FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why are birth outcomes better with doula support?
Multiple randomized control studies have found that the presence of a trained doula benefits everyone. The studies have consistently shown that doula care is associated with shorter labours, less use of epidurals and other pain medications, lower episiotomy rates, and reduction in the c-section rate. Research has shown better clinical outcomes for both mother and baby (including fewer admissions to neonatal special care units, better breastfeeding rates, and better family bonding). A doula also provides care for the birth partner, assists busy hospital staff, and greatly increases a birthing persons overall satisfaction with their birth experience.
What services does a birth doula provide?
A doula provides information to help pregnant people make informed decisions regarding their birth and postpartum planning. She attends the labour when she is asked to join the birthing person and then stays with them for the entire labour and delivery, providing physical comfort measures and emotional support.
Does a birth doula help with postpartum care?
A birth doula is hired to provide support through labour and delivery with some support provided in the immediate postpartum hours. A birth doula will also visit at least once in the next week or two. A postpartum doula can be hired for support after birth only. Some doulas provide both birth and postpartum services.
Does a birth doula replace the father or partner?
A doula doesn’t replace anyone. She is another member of the birth team and supports everyone in their own role. A doula’s presence helps the partners participate at their own comfort level, showing them how and when to use various comfort techniques, providing information, and in some cases taking care of them as well. Partners are often grateful to be able to share the “coaching” responsibilities with someone more experienced and can therefore enjoy the birth experience more.
What restrictions are in place in the labour and delivery rooms due to COVID- 19?
At present BC hospitals allow only one support person to attend the birth with the birthing person. Only certified birth doulas may accompany the birthing person and their partner.
When do I contact a doula for an initial meeting?
You can contact and hire a doula at any time during your pregnancy, but it’s a good idea to do it earlier than later as your doula may be booked at the time of your estimated due date.
Do I contact my doula as soon as I think I’m in labour?
Yes, its good to contact your doula early on so she can make plans to be available when you need her.
Does a doula help with breastfeeding support as well?
Yes, a doula can help provide support during the initiation of breastfeeding and in the weeks following the birth if necessary.
Is a doula the same thing as a midwife?
No. a doula provides no medical or nursing care. Since she doesn’t have any of these responsibilities, she can give her complete attention to providing emotional and physical support to the birthing person.
Can a doula help if the birthing person has an epidural?
Yes, a doula’s presence is helpful during early labour and during the epidural placement process. She then continues to provide care, offering emotional and informational support. When it’s time to deliver the baby the doula’s assistance can be invaluable.
Can a doula attend a c-section birth?
Yes, a person having a c-section birth can still use a doula’s support. The doula may not be in the operating room depending on the wishes of the family and the medical staff, but either way the doula is still there for support before and afterwards.
Are doula services covered by insurance in Canada?
Doulas are not covered by any provincial health care plan. But doulas services have started to be funded by some private insurance plans.
What happens if my doula is sick or unavailable when I go into labour?
A doula should ensure adequate back up in the rare case she cannot attend. This will be discussed as part of the initial meeting and agreement to enter into service.
What is the difference between a certified doula and one that is not certified?
Certified and uncertified doulas both provide support to labouring women, and a doula does not have to be certified to practice. When you hire a certified doula you can be certain that she has taken formal educational training, (although uncertified doulas also have likely taken some training), that she is required to follow a code of ethics, to practice within a defined standard of practice, is held accountable by a certifying organization, is required to attend continuous educational training and has therefore been awarded professional credentials.