What is a doula?

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.

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

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:

  • Tends to result in shorter labours with fewer complications
  • Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • Reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
  • Reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans

What about the partner’s role when using a doula?

A partner’s role during the birth is never replaced by a doula. Throughout the labour the doula will help your partner stay focused and calm, while giving the love and support to the mother. A doula can also help them care for and support the mom by giving suggestions, providing encouragement or giving needed breaks during a long labour. With the unconditional support of a doula, your partner can feel supported along with the labouring mother.

Will the doula make decisions for me?

A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their care. A doula provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.

Can I have a doula if I want an epidural?

Sure! A doula can help a mom with an epidural tremendously by assisting the mom before she gets the epidural, helping her get it when she wants it and helping her manage contractions while it is being administered and taking effect. A doula can also help the mom with side effects, guide her through the pushing phase, help support her partner, and provide continuity of care to the family throughout the postpartum period.

What if I have a C-Section, is a doula’s support still valuable?

If you are having a cesarean, a doula can provide valuable assistance. Your doula will help inform you about the surgery and the post-partum recovery. If your caregiver suggests a cesarean at some point during labour, your doula will help you gather necessary information by guiding you in asking questions about the reasons why the cesarean has been recommended, the risks and benefits relative to your particular situation, and any alternatives you may want to suggest. During the c-section, your doula will keep you informed about what you can expect to happen next and stay with you for support throughout the process.

Would you support a surrogate family or a family having twins?

Yes, of course I would.  Upon our initial meeting we can go over how I can best support you and your family throughout your pregnancy, labour and postpartum care.  My goal is for you to feel supported and to be served with the best care, regardless of your family dynamics.



What do postpartum doulas do?

What a postpartum doula does changes from day to day, as the needs of the family change. Postpartum doulas do whatever a mother needs to best enjoy and care for her new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” They assist with breastfeeding education. Postpartum doulas also make sure the mother is fed, well hydrated and comfortable.

How long does a postpartum doula spend with a family?

Doula support can last anywhere from one or two visits to more than three months.

What is a postpartum doula’s goal?

The goal of a doula is to nurture the parents into their new roles. As they experience success and their knowledge and self-confidence grow, their needs for professional support should diminish.

How does a doula nurture the parents into their roles?

Self-confidence has a tremendous impact on a person’s ability to approach any task, and parenting is no different. DONA International doulas are taught to always consider parents’ feelings and always build confidence whenever possible. Doulas accomplish this through praise, acceptance and a non-judgmental approach. In addition, the doula will teach parents strategies and skills that will improve their ability to bond with their babies. A calm baby who is growing well will help parents to feel more confident in their skills.

How do postpartum doulas work with a mother’s partner?

A doula respects the partner’s role and input, and teaches concrete skills that will help the partner nurture the baby and mother. The doula will share evidence-based information with the partner that shows how his or her role in the early weeks will have a dramatic positive effect on the family.

What area do you serve?

Embrace Doula works with families in Halifax and surrounding areas.