So what is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
The simplest way to explain would be to say that a midwife’s primary role is your medical well being. The care that I provide as your birth doula is different in that it is completely non-medical. My role is to provide you with informational, physical, and emotional support. Informational support would include discussing birth preferences, learning about whats important to you during labour, understanding different procedures and interventions, building a birth plan. During labour this means being the neutral person in the room that gives you the pros and cons of different aspects or decisions needed during labour as they arise, and help you to advocate for yourself based on your preferences. Physical support means showing you and your partner different positions prenatally and practicing contractions to learn what coping mechanisms work well for you. During labour this can including anything from counter pressure, massage and acupressure to physically labouring with you as you lean into me. Emotional support is key during labour as much of the ability to cope during labour is mental. We will discuss fears or apprehensions around birth or labour, use visualization and relaxation techniques through contractions as coping mechanisms.
Most importantly, I am the person in the room who is there to ensure that both you and your partner have an enjoyable birth filled with love – that you can look back at and say, I felt like she was always there for me and only me, in a wonderful cloud of oxytocin.
Do I want to have an unmedicated bith to have you as my doula ?
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about doulas. You do not need to have or want a “natural” birth to have a doula support you and your partner on one of the most important days of your life. I work with parents that choose epidurals, laughing gas, have cesarean births, birth without medication, birth at hospital or choose home births. There is no “right” way to birth your baby. Only the way that feels right to you. My role as your doula is to honour your choices.
Will having a doula interfere with my partner’s role?
Some partner’s are nervous that having a doula will take away from the special connection they want to feel with their labouring partner. Having a birth doula present actually does the opposite.When most women think of their birth, they want their partners there with them, they want them to know what they want when they want it, how to comfort them, what’s normal, when to go to the hospital, etc. Unfortunately, most partners have never been to a birth before! This is a lot of pressure on partners! Having a doula actually creates a special connection that is free of worry, doubt, wondering what’s normal, and wondering how to comfort a loved one. Doula’s facilitate creating a birth where partners feel comfortable doing as much or little as they feel comfortable with. Your partner will know how to massage hips, when to use a cold cloth or a warm, how to slow your breathing down – all through the support of a doula. Or if you prefer, your partner will simply be there to hold your hand and take picture while I do the rest!