Birth Doula Support
I understand that the entire birthing experience, from preconception to postpartum, can be a highly sensitive, sensual, and social experience. Different people experience this transformative period differently, however, and this is why I believe in offering a wide range of support options for each individual family to choose from. It is high priority for me to make available all the support you need, whenever that need arises--not just during labour! Keep in mind that it is never too early, nor too late, to utilize the loving care and experience of a doula during your childbearing year! I serve clients planning a hospital, birth center, or home birth in Calgary and the surrounding area, including Okotoks and High River.
The following is a sample of some of the specific services and meetings we can incorporate into your own unique support package. Prenatal meetings can be designed uniquely to address your needs.
This is a complimentary no obligation meet and greet just to get to know each other and be sure that we are a perfect fit! It is best if both you and your partner are present at this meeting, as well as the following ones, if possible. We will discuss the definition of a doula, services provided, compatibility, and contract/pricing.
This meeting can be held at a neutral place, such as a coffee shop or in your home as you choose. It can be scheduled at any time from preconception to third trimester.
Prenatal Meeting 1:
This meeting is optional, but can provide you with more time to get to know your doula and some invaluable suggestions on feeling your best during your pregnancy! We usually meet in your home and it may include the following:
Discussion of self-care during pregnancy catered to your individual needs but may include topics like: comfort measures, lifestyle changes, nutrition (food and supplements), exercises, spiritual and emotional health and preparation, connecting with your unborn child etc.
Discussion on tips for gathering various resources, so you can take your time to absorbing and pondering your options.
Prenatal Meeting 2:
This meeting, and all the following ones, are usually held at your home and is can be scheduled during the first, second, or early third trimester according to your needs. In this meeting we will address the following:
Discussion of common interventions and the choices you may be faced with
Providing information and resources to research various outcomes of certain interventions so you can be well informed
Establishing clear well designed birth intentions including awareness of various potential birth scenarios
One of the core aspects of doula care is providing support for your choices and preferences. What way to better present those choices than through a well-designed birth intention! Why should you write one? What should you include? How should it be laid out? I can help you find the answers to these questions and any others you might have, while providing invaluable information on researching I then offer continuing phone and email support as you and your partner compose your intention and present it to your caregiver. The final draft of your birth intention is ultimately a communication tool to help everyone in the birthing room to be on the same page, this is important so that we can be sure to give you the support you want!
This meeting is commonly scheduled during the second or third trimester.
Prenatal Meeting 3:
You're getting closer! This meeting covers most of what doulas are known for: labour support and preparation. We will briefly go over the progression of labour, the different stages, and key "check points" to keep in mind. We will also discuss, and possibly practice, your preference of comfort measures for during labour (such as massage, positioning, aromatherapy, mantra/affirmations, visual aids, music, using water, heat, pressure, a birth ball etc). This meeting is also a good time to point out anything that you do not feel comfortable with (for instance "I can't stand it when people touch my feet, please don't do this unless I ask for it!"). It is important that you tell your doula anything that you can think of that might help or hinder your labour and birth experience so that we can cater our services to your desires, but do keep in mind that some things may change depending on your situation and needs, what you think you like now might drive you crazy during labour!
This meeting can be combined with Meeting 4, and is commonly scheduled during the third trimester.
Prenatal Meeting 4:
All the focus on the labour and birth, what about what happens after? This meeting is designed to help you prepare for caring for yourself and baby postpartum. We will go over all your best available tools to aid in smooth recovery from vaginal birth or cesarean, reduce or eliminate the "baby-blues" and postpartum depression, help establish breastfeeding, and even how to change a diaper (if you don't already know!). I can provide information and resources on wearing your baby, sleep sharing, kangaroo care, and ensuring you have a solid support team for your postpartum "baby-moon". And, of course, there will be plenty of talk about what to have on hand when baby comes home.
This meeting can be combined with Meeting 3, and is commonly scheduled during the third trimester.
Labour and Birth:
As your doula, I will be ON CALL for you for the two weeks preceding and following your due date until your baby is born. You may choose to request my presence at any time during this period should labour begin. I will be happy to join you at your home, or at the birthplace you have chosen, any time during the labour when you ask for my assistance. It is appreciated if you let me know when labour begins, even if you don't yet need my help, so that I can make accommodations to prepare for your summons. Once arriving at your side, I will ask and asses to determine the best way to support you and your partner/family physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as required, and will continue to provide individualized support throughout your labour, birth, and early postpartum period. I will take photos and/or video if you like, I will take notes for my records and yours, I will provide a liason for you and hospital staff, facilitating questions and clarifying answers, and most importantly I will stay with you, reminding you of all the ways you are doing great!
Should you be transferred to an operating room for c-section (or if you are scheduling one), your doula will not likely be able to accompany you in the room. I will stay nearby, however, at your request, for support after the surgery is finished if hospital policy allows.
Once you and baby are settled, usually an hour or so after the birth, I will return home.
This "meeting" rarely happens according to schedule, so commonly it occurs around 12:00am, hopefully during the late third trimester!
As a continuation of labour support, according to your needs, I offer an immediate follow up visit as soon as the next day. This is a great time to take advantage of your complimentary Reflexology and Cold Laser Therapy Session to facilitate a speedier recovery. We can also postpone any portion of your session to another tie postpartum as you choose. This is a great time to discuss any breastfeeding support you may need or other suggestions for your recovery and adjustment.
Once your new family is cozy at home for about a week or two, you will probably be ready to start reflecting back on your labour and integrating the details of your birth experience. This meeting is about your own special birth story. I will visit you at your house where we can talk about your memory of the experience, and how your postpartum period is going. We will all stare lovingly at the baby, ooh and aw, smile, laugh, and possibly cry. After going through such an intense experience together, it usually feels good to have a few moments of closure and debrief.
This may also be a great time to take advantage of your complimentary Reflexology or Cold Laser Therapy you may not have had opportunity to use yet.
These meetings are commonly scheduled on day 1 and then 1-3 weeks after birth (in the fourth trimester!)
If required, extra support, meetings and sessions can be arranged, though I am not a "postpartum doula", I do believe in offering continuity of care and as much help I can give.
* My clients also have access to our extensive Lending Library including a large variety of prenatal, postpartum, parenting, health and spirituality books and DVDs!
I offer a variety of packages to choose from for a variety of needs. If you have birthed before and feel you do not need as much of the educational portions of support you may wish to opt for a package that includes only 2 prenatal visits. If you feel you would benefit from more frequent visits and information and discussion on more of the basics or self care and birthing, you may wish to choose a package with 4 prenatal visits. Either option can be purchased to include a huge savings on Reflexology and Integrative Chakra Therapy sessions to be use throughout your prenatal time. I am also happy to customize for you the amount of support you need.
Services Provided in Each Package
2-4 prenatal meetings, with or without included Reflexology and/or Integrative Chakra Therapy Sessions, depending on your selection (sessions can be used exclusively for mother or split between mother and partner if desired)
Phone, text and email support
Access to Sage Traditions lending library
Free herbal consultations as needed
10% discount on Sage Traditions herbs and products
One complimentary Postpartum Reflexology and Cold Laser Therapy Session
20% discount on additional Sage Traditions Reflexology and Therapy sessions
24 hour on-call support (from a minimum of 2 weeks prior to EDB until birth)
Continuous labour support until after the birth
1-2 postpartum visits as needed (more available according to client’s wishes at a 20% discount from regular rates)
A____2 prenatal meetings ($800) B____4 prenatal meetings ($900)
C___2 prenatal meetings plus 4 - 90 minute Reflexology and/or Integrative Chakra Therapy Sessions ($1,050)
D___4 prenatal meetings plus 4 - 90 minute Reflexology and/or Integrative Chakra Therapy Sessions ($1,150)
Please contact me for a discussion on fees for doula services customized to your personal needs and requirements.
What is a doula?
source: DONA International www.dona.org
A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth. Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
A birth doula:
Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
Stays with the woman throughout the labor
Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
What are the benefits of hiring a doula?
On birth outcomes:
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience (women are 33% less likely to negatively rate their birth experience)
reduces the use of pitocin/synthetic oxytocin to augment labour (by 31%)
reduces the use of forceps or vacuum extraction (by 41%)
reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals (by 28%)
reduces the incidence of cesareans (by 26%)
For the mother:
When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression.
For the baby:
Studies have shown that babies born with doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer cases of low Apgars scores requiring NICU transfer (admissions to special care nurseries), breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.
For the partner/father:
With a doula, a father can share in the birth at the level at which he feels most comfortable. The doula’s skills and knowledge can help him to feel more relaxed. If the father wants to provide physical comfort, such as back massage and change of positions, and help his partner to stay focused during contractions, the doula can provide that guidance and make suggestions for what may work best.
Where does the word "doula" come from?
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “Woman’s servant.” Throughout history and in much of the world today, a cadre of women support a woman through labor and birth, giving back rubs and providing continuous emotional support. Like their historical counterparts, DONA International birth doulas know how to help a woman in labor feel better. However, today’s doulas are much more diverse than their predecessors. DONA International membership includes men and women from a wide range of ages and cultural backgrounds.
Does a doula make decisions on my behalf?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.
Does a doula replace nursing staff?
No. Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.