Why would we want someone we don't know at our baby's birth?
Yes, birth is a very intimate time for a couple, but it is also a very challenging time. Though you may not feel you want someone there with you that you don’t know very well, a couple is extremely grateful to have a constant, familiar presence there to help them through this intense experience. Our prenatal visits and phone contact throughout your pregnancy allow us to get to know one another quite well. In a hospital setting, you are assigned a nurse, who likely, you have never even met before. Unfortunately, nurses look after more than one patient at a time and come and go throughout your labour. When their shift is over, or during their breaks, a new nurse takes over who is also unfamiliar with you and your plans for birth. A doula, aside from your partner, is the one person who you can count on to be there for you and your partner through your whole labour. You can rest easy knowing she is very familiar with your birth plan and is working only for you!
Are Doulas accepted in hospitals?
Yes! Certified doulas work within their scope of practice and seamlessly work alongside your medical care providers. Nurses are often quite busy and usually appreciate the extra set of hands that a doula can provide. Having worked in all of the Edmonton and area hospitals for several years now, I have gotten to know many of the staff and I am always welcomed. I communicate with your Doctors and nurses in a friendly, professional and respectful manner as we work together to ensure you have a positive birth experience.
Do I need a doula if I have a midwife and am planning a home birth?
That is up to you. A doula still provides much needed support at out of hospital birth environments (whether that is your home, the Lucina Birth Centre in Edmonton or a hotel). Often, the doula joins you before the midwife does to provide support earlier in your birthing time (if needed), before there is a need for the midwife to be there. A doula can also help you to know when a good time to call the midwife is. As we know, birth can be unpredictable, and if there is a transfer of care to the hospital or a change in plans you would at least know that your doula will remain by your side no matter where you go or who is caring for you.
You can learn more about how my role differs from that of a midwife on my "Midwives & Doulas" page.
What if I would like an Epidural or other pain medications during labour? Will a doula still support me?
Absolutely! This is your birth experience and you are free to make the decisions that feel right for you! Whether your plan is to have an epidural as soon as you're able to or you'd prefer to take a wait and see approach, you always have my full support and will never feel any judgement from me. I ensure you are aware of all of the risks and benefits of all of the medical pain relief options when we discuss them prenatally so that you are making informed decisions along the way. And even with an epidural in place, there are still lots of different ways a doula can support you and help you advocate for yourself. Maternal positioning and various other techniques can be used to encourage your baby into an optimal position thereby facilitating a smoother and potentially faster birthing process.
What if I have a really long birth? Does my Doula stay with me the whole time?
Yes, if you need her to. A doula is in it for the long haul if that is how things are playing out. Some births can be quite long and others can be quite short. I really never know how long I'll be gone when I leave the house to go to a birth... It might be just a few hours, or it might be a couple of days. I do know that if I have reached my limit, I can call on a doula from my Village Birth Collective team to come take over if needed.
Does a Doula replace or take over from my birth partner?
No, not unless you both want her to. Ideally, we want your partner (if you have one) to be very involved in supporting you through the birth process. A doula actually enhances the birth partner's role, guiding them (if needed) and helping them know what to do. The pressure is off of them so they can simply focus on you and know that the doula is there to have their backs. You can learn more about how doulas work with birth partners and read first hand what a dad has to say about doulas on my "Birth Partners & Doulas" page.
What happens if I need to have a Cesarean Birth?
A good doula will adjust her support to match your circumstances. If it is a planned Cesarean birth, a doula can help you know what to expect, ease your concerns and fears, help you formulate your birth preferences and make sure you know about all of your options to make the experience as baby and family friendly as it can be. On the day of the birth, your doula can be there with you to support you emotionally before the birth and remind your partner of what they can do while in the OR to help you. Normally only one support person is allowed into the OR with the mother and ideally we would want that to be her birth partner. However, depending on circumstances, a doula can certainly take their place in the OR by the mother's side if needed. If it is an unplanned Cesarean birth, a doula can help the mother adjust to the change in plans in the moment, providing emotional support and also reminders about requests she can ask of her medical care team. After the birth a doula can help facilitate the breastfeeding process and provide immediate postpartum support if needed.
Do Doulas preform any clinical tasks?
No. That is not our job, nor do we have the proper training. We do, however, provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labour progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort. We also encourage communication with your caregivers to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labour. Learn more on my "What is a Doula" page.
What if I would like a friend or other family member at my birth?
I always welcome other supportive members to the birth team. Most of the time a mother will choose to only have her birth partner and a doula (plus medical care providers) at her birth and it is usually best to keep the amount of people there to a minimum. However, some birth givers will feel comforted and supported by having a friend, mother or sister there as well. That is of course your choice and you know best how supportive that person will be for you and your partner. Hospitals sometimes have rules about the number of people allowed into the birthing room (restricting it to 2 support people), but it is rarely (if ever) enforced.
Does a Doula speak for me or make decisions for me?
No. A doula empowers you to make your own decisions and find your own voice. If an important decision needs to be made, we help you gather evidence based information, ask the right questions to your medical care providers and help you understand all of your options so you and your partner are able to make informed decisions both prenatally and during the birth.
What if you can't attend my birth?
It is rare that I am unable to attend my client's births, but it does sometimes happen. If I am at another birth or otherwise unavailable due to illness or family emergency, you will be supported by one of the other wonderful doulas from my Village Birth Collective team. We have monthly "Meet the Village" events where you would have the opportunity to meet and get to know the other doulas in our collective if you'd like.
Is the cost of a Doula covered by private health insurance plans?
In the past I have had some clients successfully claim my doula fee on their private health insurance plan. It depends on the type of plan you have. It is always best to contact your insurance provider directly to find out. Most will require support to be provided by a "certified" doula, which I am. I provide a receipt, once paid in full, for insurance purposes.