What is a Doula?

When I learned about the role of a doula in childbirth and postpartum it was already too late to hire one for my own sake. Instead I choose to go the path of becoming one and help other people in their journey of becoming parents. It is an incredible fulfilling job for me; it is constant learning and never gets boring as every day is different.

So let’s have a chat and talk about what a doula is:

A doula is a non-medical professional support person that takes the shape of whatever role is needed for a family. She helps people cope with major life changes.

There are many different doulas in the world specializing in different life changes from pregnancy to postpartum or even infant and pregnancy loss, now there are even fertility doulas!

Personally my favourite way of describing a doula’s role is this:

A Doula is water.

Because a doula takes the shape of whatever role is needed for the family she works for.

For us doulas every day looks differently because every clients has different needs and we adjust to what is needed for the family.

There is never a way to predict the dynamics in a home, we never know before we meet our clients how their day has been until we get there and we usually don’t know what exactly a family needs until we walk in the door.

This is part of the reason why we doulas believe that you will find your perfect doula, fitting to your personality/situation/family etc.

Although it is an unregulated profession in Canada, it doesn’t mean that doulas are untrained. Many of us choose to take a training and certify through different organizations, which makes us trained individuals in those different life changes I was talking about earlier.


How does a Birth & Postpartum Doula help families?

During the time that people become parents a doula helps adjust and ease the transition that can be overwhelming to many. A doula’s role is to empower the birthing person and their families in their journey and role, as well as help achieve a positive childbirth and postpartum experience.

A doula provides evidence based information to parents to be able to make informed decision and is providing non-judgmental support in people’s most vulnerable times.

She is not to replace anyone in your already existing support system but is an addition with valuable knowledge, training and expertise.


What are the benefits of hiring a doula?

  • Judgement Free Support
  • Pain Management during Labour
  • Help Navigate Feelings And Watch For Warning Signs Of Postpartum Mood Disorders
  • Reassurance, Encouragement and Empowerment
  • Increased Bonding With Baby
  • Evidence Based Information and Research
  • Increased Breastfeeding With Prenatal And Postnatal Doula Care

What are some evidence based benefits?

  • 9% Decreased Use Of Pain Medication
  • 12% More Spontaneous Vaginal Births
  • 28% Decreased Risk Of Caesarean Births
  • 31% Less Use Of Pitocin
  • 34% Fewer Negative Birth Experiences
  • 40 Minutes Shorter Labours

Doula vs. Midwife

Now sadly there is a lot of misconception around Doulas and Midwives. People believe when you have one that you won’t need the other.

But let me try and explain the big difference:

A Midwife is a medical professional and a Doula is a non-medical professional.

Midwives look after everything regarding a birthing persons and babies health, they monitor and perform exams as well as take care of anything clinical during pregnancy, birth and up to 6 weeks postpartum. They are the ones “catching the baby” while doulas support and encourage you through labour and birth.


What is out of a doula’s scope?

  • A Doula does not perform any clinical tasks
  • A doula does not speak to the staff on your behalf
  • A doula does not make decisions for you 
  • A doula does not project any of my own beliefs onto your experience

More evidence based articles:

https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/

https://evidencebasedbirth.com/using-a-doula-for-pain-relief/

https://www.cochrane.org/CD003766/PREG_continuous-support-women-during-childbirth

https://myhealth.alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=tn9822

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3647727/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s