What's A Doula? Do I Need One?

The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek and has been applied to childbirth to refer to “… a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.” (Klaus, Kennell and Klaus in Mothering the Mother)

Doulas provide labour support or postpartum support or both. Unlike midwives, doulas do not perform clinical tests or assessments. Labour support consists of emotional and physical guidance and comfort techniques. The doula doesn’t replace the labouring woman’s partner but frees them to be and do what they are most comfortable with.

“THIS IS OUR HEARTS WORK” We are drawn to this profession because we love birth and want to support other women”.

Every expectant family can benefit from the support of a Doula.

Some areas where a Doula may be particularly helpful are:

  • Women planning a vaginal birth after a caesarean
  • Women wanting to avoid medication and medical interventions
  • Women having a home birth
  • Women diagnosed as having a high risk pregnancy
  • Women desiring midwifery care but unable to obtain it due to availability
  • Women with midwifery care
  • Women having hospital births
  • Women without partners

The presence of a doula can significantly impact the use of interventions for labour and birth.

Studies indicate a reduction in:

  • Cesarean births
  • Epidural request
  • Other pain relief medications
  • Use of Pitocin
  • Forceps deliveries

Motherhood is a major life transition and the adjustment period can feel overwhelming at times, it is for this reason that women and their families turn to and benefit from the help of an experienced Postpartum Doula.

A Postpartum Doula is a non-judgemental woman with a quiet presence in your home. We are mothers ourselves who have breastfed our own children and enjoy motherhood. We are also professionally trained and certified as postpartum doulas. We have extensive knowledge in the areas of breastfeeding, infant care and psychological needs of new families. Postpartum Doulas can support new families by providing emotional support, help with newborn care, baby basics, assistance and support with breastfeeding techniques as well as performing household tasks and sibling care.

- Jill Ritchie

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