Birth doulas are contracted by clients to provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother and partner during pregnancy, birth & early post-partum. A doula recognizes birth as a key experience that will be remembered throughout a woman’s life. Doulas understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of labouring women. They encourage birth partners to participate in the planning and birth process in a manner that feels comfortable.
Doulas offer a free introductory meeting to learn about your wishes, explain their services, and to give the potential clients and the doula a chance to decide if it feels right to work together. Once hired, birth doulas meet with their clients prenatally to get acquainted, learn about prior birth experiences (if applicable), help prepare clients for birth, inform them of options, and learn about their needs and wishes. As due-dates approach the doula is on-call to attend the labour and birth. Birth doulas stay with clients through the birth process until the family is settled; usually one to two hours after the birth. Birth doulas check in with clients in the early hours and days. For longer term postpartum care, please consider the services of a postpartum doula.
“The presence of a Doula reduces the overall c-section rate by roughly 45 percent, length of labour by 25 percent, oxytocin use by 50 percent, pain medication by 31 percent, the need for forceps 34 percent and requests for epidurals 10 to 60 percent.” – Marshall H. Klaus, M.D.
Birth Doula Scope of Practise and Responsibility to Client
- Promote respectful health-care of women and their babies.
- Hold in strict confidence any information obtained through professional and personal relationship with clients.
- Provide physical, emotional and informational support to clients during pregnancy, birth & early post-partum, including comfort measures in labour and suggestions for the partner.
- Work as a member of the client’s birth team, with a respectful demeanor toward all other members (family, medical staff, attendants).
- The doula advocates for her clients’ wishes by encouraging the client to ask questions of her care provider and express preferences and concerns. Clients and doulas must recognize the advocacy role does not include the doula speaking on behalf of the client or making decisions.
- The doula helps the mother incorporate changes in plans, if and when the need arises.
- Encourage client to make their own best decisions through the concept of informed choice.
- The doula does not perform clinical or medical tasks such as vital signs, internal examinations.
- For client needs beyond the scope of the doula’s training, referrals are made to appropriate resources.
- Provide continuity of care, either as an individual or as a doula-team. This includes working with suitable back-up.
- As circumstances permit, and after discussion with the mother, the doula will take necessary breaks during labour.
- Not say or do anything to diminish a woman’s confidence in her body, ability to birth, or her healthcare team.
- Provide basic breastfeeding support in early postpartum hours or days.
- Inform client of options and resources. Share research based information.
- Work with integrity and high standards of conduct. Promote good professional and personal conduct within the doula profession; is accountable to her professional association.
- Honour verbal and/or written agreements and contracts for service.
Limitations of Service
Doulas do not:
- Give medical advice; rather provide suggestions for where to get medical advice.
- Perform medical procedures e.g. monitoring fetal heart, maternal blood-pressure.
- Offer diagnosis e.g. fetal position, reasons for any issues mother experiences.
- Make decisions for the client or tell her what she should do in a given circumstance.
- Judge client decisions.
- Speak on behalf of client.
The Doula Scope of Practise as outlined in this document is recognized by Birth Ways International, CAPPA, DONA, and Doulas of Regina.
HOW TO HIRE A DOULA:
Once you’ve decided that you would like to include a doula in your birth team, you must then decide which doula would be the best fit for you. You can take a look through our member directory to see who might be available to join your birth team. Doulas offer a complimentary meet-and-greet, either in person or over the phone/internet. You can prepare your own questions, or feel free to click here to view and print our PDF with space for you to write notes. The doula with whom you feel the most comfortable is the one you should choose.
If you’re further along in pregnancy and are short for time, feel free to contact any of the Doulas of Regina, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. We are happy to refer you to other doulas as needed. We strive to respond to all inquiries within 72 hours, but if you feel we may have missed your message, please do reach out to us again.