Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions about doula support. Feel free to contact us for any additional questions you might have
What is a doula?
A birth doula is a person who gives continual support to a birthing person before and throughout their labour. A postpartum doula will help to ease the transition that comes with the addition of a new baby to a family.
A BIRTH DOULA WILL:
Support the person’s birth choices
Demonstrate ways the partner can support the birthing person
Stay with the labouring person throughout the entire labour
Meet with the birthing person before the birth to discuss birth plans/fears
Respect privacy of clients
A POSTPARTUM DOULA WILL:
Assist with newborn care
Help with family adjustment
Offer non-judgemental support
A DOULA DOES NOT:
Play a medical role, make decisions for you or replace spousal/partner support
Is there evidence based research that shows the benefits of having a doula?
Yes, clinical studies have shown that having the support of a doula during childbirth (does not guarantee, but) can result in shorter labours, fewer interventions and complications as well as greater satisfaction in the birth process experienced by women and families. The support of a postpartum doula can help families with transition into parenthood and can greatly help a mother with much needed support in the postpartum period.
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The ACOG report states: “Evidence suggests that, in addition to regular nursing care, continuous one-to-one emotional support provided by support personnel, such as a doula, is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor.”
My birth partner is very supportive; can a doula still help me?
Yes. Birth doulas are trained in childbirth and labour support to help mothers during the birth process. They can suggest ways partners can more effectively address a labouring person’s needs, offering advice on pressure points, positioning and support postures the partner can provide. Often times during strong contractions and surges in labour, a labouring person will want their partner to hold and lean on, while thier doula continues to use comfort measures such as lower back pressure or acupressure points during contractions. For long labours, the presence of a doula allows a partner to rest or eat, providing the labouring person continuous uninterrupted support the entire time.
Can a doula help me if I am planning to have an epidural?
Yes. Doulas can help birthing people manage early labour, prior to the administration of an epidural, by providing physical comfort measures and coping techniques as well as emotional support that can help. Doulas can also help labouring people cope with any remaining discomfort, should the epidural provide incomplete pain relief. They also continue to provide emotional and informational support throughout the entire labour and birth period. If an epidural is contraindicated and there is a medical reason it cannot be administered, doulas can help birthing people cope with the discomforts associated with active labour.
What types of births do doulas attend?
Doulas attend hospital births, home births and birth centre births. 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.
I’ve given birth before, will I still benefit from doula support for my next birth?
Yes, definitely! Each birth is different and you can greatly benefit from the support of a doula with a variety of birth experiences.
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
Doulas and midwives have very different but complimentary roles with respect to support in labour. Birth doulas are not medical professionals and do not provide any form of clinical care. Certified birth doulas are trained birth support professionals. Doulas provide informational, physical and emotional support during the prenatal, birth and postpartum period, including lactation and breastfeeding support after birth. Doulas are trained to utilize comfort measures and techniques to help birthing people during the labour process, regardless of what kind of birth a birthing person chooses; whether they prefer to have a non-medicated, medicated, home or hospital birth.
Can a doula help me if I am going to have a c-section?
Yes. A doula can provide support and information prior, during and after your c-section. A doula can also greatly help a mother who’s recovering from a c-section with postpartum support as well as advice on best positions for breastfeeding to avoid discomfort.
Does a doula perform any medical tasks?
No. Doulas do not provide any clinical care. They provide informational, emotional and physical support during the prenatal, birth and postpartum period. Medical advice or care is given by your healthcare provider.