How Having A Doula Can Mean A Better Birth Outcome

Many people do not understand what a birth doula is or what a birth doula does. Every day in our breastfeeding support clinic or in our support services practice, we hear people tell us that they have no idea what a doula is or does.

Doulas are support people. We are there to accompany you in the perinatal period- throughout your pregnancy, for the duration of your labour and delivery and in the transition to parenting in the postpartum period. We also support you through fertility issues, through termination and through loss. We are non judgemental about your choices, and help you understand informed choice.

Many studies have been done on the impact a doula can have in attendance at a birth. What we know in a nutshell is that C-sections rates are lower, epidural use is lower and there are more favourable outcomes for both the birthing individual and the newborn when a doula is part of the birthing team.

What a lot of people donโ€™t know about doulas is that they are trained in how to listen, how to hold space for what you are feeling and are active in helping the birthing individual and their partner deconstruct what medical terms mean. Doulas also have an understanding of community standards, hospital policies and procedures and help you understand technocratic and physiologic methods of care.

Doulas support you in midwifery, obstetrical and family physician supported births. We attend clients at home, in birthing centres and in the hospital. Doulas are trauma informed and understand that trauma is relative to the individual and their lived experiences.

Having a doula at your birth means that you are cared for from an emotional and physical perspective. A doula will take care to ask you how you are feeling: from the way that you physically feel, how your are dealing mentally and emotionally throughout your journey and how you are feeling about everything that is going on around you.

At Babies Naturally we understand that birth can be scary and for some birthers very traumatic. We have training in nervous system regulation techniques and work hard to ensure that you feel safe, seen, secure and soothed. We take care of both you and your partner to ensure that you both feel fully involved as each of you want to be in the whole journey to parenthood. For some families, certain aspects of birth care can be very triggering and we work to make sure that we have a full understanding of this in order to help you have a felt sense of being safe, seen, secure and soothed.

Your birth can be filled with many unexpected experiences. Many of our clients are surprised to hear that the obstetrician they have been in the care of may not actually be in attendance at their birth. There is no guarantee that any primary care provider from obstetrician to midwifery and family physician care will attend you. You may have a care provider that you have not met before from your primary care providerโ€™s team. This is a concern for some of our clients and we fully understand that.

Most hospital deliveries will mean nursing shift changes and scheduled nursing breaks. For many birthers, this may be a concern as having a consistent person with them throughout birth is important. As your doula, we do not leave you throughout your journey. From the time you go into labour, until delivery and in our organization we ensure that feeding of your infant is completed and that you are comfortable before we leave. We check in with you a few hours after birth and attend you at home or in the hospital to help you with feeding and the big transition to parenting those first few weeks.

As your doula we support your birth choices, embrace your vision for your birth and ensure that your wishes are respected. We advocate for you, remind you that you are so very capable and are one more person in the room loving you. We never take the place of a partner- in fact, we are frequently thanked for helping support people feel that they are more involved and are more helpful than they ever thought they could be.

As doulas we SEE- support, educate and encourage you - to have the birth that only you know will be best for you. We do it in a non judgemental, trauma informed, inclusive supportive manner because we know how important birth is. We have been through it ourselves at Babies Naturally and understand birthโ€™s impact in the transition to parenting. We want the best for you and your family and believe that your deserve supportive care in your childbearing years.

If you have any questions at all about our services, please reach out to Carol Peat at kilty67@sympatico.ca

and Shannon Stark at Shannon.stark@sympatico.ca

We would love to speak with you!

With much love,

Carol