Do you know what doulas don’t do?

Everyday I meet women who resemble me eight years ago. Women who know a lot about babies and childbirth, but who have never heard of a “birth doula” – or if they have heard the term don’t really understand how a birth doula can support moms and dads during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.  If you are one of those women, I’d love to share what I’ve learned over the past 5 years about what doulas do – but first I want to clear up some confusion by talking about what doulas don’t do.  (Try saying that three times fast!)

  1. I do not catch babies. That’s right, I do not want to be catching your baby unless you are stranded alone, in labour, on the side of the road as I pass by (then I will catch it, of course, don’t worry!) Joke aside, catching babies is serious business so I will leave that to the well-educated midwives and doctors.
  2. I do not perform any clinical care on mother or baby. This means I will not take your blood pressure, check for dilation, monitor fetal heart rates, prescribe any tests or medications, perform sutures, etc. You will meet with your primary caregiver many times over the course of your pregnancy and he/she will ensure that all is well with you and your baby.
  3. I do not replace your partner. Often partners worry a doula will completely take over, leaving them no room to support their labouring spouse. This isn’t true at all. I work in tandem with partners, allowing them to do what makes them feel comfortable, whether that be massaging mom’s back, getting her water, or whispering encouraging words in her ear. And very often, partners also need a doula to help them work through the emotions they are feeling, as well as help them with baby if mom is unable to do so at that time, for example after a cesarean birth.
  4. I do not judge you. You really wanted to have a natural childbirth, but after 24 hours of intense back labour you were exhausted and decided to have an epidural. Shortly after, your baby was born. Your body, your birth, your choices. No one should judge you—especially not your doula.
  5. I do not tell you what to do or make decisions for you. My role as a doula is to provide evidence-based information that will allow you to make the choices that are right for you and your family. When you are active participants in the decision making process that effects you and your baby, you are more inclined to feel positive about your birth experience, even if it did not go as originally planned. Be informed!

Now that’s what I don’t do. My upcoming series of posts will describe what I actually do do, so don’t miss out – subscribe to my blog!

If having a birth doula sounds like something you want to explore further, call me and we can chat about your pregnancy and your needs. I look forward to helping you welcome your little one into this world!


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