What is the difference between a midwife & a doula?
A midwife is called a "primary health care provider" - this means she is responsible for the clinical tasks like taking blood pressure, monitoring baby's heart rate, and administering medications if needed. She is responsible for charting, preparing the birth equipment (both in a hospital and at home), and many more tasks.
Although midwives are more familiar with natural birth than obstetricians, since they are both taking on that same role of primary health care provider, they aren't able to stay with you 100% to rub your back, help you get into comfortable positions, and they can't support you in early labour (which can last 10 or more hours). This is what a doula does. She is your constant support. She can support you from the moment you need support until a few hours after your baby is born.
A doula does hip squeezes through contractions, counterpressure on your back, will get you drinks or food, or help you process information (or get more information) as needed.
What is a doula?
A doula is a person who has been trained in supporting birth. Her role is an ancient one - women and neighbours used to attend each other in childbirth.
She provides emotional, physical, and spiritual support without shift changes.
Do I have a natural birth with a doula?
A doula is there to support your birth vision, no matter if that is medicated, natural, waterbirth, a caesarean birth. Your doula can help you become familiar with the different options and help you meet your unique needs in each situation.
A doula doesn't push her values on you but helps you map out yours.
Can I have a doula at a homebirth?
Yes! A doula is a valuable asset to your planned homebirth. She can help you not only work with your body but also take care of practical tasks like preparing the birth pool or your bed with the protective sheets, etc.
Doulas and midwives work well together to support you. The midwife will take care of the clinical tasks while your doula will be by your side throughout the labour. The midwife at a homebirth has to do additional tasks like setting up birth equipment, charting, calling for backup, and much more. This means she will not be able to give you her undivided attention or help you and your partner.
Why the name Birth Goddess?
When I first started out as a childbirth educator and doula, I was plagued with the idea of naming my business. For a whole month, I couldn't come up with any other name except for "birth goddess". I broke down and used it, trusting my gut.
It took some time for me to recognize that I want to help you discover your own inner birth goddess. Your birth goddess is strong, intuitive, stands up for what she believes in and isn't pushed around. She is also wise, patient, and takes the time to become educated.
What is your birth philosophy?
My ultimate goal is that you have informed choice throughout your pregnancy, birth, and after your baby arrives. I help you find the resources and facilitate the difficult conversations because you are the decision-maker.
The way you birth is one that will stay with you forever. I want you to remember it as something wonderful, where you felt in control, and where you were lovingly supported.
Are doulas covered by OHIP?
No. Doulas are not covered by provincial health insurance.
Are doulas covered by extended health insurance?
Some insurance companies do cover (or partially cover) doula services by certified doulas. The best thing to do is to call your insurance company to ask.
Can I have a doula if I plan to birth in the hospital?
Our Toronto area hospitals are very familar with doulas - we are there probably every day!
When a woman brings her doula, it can help the nursing team know that she is going to have support and can worry about her less. Our nurses look after 4 or 5 birthing women sometimes, so it isn't always possible to have her in the room for more than a few minutes out of every hour until you get to the pushing stage.
A doula stays with you to help you with coping techniques, help you facilitate discussions about your care with the nurses and doctors, and can help you and your partner be reassured that you are doing well and things are normal.
Which hospitals do you support?
We support births at the following local hospitals:
- Mount Sinai Hospital (Mt Sinai)
- St Joseph's Health Centre (St Joe's)
- St Michael's Hospital (St Mike's)
- Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH)
- North York General Hospital (NYGH)
- Sunnybrook Hospital
- William Osler Hospital
- York Central Hospital
- Southlake Hospital
- Markham-Stouffville Hospital
- Ajax-Pickering Hospital
- Trillium Health Centre
- Etobicoke General Hospital
- Scarborough Hospital