Why Hire a Doula?

Here at Heart and Wisdom birth, we view labour and birth as a natural process and trust in the wisdom of a woman's body and in the process of birth. Doulas understand the physiology of labour and birth and the physical and emotional needs of the labouring woman. We also understand the many ways a woman can give birth to her baby and we support her journey however it may unfold. We are passionate about ensuring that parents-to-be feel as prepared and confident as they can be.

Research studies have shown there are many positive benefits when a doula attends to women during labour and birth (Check out this article for a list of references http://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/).

Women who have the continuous support of a doula (results from several major studies):
  • Are more likely to perceive and experience their births as positive, when compared to women who do not have a doula.
  • Have a reduced need for pain medication.
  • Have a reduced need for medical interventions, such as the use of forceps, vacuum or cesarean sections.
  • Have shorter labours, on average.
  • Have partners who feel better supported and informed during the birth process.
  • Have increased rates of breastfeeding.
  • Felt they were coping well with motherhood when interviewed at 6 weeks postpartum.
So, that's what the statistics and research studies say. Which is great, but many times, women want to know what would be different for them if they had a doula or why hiring a doula would be beneficial to them in particular. I wish we had a magic crystal ball to answer that question for you! But the best we can do is to share with you what we know and have personally experienced as well as share some testimonials of our previous clients.

What We've Learned About Doula Support

You can absolutely begin labour, go to the hospital, and birth your baby without a doula. In fact, that is what the majority of women end up doing. But the majority of new parents end up feeling lost, overwhelmed and wish they had prepared more. You see, our culture has somehow greatly minimized the importance of support and shortened the amount of time we spend on preparation when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth.

Let me ask you this?

Would you say that birthing a baby and becoming a parent (where you are now responsible and expected to raise this little new being) is a big deal?

Would you say it is more important than planning a wedding? Training for a marathon? Buying a car? Buying a stroller? I'd say not. Pregnancy and parenthood is by far a bigger deal when you really think about it. Even if you've done it before. Every pregnancy and labour is different and unique in it's own ways.

Yet, people spend significantly more time preparing for all those things above, than for learning about pregnancy, childbirth, becoming informed about the care and options, learning techniques for coping through labour, preparing for breastfeeding, learning about newborn care, learning about the essentials of parenting, building coping skills for parenting, etc, etc.

I think maybe it's because it's too overwhelming.

It may be easier to say, "Well, I won't be alone, the medical staff will help me".

And yes, it is true, they do help. They have a very important job. They are in charge of you and your baby's physical well-being and safety. But time and time again, I have heard medical care providers express that they wish they had more time to get to know their patients, and to understand their emotional and mental well-being needs.

Plus, care providers are going to expect you, as the parents, to make decisions. They make recommendations, but in the end, the ball still ends up in your court. It is unfair to expect them to be solely responsible for your experience. And it is unfair to you to enter this experience without being prepared and aware--because in the end, don't you want to be able to feel confident about your decisions? And being prepared requires that you start early on...certainly not the day labour begins!

{Read more about making decisions HERE}.

If you were going to run a marathon would you show up the day of and expect to know what to do and how to get through it? Would you show up to a play-off game, having avoided preparation and rely on your coaches or team players to do the preparation, training and decision-making for you?

If you were going to climb Mt. Everest, would you show up and expect the sherpa to train you and teach you everything the day of the big event?

I don't think so.

When we want to navigate an upcoming event in our life that is super important and a once in a lifetime kind of deal...we NEED to take the reins into our own hands. We NEED to seek out and build a support and resource network that will guide us and motivate us to do our own research, our own preparation and that will help us regain clarity when unexpected things may come up.

Hiring a doula is part of building that network and taking the first step to becoming active participants in your own journey.

Not only will we as doulas help with the logistical, practical things...like prenatal preparation and suggesting books and other learning materials. Here at Heart And Wisdom Birth we will help you with the things our culture has left to the sidelines, but that we believe are actually extremely important:
  • Being informed and understanding informed decision making and how to navigate birth and parenting with evidence-based information.
  • Trusting your intuition...navigating birth and parenting with the choices and options that are right for you and your family.
  • Helping our clients delve deeper than just prenatal prep classes to be ready for a well-rounded, deeper understanding of pregnancy, birth and parenthood. New parents often get smacked by the realities of labour and parenting. We know that when you are aware of the many whats the journey may hold, you are better able to deal with and overcome the parts of this journey that could be challenging.
  • Encouragement to dig deep and find your inner birthing goddess strength! When you make decisions from a place of your own deep-rooted power, you do not waver or feel distraught. We love seeing our clients find their empowering moments. It is a common misconception to believe that a doula empowers mothers and fathers. Nuh-uh. They find their own empowerment on their own journey! They are able to find this empowerment more readily if they have support and someone who stands by them. We CAN do that!

As doulas, we are part of your preparation and support network. We guide, listen, support, hold the space for your journey. We stand by you. We are witnesses to your journey.

"Kat was an absolutely amazing support for the birth of our second baby! During my last weeks of pregnancy, whether it was during one of our meetings, via text or phone chats, she was always very supportive, empathetic, compassionate and honest. This was my second baby and so my needs for this birth were a little different from my first. My needs, concerns and fears were much more specific and I needed someone who could be there for me, talk and support me through them. She is very knowledgeable. She always tells the truth and I really appreciated that from her. She wholeheartedly believes that a mother should be free to make intuitive decisions based on how she feels and what she knows. Whenever we talked prior to my birth, I was always left feeling excited, supported and relaxed, this was so important to me. My labor was slow and steady, for the most part. She managed to turn my dull hospital room into a warm, cozy and nurturing environment. We dimmed the lights, we had music playing, and both her and my husband massaged my hands, back and feet with some delicious essential oils. We talked, laughed and went for lots of walks. I requested to have very minimal checks from the medical staff and when they did come into our room, she was so wonderful at keeping my mind centered. This part was especially difficult for me and I can say without a doubt that having Kat by my side made a huge difference. The medical staff was very nice, but their presence and questions were real distractions for me. Even more than I had anticipated, and they were interfering with my process and my groove, so Kat’s words and loving energy were so very important. I know that the overall outcome would have probably been quite different had she not been there for us. When things picked up, it was very intense, very quickly. All I can say is that she did everything she needed to do for me, just right! I remember her stroking my hair during transition and she kept whispering to just trust my body, breathe and to push when I felt the urge. My delivery was absolutely perfect and so peaceful! It was just like I had imagined it. She did all that, plus she even grabbed my phone and took some amazing photos! Kat was simply wonderful and I would (and I do!) highly recommend her to any parents looking for a Doula. I’ve had a Doula for both of my powerful births and I think woman need the presence of another woman, who she trusts with her whole heart, when she gives birth. For me, her loving energy and support had immeasurable benefits and made the overall experience that much more magical." -Chantal (Thea’s Mama)
"Kat was a wonderful support throughout pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. She has an aura about her that is very calming and reassuring. That was the first thing I noticed when meeting her. I instantly felt at ease. I was concerned that birth had become over-medicalized. I wanted to be informed of my choices and options during labour and birth - but she offered so much more. We met several times throughout my pregnancy. She offered many resources and books to help me prepare for birth and beyond. She is very knowledgeable and was always able to answer my questions. I think what I liked the most about working with Kat was that she was a constant throughout the entire process. Upon finding out I was pregnant, I was sent to a pregnancy clinic where I met with a different Doctor every visit. There was no continuity of care. Those Doctors didn’t know me, we didn’t have a connection. As it was my first pregnancy, I felt overwhelmed and anxious. After meeting with Kat that changed. I was in correspondence with her throughout my pregnancy. She helped prepare me for birth and when it came time, she was there by my side. It was wonderful having someone there who I knew and trusted. My husband probably appreciated her more than I did during labour and birth. He had no idea what to do. She also met with me post-partum. I remember a couple days after birth I was having trouble breastfeeding and I was at my breaking point. Kat came over and helped me through it. Having Kat as my doula was the best decision I could have made. I had a wonderful birth and I attribute that to the care and support I received from her. My mind and body were prepared for it. I think that’s why it went so quickly and smoothly. Most importantly, she taught me to trust my instincts, something that has served me well as a first time mom." -Jen
In a nutshell, having a doula is good for women, their partners and their babies. The continuous support of a doula ensures a mother is never alone, is always supported, and that the mother and her partner have all they need to feel prepared, informed and confident during childbirth. A doula is there for you. Your doula will support you, encourage you, provide you with resources and information, will be there when you need to talk to someone, to ask questions, to get reassurance or to just vent! In labour, a doula will help you stay focused, comfortable, informed and as relaxed as possible so you can focus on birthing your beautiful baby.

For more info and other learning material on doulas and how you can prepare for childbirth please check out these websites:

Evidence Based Birth
Lamaze International