Birth Doula Services
What is a doula?
A doula is someone who provides emotional, physical and informational support to labouring women and their families. A doula is also an advocate for the preferences of the mother and her partner. Unlike midwives, doctors and nurses a doula does not have any clinical duties to attend to; all of her attention is available for the mother continuously throughout labour.
As a doula, I accompany women in labour to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I have completed two Doulas of North America certified trainings and continue to further my perinatal education. I recently completed the Douglas College Breastfeeding Counsellor Certificate Program and Anatomy and Physiology for the Childbearing Year.
Clients often say that my skills as a massage practitioner were key in helping them to cope with their labour and birth. Massage can reduce stress and help to block pain signals. Both of these effects can then contribute to better outcomes and a positive feeling about the experience as a whole.
I also work as a doula with the South Community Birth Program.
I draw on my knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort and - as needed - communication with the staff to make sure that you have the information that you need to make informed decisions as the need arises during labour. I can 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.
My role as a Labour Doula is not to replace the father/partner in any way. Instead, I can help assist the partner in being a better coach and remove much of the stress related to insecurity and uncertainty as well as allow the partner time to take a break.
practice is open to all families. Single women, married or common law,
same or opposite-sex couples and families of choice are all welcomed.
I am independent and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not for your caregiver or the hospital. Equally, I will always treat your caregivers and hospital staff with courtesy and respect.
Choosing a Doula:
I prefer to meet with you and your partner at least once before labour to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities and any fears or concerns, and to plan how we might best work together. At that time we can discuss fees. This meeting does not obligate you to use my services, but if you do select me, then I will want to become familiar with your Birth Plan, including your preferences regarding management options and the use of pain medications. I also want to know your own best ways of coping with pain and fatigue and how you and your partner foresee working together. We may decide to have more than one meetings and will certainly want to remain in touch by telephone.
I will also inform you of times when I am unavailable for labour support. During any such times I will arrange one or more back-up doulas that you can also meet. Of course, you have as much choice over your back-up as you do over your primary doula.
I will stay within one hour’s distance for the two weeks before your estimated due date up until labour begins. If I need to travel a distance greater than this in the period between four to two weeks before your due date, I will contact you to let you know my plans, and to confirm that my back-up is aware that I will be out of town, and that she will be available for you should you go into labour during this time.
When you are in Labour:
I prefer that you call me when you think you are in labour, even if you do not yet need me. I can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone. We will decide if I should come right then or wait for further change (I usually need approximately one hour to get to you from the time you ask me to come).
We will also decide where to meet – at your home or the hospital. Except for extraordinary circumstances, I or my back-up will remain with you throughout the labour and birth.
After the Birth:
I usually remain with you for one or two hours after the birth until you are comfortable, and your family is ready for quiet time together. I can also help with initial breastfeeding if necessary. I am available for phone contact to answer questions about the birth or your baby and would like to get to together with you within one to two weeks to see how you are doing, to review the birth, to admire your baby and to get feedback from you about my role.
I also provide post-partum doula services. As a postpartum doula, I come to your home and help for the first few weeks with breastfeeding, newborn care and instruction, new-parent care, offer resources and give general family and household support and I will work with your parenting style. For more information about my post-partum services, please contact me. Also, check out my article, "Postpartum Doulas and Gay Dads".
As a Doula, I do not:
- Perform clinical tasks such as blood pressure readings, foetal heart checks vaginal exams and others. I am there to provide only physical comfort, emotional support and advocacy.
- Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your Birth Plan.
- Speak to the staff on your behalf. I will discuss you concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner will speak on your behalf to the clinical staff.
Failure to Provide Service
My commitment is to provide the services I have outlined. Sometimes this is impossible (as in a very rapid labour).
If my failure to attend your birth is due to my error, there will be no charge for my services and I will refund the retaining fee.
If it is due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control (as in very rapid labour), I will keep the retaining fee, but there will be no further charges.
If it is due to your failure to call me, I will keep the retainer and invoice for 50% of the remaining fee.
If my back-up is called for this birth, financial arrangements for her payment will be made by me.
My fee for the services described here is $850,
I believe that all women deserve labour support and I will work on a payment plan or barter system if it is necessary, so please contact me. I also provide free doula services for a limited number of low-income women; please email or call me for more details.
Referals to doulas are also available through the BC Doula Services Association. They also keep a list of doulas who provide their services at no cost for those in need. [If you can mention to them that you found their info on my site, it is very much appreciated.]
Doulas in the News:
Below are some current articles on doulas.
A Doula's Story
Mothering the Mother: The Difference a Doula Can Make During Labor
DONA President Finishes Term