What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?

Unlike Midwives, Doulas are not medically trained so do not perform medical tasks. We provide support in a number of emotional and practical ways instead.We do not advise or direct your decision making, but rather support you to access all the information to make your own decisions.

How much does a doula cost?

The cost for Doula services is dependent on many factors and is individually set by each Doula.  Compassionate and competent support through the birthing experience is truly priceless. Most of us live in the real world and we know cost is a factor during most of our decision making processes. If you really have a financial need, let the Doula you are interested in know.  Some Doulas may offer some form of payment plan, sliding-scale or bartering options.

How can hiring a doula contribute to the outcome of my birth?

Evidence shows that professional labour support can have some of the following effects:

  • labours with Doulas present were shorter with fewer complications
  • emotional support reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labour-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
  • reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans
  • significantly reduces the rates of cesarean births

What does this mean?

It means that if you have continuous labor support (that is, someone who never leaves your side), you are statistically more likely to have better outcomes and your baby is more likely to have better outcomes!

We encourage you to read the complete summary of the evidence, here.

How do I select a doula?

Selecting a Doula is a very personal choice. We believe that there is a Doula that is the right fit for every woman and we know the greatest benefit to labour will happen when you’ve found the one for you.  

When approaching this search, ask yourself: what am I looking for in a labour support person? While considering training, experience and approach are all very important elements of the decision, the most important factor is how do you feel with the Doula? Do you feel heard, safe and understood? Do you experience a level of trust when you engage with her? Choosing a Doula has more to do with fit and instinct than specific qualifications. Some women seek mother types to guide them in the birth room, others are seeking peers.

How is a doula different from having your partner/spouse there?

Some people think that they do not need a Doula because their partner will be with them continuously throughout labour. It is true that the birth partner is an essential support person for a birthing person to have by their side. However, the birth partner will need to eat and use the bathroom at times, and they are having their own emotional journey that requires support. Also, many partners have limited knowledge about birth, medical procedures, or what goes on in a hospital, while Doulas have knowledge and experience about all of these things that they can use to inform and support both the partner and birthing person. Ideally, Doulas and partners can work together to make up a labour support team.

Research has shown that the most positive birth experiences for fathers were ones where they had continuous support by a Doula or a Midwife. Fathers have said that when they had labour support from a Midwife or Doula, things were explained to them, their questions were answered, their labour support efforts were guided and effective, and they could take breaks from the emotional intensity of the labour without abandoning their labouring partner.

How will the doula benefit my partner? 

Doulas offer objective support throughout your birthing time to both you and your partner(s). Often those who are closest and/or related to you are strongly influenced by the process of labour and struggle on how best to support you. They are too caught up in their own experience, that they struggle to be both wholly there for you physically and mentally. We allow partners to be more present for you, while we handle the more things like, fetching water, food, taking care of the ambiance of the room. Doulas allow partners to take breaks, contact family, go to the restroom and occasionally sleep in those longer labours. Doulas often foresee standard processes that might be coming down the line so that you and your partner have time to navigate these choices together without being caught completely off guard. In some of the most basic ways a Doula can support partners by showing them the time and experience tested methods of physical & emotional support like how to perform comfort techniques through touch and verbal coaching. Your partner is also experiencing the birth of their child or a new family member. A Doula allows for your partner to have their own experience while concurrently supporting yours.  

Does a doula make decisions on my behalf?

A Doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in clinical care.  We encourage you to be your own advocate in pregnancy and birth.  As Doulas, we provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions. Much of the reasons Doulas do the work they do is that they recognize that you are accountable and capable to educate yourself and make the choices necessary that design your birth experience. A Doula will offer a breadth of information and evidence based practices to consider.  It is ultimately your responsibility to make choices concerning your body and your baby.

Do doulas support clients who plan to use pain medication?

Doulas support a women's right to choose how THEY wish to birth. This includes supporting a labouring woman who chooses to labor unmedicated or medicated. When you are making choices about interventions during birth, your Doula can work with you to facilitate conversations with your provider about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to any test, treatment or procedure.