What is a birth doula?

A birth doula is a woman who is professionally trained to provide emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother (and partner) during pregnancy, birth, and early postpartum.

Birth doulas use a variety of practical skills, guidance, and a compassionate presence to help women and families experience a more satisfying, memorable, and empowering birth experience.

What is a postpartum doula?

A postpartum doula is an individual that is professionally trained to provide support and help mothers and families navigate the early days, weeks and months after a baby’s birth.

Postpartum doulas 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.

Does a doula advocate for me?

Doulas assist with communication, but do 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.

What difference does the presence of a trained doula have on birth outcomes?

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.

Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?

In short, no, doulas do not replace your partner.

A doula will complement and enhance the partner in their supportive role rather than acting as a replacement. 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/partners usually participate more actively during labor with the presence of a doula than without one.

Doulas also allow partners to be more present for the mother by taking care of some of the mediocre tasks such as fetching water and/or food, blankets, wash cloths, etc. Doulas can also tag-team with the partner for breaks and occasionally sleep during those longer labors.

What is the difference between a birth doula and a friend/sister/mother?

Often those who are closest and/or related to you are strongly influenced by the process of labor and struggle on how best to support you. They can become too caught up in their own experience, and they may struggle to be there for you physically and mentally.

Doulas are professionals. They are trained in pain-reducing comfort measures, natural methods to keep labour progressing, and know how to support both the labouring woman and her partner.

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

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 offer non-clinical support and comfort measures. They work as part of the team with doctors or midwives, but not instead of. It is outside of a doulas scope of practice to attend births as a primary care provider.

How do doulas fit in with the nursing/medical staff?

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.

Will a doula support me if I have an epidural?

Yes. The role of a doula is to support a woman in attaining a safe and pleasant birth no matter what type of birth you are planning. Women with epidurals often need as much support as those without, just a different type of support.

What if I have a cesarean birth?

If the cesarean section is scheduled, the doula will help the mother and family mentally prepare for the surgery while providing support and encouragement. The doula will also accompany the mother (and partner) on the day of the birth and stay with them until after the baby is born. Often the doula will be able to accompany the family into he OR, but this is not guaranteed.

Often a cesarean is an unexpected situation which can leave a mother (and partner) feeling unprepared, fearful, and disappointed. In the event of an unplanned cesarean the doula will continue to provide emotional support and encouragement. Depending on the circumstances and hospital policy, the doula may accompany the mother and partner into the operating room and will provide support in the recovery room and through postpartum care. Birth doulas provide support in the early hours and postpartum doulas provide extended care.

What if I planned an unmedicated birth, then change my mind during labour?

A doula will support you no matter what decisions you make. Doulas are there to provide information and non-clinical support regardless of the path labour and birth takes.

How much does a doula cost?

Every doula sets her own fee based on experience, additional trainings, certification costs, and a multitude of other factors.

Birth doulas in Regina range from about $900-$1,800. Most doulas will also be happy to set up a payment plan to offset the burden of a one-time cost.

Postpartum doulas in Regina generally charge an hourly rate that ranges from around $25/hour to $50/hour. Often they will also offer packages which may reduce the hourly fee slightly.

Do new doulas work for free?

Not generally, but often newer doulas charge less than more experienced doulas. All members of the Doulas of Regina are professionally trained and have invested a great deal of time, energy and money into their training. If you are in a situation where you cannot afford to pay for doula support, please see the Doulas of Regina Relief Fund page.

What are the qualifications of the members of Doulas of Regina?

Any doula in the Doulas of Regina has been professionally trained, understands and agrees to work within her scope of practice, and participates in continuing education, birth-related meetings and events. All understand confidentiality and how to work well with other care-providers.

How do I join Doulas of Regina?

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.

How do I become a doula?

Please see Become a Doula for information about workshops and training.