Frequently Asked Questions

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Birth and Postpartum Doula

What is a Doula?

A doula is a labour support person who:

  • Provides ongoing emotional and physical support during pregnancy, labour and after childbirth
  • Helps pregnant women and their partners prepare and plan for birth and parenthood
  • Offers non-judgemental, compassionate, and objective care without hidden agendas
  • Has extensive knowledge about the physiological and emotional changes that occur during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period
  • Offers support and information to partners
  • Helps to empower women to find their inner voice and advocate for their needs

A doula is not:

  • Someone who provides medical intervention or clinical tasks
  • Someone who makes any decisions for you or influences you in one direction or another
  • Speaks to medical staff on your behalf

Does continuous support help?

Recent reviews show that women who HAVE continuous support during labour (such as a doula) were:

  • 28% less likely to have a caesarean section
  • 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labour
  • 9% less likely to use any pain medication
  • 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively

Reviews found that in comparison, women who did NOT have continuous support were more likely to:

  • have an epidural
  • use other types of pain medications
  • give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
  • give birth by cesarean
  • have a baby with a low 5-minute Apgar score
  • report dissatisfaction or a negative rating of their experience

Does a Doula replace my partner?

No. The doula’s role is to support both the mother and her partner. The doula would support the partner in becoming involved in the birth to whatever capacity he/she feels comfortable.

Does a doula support natural labour/birth only?

No. A doula will support whatever labour and birth the mother wishes. A professional doula will never try to push their own agenda onto their clients.

What do postpartum doluas 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.

What does postpartum support provide?

Research has shown that having postpartum support provides:

For the Mother

  • Easier postpartum adjustment
  • Greater breastfeeding success
  • Less postpartum depression

For the Family

  • Increased competence in all aspects of newborn care
  • Improved overall experience for the partner
Taken from, The Postpartum Doula’s Role in Maternity Care Position Paper, DONA (2002)

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 hours can I expect a doula to work with my famly?

Some doulas work fulltime, with 9 to 5 shifts. Others work three to five hour shifts during the day, or after school shifts until Dad gets home.  Some doulas work evenings from around 6pm until bedtime, 9 or 10pm, and some work overnight.  Some doulas work every day, some work one or more shifts per week.

What is the difference between postpartum doula and a baby nurse?

The role of  postpartum doula is to help a woman through her postpartum period and to nurture the family.  Unlike a baby nurse, a doula’s focus is not solely on the baby, but on fostering independence for the entire family.  The doula is as available to the father and older children as to the mother and the baby.  Treating the family as a unit that is connected and always changing enables doulas to do their job : nurture the family.

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.

Adapted from : Nurturing the Family: The Guide for Postpartum Doulas by Jacqueline Kelleher (Xlibris Corporation 2002)

Life Coaching

What is a Life Coach?

A life coach:

  • Provides objective assessment and observations that foster the individual’s or team’s self-awareness and awareness of others
  • Listens closely to fully understand the individual’s or team’s circumstances
  • Acts as a sounding board in exploring possibilities and implementing thoughtful planning and decision making
  • Champions opportunities and potential, encouraging stretch and challenge commensurate with personal strengths and aspirations
  • Fosters shifts in thinking that reveal fresh perspectives,
  • Challenges blind spots to illuminate new possibilities and support the creation of alternative scenarios
  • Maintains professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality, and adheres to the coaching profession’s code of ethics.

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

A life coach is not:

  • A therapist
  • A counsellor
  • A lawyer (no legal advice can be given)

What are the benefits of a life coach?

Individuals who have received life coaching show:

  • 80% increase in self confidence
  • 73% increase in relationship satisfaction
  • 67% increase in life/work balance

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