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birth stories
Our Doulas 
What do we do?

Our doulas are women who attend the birthing family before, during, and just after the birth of a baby. Our doulas are trained to deliver emotional support from home to hospital. We ease the transition into the hospital environment, and serve as advocates, labour coaches, and support partners, to give the mother and her partner the added comfort of additional support throughout the entire labour.

What Does a Doula do?

Doula practices vary from individual to individual. Typically, doulas meet with the partners in the second and third trimester of the pregnancy to get acquainted and to learn about prior birth experiences. She will also want to know the history of the current pregnancy as well. She may help to develop a birth plan, provide a supply list for labouring at home and in the hospital, and recommend childbirth classes.

When labour begins, a doula can help to determine pre-labour from true labour and early labour from active labour. At some point determined by the labouring woman, a doula will go either to home or hospital, and begin support by encouraging adequate rest - as well as nutrition and fluids in early labour. She will assist by suggesting a variety of positions that are conducive to effective labouring, and will constantly focus on the comfort of both the mom and her spouse/partner by utilizing pillows, adjusting temperatures, and making sure the environment is one in which the mother feels comfortable and safe.

At the hospital, a doula works cooperatively with the hospital staff in getting the mom settled, and continuing the kind of care she was given at home. The doula will coach both the labouring mom and her partner in breathing and position changes as transition and the second stage of labour approach. During the second stage (pushing stage), the doula may assist by supporting the mother's legs, encouraging her in listening to her body to aid in effective pushing, and praising the mother in her efforts. The doula still attends to the comfort of the mother during this stage by making available cool cloths, ice chips, and sips of water to help refresh her. In the event of a complication, the doula can be a great help in understanding what is happening and what options are available for affecting the circumstances at hand. Finally, a doula will help with the first breastfeeding, and in preserving the privacy of the new family during the first hours after birth.

Some doulas may provide follow up support with breastfeeding and the early postpartum days at home. Some also offer other services such as childbirth education, sibling support, etc.

Benefits of Using a Doula:

Research has shown that birth doulas can:

  • Reduce C-Sections 50%
  • Reduce length of labour 25%
  • Reduce pitocin use by 40%
  • Reduce use of narcotics by 30 %
  • Reduce use of forceps by 30%
  • Reduce epidurals by 60%

Long-term benefits:

  • Improved breastfeeding
  • Increased time spent with baby
  • Decreased postpartum depression
Frequently Asked Questions:

Q : Is a doula the same as a midwife?
A: No, a doula is not the same as a midwife. A doula does not perform clinical procedures. A doula provides physical, emotional, and informational support. She does not perform vaginal checks for dilation, check blood pressure, or deliver babies. It is not within the scope of practice for a doula to perform any medical or clinical procedures.

Q: Does a doula replace my birth partner?
A: No, a doula does not replace your birth partner. A doula should never replace your partner during labour. Doulas should encourage partners to take an active and supportive role. In some cases, doulas can actually help calm fathers and other family members if complications arise suddenly. A doula's primary job is to support the mother in any way that she needs - which in some cases, may be her partner's encouragement.

Q: What is a doula?
A: A Doula is a woman who attends the birthing family before, during, and just after the birth of a baby. The Certified Doula is trained to deliver emotional support from home to hospital. She eases the transition and offers continuity through changing nursing shifts and alternating physician schedules. She serves as an advocate, and offers labour support to give the mother and her partner the added comfort of additional encouragement throughout the entire labour. There are a variety of titles used by women offering these kinds of services such as "birth assistant," "labour support specialist," and "doula."

For more information contact durham.lamaze@gmail.com