A doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother and partner during pregnancy, birth & early postpartum. They use a variety of practical skills, guidance, and a compassionate presence to help women experience a more satisfying birth. In much of the world today and throughout history, women support women through labour and birth.
A Postpartum Doulas is a professional support person that specializes in helping women and their families navigate the early days and weeks after a baby’s birth. They use a variety of hands-on practical skills, non-judgmental guidance, and a compassionate presence to facilitate easier breastfeeding and create space for rest, nourishment and family bonding.
The doula assists with communication but does not speak on behalf of her client. A doula may remind or encourage a client to ask the questions necessary to understand a procedure and make informed decisions.
Research shows the presence of a doula tends to result in shorter, less painful labours with fewer complications and less interventions. When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression.
A responsible doula compliments and enhances the father/partner in their supportive role rather than acting as a replacement. The presence of a doula allows the father/partner to offer support during labor and birth without the pressure to remember everything learned in childbirth class! The partner typically has little-to-no actual experience with the birth process, yet is expected to act as a coach. Doulas support both the mother and her partner to become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable. Studies have shown that fathers usually participate more actively during labor with the presence of a doula than without one.
Doulas are professionals, trained in pain-reducing comfort measures, natural methods to keep labor progressing, and know how to support both the laboring woman and her partner. Doulas are familiar with local hospital policies and practices and have often built a rapport with the staff. At the Regina General Hospital, doulas are welcome in all areas of care of the laboring or postpartum woman and her partner, including some areas where other family cannot attend.
Midwives are highly trained in the medical aspects of birth. In North America primary/medical birth care is offered by a midwife or a physician.
Doulas work as part of a team with doctors or midwives, but not instead of. It’s outside a doulas scope of practice to attend births as a primary care-provider, as they offer non-medical support and comfort measures. Doulas do not catch babies. They do not perform clinical tasks such as heart rate, blood pressure, or internal exams.
Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff, but rather work as part of the team. They are there to comfort and support the mother and her partner. Nurses change shifts; doulas stay.
The role of the doula is to help attain a safe and pleasant birth no matter what type of birth you are planning. Women who choose medicated birth need as much support as those who choose natural birth, but a different kind of support. Doulas can fill the gap that medication may not cover and help support women in the presence of medical devices and medicines.
The doula can help the woman mentally prepare for her surgery while providing comfort, support and encouragement. Often a cesarean is an unexpected situation and new mothers are left feeling unprepared, disappointed and lonely. Depending on circumstances, the doula may attend the birth. She will support the mother in the recovery room and through postpartum care per the original agreement. Birth doulas help in the early hours following your birth, while postpartum doulas provide extended care.
Doulas don’t make decisions for clients or intervene in clinical care, nor do they judge women’s choices. They provide informational and emotional support while respecting a woman’s decisions.
Fees range with geographical location, services and experience. You are encouraged to contact and interview a variety of doulas to find out what they offer.
Not generally, but in rare cases a doula may gift her services. All members of Doulas of Regina are professional doulas and have invested a great deal of time, energy and money into their training. New doulas usually charge less than more experienced doulas. If you are in a situation where you can’t pay for birth support, please see the Doulas of Regina Relief Fund, which offers financial assistance to pay for doula support.
Several of our members serve areas outside Regina. Please see Doulas Serving Rural Areas.
Doulas of Regina is a non-profit, professional association of doulas who work in Regina and rural areas. Our primary focus is to provide mothers-to-be with doulas who are professionally trained and active in the community. Doulas of Regina connects women who want to become a doula, continue their education as a professional doula, or be part of a supportive community for doulas.
Any doula in the Doulas of Regina has been professionally trained, understands and agrees to work within her scope of practise, and participates in continuing education, birth-related meetings and events. All understand confidentiality and how to work well with other care-providers. Some of our doulas offer additional professional services such as massage therapy, placenta encapsulation, and childbirth classes, which can be purchased in addition to doula services.
Please see Become a Member. All potential members are screened to ensure proper training credentials and work practices are met. If they are then you will complete the membership application forms, pay the annual fees, and then will receive next steps for getting started with the association.
Please see Become a Doula for information about workshops and training.