What is a Doula?

In the ancient Greek language, “doula” can be translated into “woman caregiver” or “woman-servant”; both of which capture what is at the heart of doula care.

A Doula is a non-medical caregiver for women (and their families) during the childbearing years.

Klaus, Kennel and Klaus in their book Mothering the Mother describe a Doula as..."a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth".

Why choose a Doula?

The central desire of most expectant parents who hire a Doula is to have the care of an experienced person who can support them as they make the many transitions that pregnancy and early parenthood bring.

During labour and delivery, a Doula’s support is immeasurable!

Due to their work load, most Obstetricians and nurses cannot give the amount of time they would like to their labouring patients. For this reason, the on-going and personal support of a Doula can make all the difference to the women and families they serve.

In addition to all the emotional and psychological benefits Doula care can bring, the physical benefits are numerous. According to Klaus, Kennel & Klaus in “Mothering the Mother”, having a Doula present during labour & delivery can give you:

• 50% reduction in caesarean rates
25% shorter labour
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin (pitocin) use
30% reduction in use of pain medication
40% reduction in forceps delivery

What is the difference between a Doula and a Midwife?

A Doula provides non-medical care to women and their families. They do not perform clinical tasks, such as: physical exams, blood pressure checks, fetal heart monitoring, etc.

A Midwife is a medical care provider for expectant women. Mothers in low-risk pregnancies can choose between Midwifery care or the care of an Obstetrician.

A Doula supports women in addition to their primary care providers. (ie. A Midwife or Obstetrician)

Why does a woman need a Doula when she already has a partner/support person?

Doulas highly encourage support from those closest to their clients and their role is not to take the place of a willing and able supporter.

A Doula’s role is to equip and encourage support persons as they seek to assist during pregnancy and childbirth. Most partners/support people are not familiar with the various details of pregnancy, labour & delivery and the early postpartum period, so the complexity and intensity can cause them to feel confused and anxious. Having a Doula present can help them to remain calm, more confident in their ability to provide support, and allow them to be fully present and enjoy each moment with the one they love.

Why Childbirth Education?

For a lot of people, pregnancy, labour and the early days of parenting can be scary and overwhelming. Most often this is due to a fear of the unknown and because it is unknown territory, many expectant parents are not confident in their ability to not only cope, but thrive throughout their experience.

This is why Childbirth Education is so important. With accurate, evidence-based information & resources, the opportunity to learn (and practice) effective techniques and skills, as well as the right support, women and families are better able to navigate the waters of childbirth and parenting.

Being well-equipped to deal with the stresses that labour and a new baby can bring, can have a profound effect on the well-being of the mother, baby and their family. A positive experience during pregnancy, labour and those early postpartum days can create a ripple-effect that continues for many years to come.