help with infant care, the huge adjustments to having a new baby in the home, and offer non-judgmental support.
Bereavement Doulas are specially trained to offer support during pregnancy loss, pregnancy termination, and early infant loss. They can help a family prepare special rituals, memorials, and legacy projects, as well as attend losses as a Birth Doula would.
How are Doulas and Midwives Different?:
Doulas and Midwives have very different but complementary roles with respect to support in labour. Midwives are trained in providing health-care-related support to their clients. Doulas provide informational, physical, and emotional support during the prenatal, birth, and the postpartum period. Doulas are trained to use comfort measures and techniques to help you during labour, regardless of whether you prefer to have a non-medicated, medicated, home or hospital birth.
Does a Doula Perform Any Medical Tasks?:
No, Doulas are not medical professionals. They provide informational, emotional, and physical support during the prenatal, labour, and the postpartum period. Medical advice or care is given by your healthcare provider, like an OB or Midwife!
Is Doula Support Evidence-Based?:
Yes! Clinical studies have shown that having the support of a Doula during childbirth can result in shorter labours, fewer interventions, and fewer complications. Greater satisfaction in their birth experience is also reported by birthing people and families when they have worked with a Birth Doula. The support of a Postpartum Doula can help families with the transition into parenthood and can greatly help a new parent with much-needed support in the postpartum period.
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What Types of Births Do Doulas Attend?:
Doulas can attend all kinds of different births! Doulas attend hospital births, home births, and birth centre births. They can attend births that involve medications for pain relief or births without. They can help you have a calm, soothing birth with a birth pool and music with the sounds of nature flowing from your laptop, or they can dance with you to your favourite dance jams and help you laugh your way through labour!
Note: Doulas working for the Doula Support Foundation do not attend planned unassisted births as we believe that the presence of a trained medical professional (midwife, OB or family physician) should be present for the safety of the birthing person and baby.
Can a Doula Help if I have an Epidural?:
Yes! A Doula can help you manage early labour, prior to an epidural, by providing physical comfort measures and coping techniques, as well as emotional support. Doulas can also help in coping with any remaining discomfort, should the epidural provide incomplete pain relief. If there is a reason it cannot be administered, a Doula can help you cope with active labour.
Can a Doula Help if I have a C-Section?:
A Doula can provide support and information prior, (sometimes) during, and after your c-section. A Doula can also greatly help a person who is recovering from a c-section with postpartum support as well as advice on best positions for breastfeeding to avoid discomfort.
My Partner is Very Supportive; Can a Doula Still Help Me?:
For sure! They can suggest ways partners can be comfortably and effectively supportive. They can offer advice on pressure points, positioning and support postures your partner can provide. Often times during strong contractions and surges in labour, you might want to lean on your partner, to have your partner hold you, while your Doula continues to use comfort measures such as lower back pressure or acupressure points. For long labours, the presence of a Doula will allow your partner to rest or eat, providing you with continuous and uninterrupted support the entire birth.
I've Given Birth Before. Can I Still Benefit from Doula Support?:
Yes, definitely! Each birth is different and you can greatly benefit from the support of a Doula, even if you have gone through the experience of birth before.