Laura Gillian | Labour/Birth & Postpartum Doula Services | Kingston, Ontario
Safe, Memorable, Empowering Birth & Postpartum Experiences
Warm, professional care for mothers, babies & partners
What Clients Say
FAQs about Doulas
Labour/Birth & Postpartum
The original meaning of the word doula is a female slave. In the context of labour and birth, a doula serves the mother and her partner by walking with them through the last hours of pregnancy, the birth, and where wanted, during the first hour following the birth.
As a doula, I meet with the mother and her partner, if she has one, and we talk about how she feels about the upcoming birth. Each person is unique with their own strengths and concerns. We will come up with a birth plan that the expectant mom feels will best serve her needs and wants, and then take time to prepare mentally and emotionally for unexpected outcomes so that she is fully prepared to the best of her ability. A doula:
- supports the wishes of the woman who is labouring
- helps her to understand her choices if a decision needs to be made
- helps to find and use various means to cope with contractions
- helps her partner to support her in the ways that are suitable to them as a couple
- stays focused on the mother at all times through staff changes and unexpected outcomes
There are two important things to know that a doula does not do:
- A doula’s role is non-medical and non-diagnostic, so she will not check for dilation and not make medical assessments of any kind.
- While a doula can provide you with information, she will never make decisions for you or on your behalf. She can provide you with confidence to ask for 5 minutes to consider a matter (providing it is not urgent!), and she can help you to understand what is happening and what kind of questions to ask, but will never tell you what to do or communicate with your caregiver on your behalf concerning your medical decisions.
A midwife may perform some doula-like duties but her primary role is medical support. A doula’s prime responsibility is maternal support, no matter what happens.
Not at all – a doula helps a partner to be involved to the degree that they can or want to. A doula may work through the partner, helping them to know how to effectively support the labouring mom.
Sometimes there are valid reasons for a partner to just be present: illness, injury, squeamishness and fainting. A doula can always find suitable ways to include the partner.
A positive birth experience also comes from a woman’s sense of trust and support from the other parent of the child. A doula helps a partner understand how to best help the mother. A doula supports your partner so s/he can eat and rest as needed allowing for continuous care for the labouring mom.
Absolutely! A doula serves the mother’s needs whether she chooses to give birth at home, at a birthing centre, or at the hospital. She will also support the mother through whatever kind of birth she chooses or is medically chosen for her: unmedicated, fully medicated, vaginal, or caesarean.
Like a birth doula, a postpartum doula is there to walk with a new mother and help her with her unique needs in this unfamiliar territory. Even if this is not your first child, you can still benefit from having a doula. Introducing a new little person to your family, can present challenges you have not experienced before.
An experienced postpartum doula will help with the practicalities of how to care for this tiny human who is entirely dependent on YOU. It can be so much more daunting that most of us expect!
It is an understatement to say that there is so much change in the life of a woman who has recently given birth.
People are excited and want to visit; they want to offer advice; your body feels like its not your own; you are tired beyond description; the baby needs you so very often; and your emotions are fluctuating wildly with dramatic hormonal changes.
And all you want to do is sleep.
It’s hard to imagine life beyond these intense days, and a postpartum doula is there to help sort through all of these feelings and experiences. She can help you to see the things that are unique to you and to normalize your experiences. This alone can help you to take a deep breath, worry less, and relax with your primary new task of feeding the baby. You can feel comfortable resting, recovering, and growing into your new role.
In addition, but not least, some women need to talk about their birth. Several times. Talking about this intense experience with a postpartum doula can also play a significant role in organizing your thoughts and how you remember and process your birth. It’s especially helpful if your postpartum doula was also your birth support.
A postpartum doula does not conduct medical examinations or make diagnoses – either for the mother or the baby. If the doula sees a potential concern, she will encourage you to call your care provider.
Sometimes, postpartum doulas perform housework. I have done in the past, but I prefer not to, and instead give my full focus to the mother, the partner, and the baby.