What is a Birth doula? 
A doula is a non-medical professional trained to support a woman and partner through pregnancy/birth/postpartum. Doulas provide physical, emotional, and informational support. A doula will advocate for the birthing woman to have the right to make informed decisions about her body and baby. While the doula does not speak to the medical staff on behalf of the mother, they provide a platform for the mothers wishes to be heard.

If I am under midwifery care, do I still need a doula?
Whether your decision is to be under the care of a midwife, OB, General Practitioner in a hospital setting or home birth, a doula is an important member of your birth team. A birth doula offers continuous support. This has been shown to have many benefits including a high reduction in interventions and increased comfort for both the mother and her partner. Medical providers are not able to give continuous support, particularly in a hospital setting.

How does this affect my partners role?
Partners and doulas make an awesome team. The role of the partner is elevated when a doula is involved. While the doula can be an extra set of eyes and ears in the room, the partner is more in touch with providing the loving connection that is an integral component of the birth process. A
doula may offer suggestions in positions, comfort techniques and such, but the partner has a deeper knowledge of the mother and how to best support her. Partners most commonly report a higher satisfaction in birth when a doula is present.

When is the best time to hire a doula?
It is best to start the interview process as early as possible. Most doulas limit the number of clients that they take, and schedules can fill up quickly. Around the 20-week mark is a great time, but it’s never too late in the pregnancy to consider hiring one.  It’s best to interview a few doulas, as each offers their own special “touch”.  Get referrals from other mamas, social media groups, providers, or other trusted sources.  Most doulas offer a free meet and greet.  This is a great, no obligation opportunity to see if you get a good sense that your needs/desires for birth will be met.

Susan McLoone, CD(DONA), SpBAP, SpBCPE, E-RYT, RPYT
Motherhood Matters
@Motherhood Matters QC

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