Doula services

What is a Birth Coach (Doula)?
As a birth coach (doula), I accompany women in labour to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I also provide prenatal education, some specialized counseling (VBAC, nutrition, breastfeeding), and care after the baby is born. As your Doula, I draw on my knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort and, as needed, communication with medical staff to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labour. I can provide reassurance and perspective to you, if needed, or simply provide companionship and support. I can make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, positioning, massage, and other techniques for comfort. I am independent and self-employed. As your birth coach (doula), I am working for you. 

Choosing a Birth Coach (Doula)
I prefer to meet with you at least once before you labor to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities and concerns, and to plan how we can work best together. At that time, we can discuss fees. This meeting will not oblige you to use my services. If you choose me as your birth coach (doula), I will want to know your preferences regarding the birth, your concerns and your expectations. I will want to know your own best ways of coping with pain and fatigue and, if applicable, I will want to know about your previous birth experiences. I will inform you of the times when I am unavailable for labour support. To cover those times, I will arrange one or more back-up birth coaches(doulas) that you may also meet. There is concrete evidence that the presence of a doula at your birth creates: 50% reduction in the Cesarean rate, 25% shorter labour, 60% reduction in sythetic oxytocin use, 30% reduction in analgesia use, 40% reduction in forceps delivery. *This information is contained in Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth by Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus (1993). As well as these impressive statistics, there is growing evidence that breastfeeding goes more smoothly, babies require less trips to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the mother and father feel good about their birth experience. 

When You are in Labour
When you think labour has begun, I ask that you contact me as soon as possible by phone call, NOT text, even if you are not sure you are really in labour. Again, the more notice I have, the better prepared I can be. Once you have decided you are in labour, we will then plan to check in with one another every few hours, or as often as you prefer, by phone, text, or email. It is up to you to decide at what point in your labour you want me to come and be with you. Once you make that decision, barring any unforeseen circumstances (traffic, emergencies, etc.), I will be there within an hour (usually less, depending on distance), and will remain with you until a few hours after the birth. If your labour goes beyond 24 hours, please be aware I may need to attend to other clients by way of phone calls if I am also on call for them. In some cases of a prolonged labour, I may need to call for back-up doula care. Although I like to space my clients, of course there are never any guarantees that babies come on due dates. Each birth is different and we will discuss your preferences and any concerns during the prenatal meeting. 

As a Birth Coach (Doula), I do not:
1. Perform clinical tasks, such as taking blood pressure, fetal heart checks or vaginal exams. I am there to provide only physical comfort and emotional support and facilitate communication between you and the staff.

2. Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information you need to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan.

3. Speak to the staff on your behalf. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, as well as encourage you to voice your opinions, questions and concerns to the staff. 

After the Birth
I will remain with you for one or two hours after the birth, until you are comfortable and your family is ready for a quiet time together. I can also help with the initial breastfeeding. I will visit you within 15 days after your child’s birth to make sure everything is going well. I will be available for extra visits if needed.