Scope of Practise

A doula is contracted by her clients to provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother and partner during pregnancy, birth & early post-partum.

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.

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