What is a doula?

The word “doula” is an ancient Greek word, which over time and through re-invention, has come to mean a woman who is with another woman through pregnancy, childbirth and with a new baby. While there are very few male doulas they fill the same kind of a role.

Doulas have received specific training to ensure they are equipped to educate an expectant mother and those who love her about what to expect during the pregnancy, birth and while parenting a newborn baby. A doula, or labour support provider, may bring physical and emotional tools with her into the labour process yet she will never perform any clinical tasks, i.e.: vaginal examinations, blood pressure checks or foetal assessments.

It is important that doulas are able to be knowledgeable, supportive, compassionate, resourceful, open and accepting. It is not the doula’s place to be judgemental and she will always want the people she is working with to feel that every decision they make is 100% respected.

How does it work?

A doula typically meets with an interested woman, and if she has a partner or someone who will be supporting her through the pregnancy and birth, they will also be in attendance, any time during the pregnancy. Many parents-to-be learn about doulas sometime in their first or second trimester and seek out support as soon as they are able to arrange a meeting. Others call a week before they are due and luck into finding the perfect doula.

It is our hope that you will reach out to us as early in the pregnancy as possible so that we can find you the perfect support. It is truly imperative to us that you not only feel comfortable with your doula but as though she is an extension of your family.

Do doulas attend hospital and home births? Do they work with doctors and midwives?

The WOMB Doulas have had the gift of being welcomed to attend births in virtually all of the birthing suites in the Greater Toronto Area and west to the Niagara Region. We ensure we maintain respect for the care team that the hospital provides for you and, as such, have a collaborative relationship that is only meant to be beneficial to you and your family, regardless of whether you birth with a doctor or a midwife. And then there are the opportunities to attend your birth with you in your home and those are equally special for different reasons.

We do not speak to your care providers on your behalf. There are instances where we may leave the room to find your nurse/doctor/midwife so that we can ask them to come in to speak with you but we will not speak to them about your care.

Do I need a doula if I have a Midwife?

A midwife fills a very different role than a doula. A midwife is your primary care provider and she will take care of all of your medical needs. Her responsibilities are similar to those of a nurse/obstetrician team. While many midwives offer as much emotional and physical support as they can, her time is meant to be focused on monitoring you and your baby as well as documenting your labour. She is responsible for the health and well-being of you and your baby.

Does a doula replace the role my spouse/partner would fill in the labour process?

Absolutely not!! We are there to enhance your partner’s role. We know that no one loves you the way your partner loves you. There may be times that it is difficult for your partner to know how best to help you during your pregnancy, labour and birth. We are there to provide suggestions, physical and emotional support (for BOTH of you) and, when needed, a chance for your partner to have a few minutes of a break so as to be able to best help you when you need it.

What happens if I have a caesarean birth?

Whether a caesarean birth happens because it is scheduled in advance of your labour or something that transpires through the labour process, a doula is trained to be able to provide you with exceptional support.

Often, these days, The WOMB Doulas are being invited into the operating theatres with a expectant mother and her partner. Being able to be in the operating theatre with you gives you the chance to have someone with you who can answer your questions and your wishes are heard while your care providers work and make sure you and your baby are safe. After the birth your doula is able to be another pair of EXPERIENCED hands to help you with establishing breastfeeding, changing diapers, seeking out food for you and your partner and so much more.

Are doula fees covered?

While doula fees are not covered by provincial health insurance plans there are more and more employment health benefits packages that DO cover doula fees. It can be advantageous to ask your Human Resources contact at work to see if this is something that will apply for you. Currently the Peel Elementary Teachers Local (PETL) has introduced League Benefits Spending Accounts. This includes coverage for both Birth and Postnatal Doula Services.


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