Pregnancy is a truly unique and special time in your life, filled with excitement and anticipation, but can also be met with anxiety as you navigate the unknown. A Birth Doula can be a wonderful addition to your birthing team. They can help empower you with knowledge, address your concerns, and provide unconditional emotional support so you can go into your birth feeling confident, and prepared.
At The WOMB Vaughan, our Doulas are warm, nurturing, non-judgmental, passionate, and knowledgeable. Our Doula support services are designed to provide you with the care that you need and deserve. Keep on reading to learn more about what a Doula is, and how they can help you!
What is A Doula?
A Doula is a specially trained birthing or postpartum professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to an expecting family before, during, and after childbirth to help them achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.
Doulas help guide parents through pregnancy by empowering them with knowledge, and supporting them emotionally and physically, so they can experience a more empowered birth. Afterwards, they help build the confidence of new parents by teaching them everything from feeding, to bathing, skin-to-skin, and so much more!
With its name originating from ancient Greek, Doulas have been serving expectant families for many, many years. These days, what was once a role filled by extended family and community members has evolved into a certified specialist through accredited programs and professional training, to deliver the best experience possible.
As a labour support person, this specialist’s purpose is to make a mother feel safe and strong throughout the labour and birthing experience. They provide comfort through their physical and emotional tools, and facilitate self-advocacy through their experienced guidance.
This role can fall into two main categories – the Birth Doula who provides pregnancy and childbirth support, and the Postpartum Doula who provides support for the period after childbirth. Doulas can be trained in one specialty, or multiple.
What Does A Birth Doula Do?
A Birth Doula provides support and assistance to an expecting family during pregnancy and childbirth. Their goal is to educate you and your partner to make sure you both have a full understanding of all available options, and know what to expect throughout your pregnancy and birth.
This birthing coach will empower you to choose the birth experience you want, while still being ready and prepared for any circumstance. With the help of a Birth Doula, you will explore your birth preferences, learn about pain management, breathing techniques, and different birthing positions.
Many Doulas are trained to use tools such as the tens machine, robozo or birthing ball. They will also help support your partner during the birthing process so that they feel confident, while supporting you on your birthing day. Once the baby is born, the Birth Doula will also be able to assist with breastfeeding immediately after the birth.
Birth Doulas work in tandem with doctors and midwives to better your childbirth experience. They do not provide medical advice or perform medical tasks. Doulas can support you wherever you choose to birth your baby, including the hospital, your home, or other locations such as the Toronto Birth Centre, or Alongside Midwifery Unit at Markham Stouffville Hospital. If you have a cesarean birth, your Doula helps you explore options such as a family-centric cesarean. On the day of, they will also make sure you are being informed and supported every step of the way.
What Does A Postpartum Doula Do?
A Postpartum Doula is a specialist that supports the birthing person, their baby and their families with professional care, after the delivery. Their purpose is to help instill confidence in the family and get them to a place where they are comfortable and ready to move forward on their own.
• Feeding, bathing, rocking, or soothing your baby to give the birthing person time to shower, rest, or have a meal.
• Providing help with laundry for the baby, meal preparation for the birthing person, and playing with older children.
• Instilling confidence with breastfeeding by exploring methods and positions, as well as other feeding methods (ie. exclusive pumping, combination feeding, etc.).
• Preparing, washing, and sterilizing bottles.
• Helping you navigate life as a new family, and connecting you with the resources you need, while answering any questions you might have.
• Overnight support to let parents comfortably rest while knowing the baby will be cared for during wake times.
Examples of the work performed by Postpartum Doulas include:
The role of the Postpartum Doula adapts with the changing needs of your family. The Doula offers the tools, education and support that new parents need to face the emotional impacts of the postpartum period. The Postpartum Doula provides the necessary support based upon your needs and desires as a family, in order to guide you without judgement, and instill you with self-confidence.
What are the benefits of using a Doula?
Doulas can have a tremendous impact on the families they serve, bringing positive benefits such as:
• Increased breastfeeding success
• Enhanced parenting confidence
• Improved family relationships
• Faster healing with education in self-care after birth
• Decrease in Postpartum Mood Anxiety Disorders
• Increased partner confidence and involvement
Additionally, a childbirth assisted by a Doula is:
• Less likely to need Pitocin
• Less likely to have a cesarean birth
• Less likely to use any pain medication
• More likely to rate their childbirth experience positively
Can I receive Doula support online?
The WOMB Vaughan offers in-person and virtual services for Doulas.
Virtual services for Doulas are ideal for families living outside our community, or if the hospital is not allowing an additional support person due to Covid restrictions.
In addition to the same features as our in-person services, our tailored approach to virtual support includes:
• Cheat sheet handouts and links to research and resources
• Phone, email and text support Virtual platform support (e.g. FaceTime, Zoom, or other)
• This online service is also ideal for families who have not expanded their circle of care beyond their immediate family.
Doulas are knowledgeable, supportive and compassionate. They want you to feel that every decision you and your partner make is completely respected, and comes from a place of self advocacy.
Are you expecting a child, and considering using a Doula? Come to The WOMB Vaughan, where we offer expert caring Doula services to meet all your needs! Our Doulas are trained to give you strong emotional support when you need it most. At The WOMB Vaughan, we specialize in providing a professional, loving community that new families need!
To receive our brochure on Doulas, click here. For more parenting information, read our blog! Learn how to massage out a clogged milk duct, and discover the benefits of chiropractic care on fertility.