The first time I heard the word Doula was back in 2010 while I was pregnant with my first and one of my sister’s friends had just taken a Doula training course. I remember being interested in it but wanted to learn more about it before I would consider working with one. I remember feeling very confident in myself and how the whole labour thing was going to go down, so additional labour support wasn’t something I was actively considering. Then as I entered my 7th month of pregnancy things started to change, we suffered a devastating loss, as my wonderful dog of 6 years was hit and killed by a truck while out for a walk.
Within a week of this accident I had to stop driving and could no longer work because I was fainting without warning and my blood pressure was really low. Suddenly I found myself stuck in my empty home all day feeling miserable. I was having a really hard time with all this change and was quite depressed. The closer I got to labour the less confident I felt. I really found comfort in talking to my sister’s friend (the Doula) about all my labour and delivery anxieties, so the next step was starting to become rather apparent. One day I just woke up, called my husband and asked him what he thought about us hiring her and of course he thought it was a great idea so we asked her to be our Doula. She was in the same position that I am in now, she had completed her training but had not attended her certification births yet, I would be her first. I enjoyed that dynamic, we were both in this together for our first time. We both got to share in the same excitement and anticipation of our first birth, helping each other. I am so thankful she came into our lives at that time and I truly don’t know how we would have done it without her. She provided so much support leading up to and throughout labour for both me and my husband. When I look back, what I think we gained the most from it was the continuity of care that I needed. Five years later and she has moved on from Doula to midwife, trained and living in New Zealand, with her own little daughter who is only a few months older than my youngest. I was even skyping with her at 1:30am just hours before I gave birth to Marlowe while the rest of my house was still sleeping (middle of the night skyping was possible due to the time change, I would never have woken her up!). This is how the seeds were planted that have now grown into a desire to help other women with their birth experiences.
I am really excited to report that I recently completed a DONA international Doula training course at Mount Royal University and I will offering up my Doula services for free in order to complete my certification. So if you or anyone you know is interested please send me a message with any questions you might have and then we can set up a short no obligation meet and greet to see if I would be the right fit for you and your family. Please feel free to spread the word because I firmly believe in the DONA’s mission that every woman who wants a Doula should have one.
I will leave you with an updated picture of me and my crew!
If you are new to this term Doula (like I was) here is a quick FAQ taken from the DONA International Website
1. What is a birth doula?
A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.
2. Where does the word “doula” come from?
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “Woman’s servant.” Throughout history and in much of the world today, a cadre of women support a woman through labor and birth, giving back rubs and providing continuous emotional support. Like their historical counterparts, DONA International birth doulas know how to help a woman in labor feel better. However, today’s doulas are much more diverse than their predecessors. DONA International membership includes men and women from a wide range of ages and cultural backgrounds.
3. What effects does the presence of a doula have on birth outcomes?
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
- tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
- reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
- reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
- reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans
4. What effects does the presence of a doula have on the mother?
When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression.
5. What effects do the presence of doulas have on babies?
Studies have shown that babies born with doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.
6. How can I find a doula in my area?
Use DONA International’s online doula locator.
7. How do doulas practice?
Doulas practice in three ways: privately hired directly by clients,
as hospital employees, and as volunteers in community or hospital programs.
8. Does a doula replace nursing staff?
No. Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
9. Does a doula make decisions on my behalf?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.
10. Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.