There are a few questions about Doula work that we hear regularly:
- What is a Doula?
- Aren’t Doulas and midwives the same thing?
- Why would I need a Doula?
The definition of a Doula according to the DONA (Doulas of North America) organization is:
A Doula is a trained, non-medical, emotional and physical labour support person who assists you and your family during your labour, birth, and early postpartum period.
To us, this is a very simplistic definition of what a Doula does.
For Bronwyn, her training has been in-depth between her Dancing For Birth TM certification, her work to become a Birthing From Within TM mentor, and her DONA training. She has also taken additional training in rebozo techniques.
For Melissa, her training has been a different path but equally in-depth. She has received both her birth and postpartum doula certification, reiki training, and is also studying to be an RMT.
For Kathy, she has both her birth and postpartum certification through Doulas Inc. Kathy has taken subsequent training with Still Birthday to become a stillbirth doula as well.
All three of us have had additional training with Spinning Babies to learn rebozo techniques and more.
This has prepared us to be able to provide families with support in a variety of ways leading up to labour, during labour and birth, and in the early postpartum period.
Support can look very different from family to family. How we work as a Doula team is based on your needs, wants and your comfort level. We love the prenatal sessions with our clients. We spend time with each of our clients, getting to know them and practicing contractions together while trying out different positions and techniques. This way everyone has a sense of what mom prefers and how we (our Doula team and her partner or any other labour support people) can assist her on the big day. For example, if you don’t appreciate being touched during your labour then we can utilize other techniques such as rebozo, or guided meditation to help you feel supported. We take time to see what really works for our clients and enjoy the opportunity to get to know them.
Because we have spent time with you in your home we can then help assist you while you labour at home before you head to the hospital (or if you are planning a hospital birth). We will know the layout of your home and which areas we can use which techniques in. We also make sure you and your support people stay hydrated, nourished, and use the bathroom regularly. We aid your partner in supporting you so that we work together as a team. We can also make the transition from home to getting settled in at the hospital easier if you are planning a hospital birth or need to transfer.
Unlike a midwife, a Doula does not perform medical checks or procedures during our care with you. We leave that up to the experts: your medical caregivers. We also don’t share your decisions with your caregivers. However, we spend time with you offering information and support so you can feel confident in the decisions you may need to make.
We stay with you and your new family until you are feeling ready for bed after your baby is born (approximately three hours). We will make sure that you are able to get breastfeeding and bonding off to a good start. And we will make sure that you feel tucked in and cozy when I leave.
After your baby is born we will come for postpartum visits if that is included in your package. This is to help support you with early parenting, to answer any questions that you may have, and show you how to take care of a baby. It is also a time that if you need to process your birth we can do so.
Given all that our personal definition of a doula is actually this:
A Doula is extensively trained in the ups and downs of birth and natural pain management techniques. A Doula uses this training to provide flexible non-medical, emotional, spiritual, and physical labour support that works best with your needs. A Doula assists you and your family in a variety of ways during your labour, birth, and early postpartum period.
Please contact us if you want to learn more about how we can help with your birth and postpartum time period.
Bronwyn, Melissa, and Kathy
Bronwyn, Melissa, and Kathy are our Doula team. They come to Doula work from different training backgrounds but share the same perspectives on client support and care. They are more than happy to chat with you about how they can support your birth and/or postpartum experience.