11008829_896924197035677_7395820673369673552_nMetro Area Mom Assistance: The Doula Collective of NL Helps Parents with “Pregnancy, Labour, and New Baby Support” | Article by Jane Bannister

Imagine being pregnant for the first time… wondering about childbirth and puzzling about how you are going to manage everything while taking care of a newborn. The Doula Collective of Newfoundland and Labrador can help. They are a group of women trained in pregnancy, labour and new baby support.

Doulas provide emotional, physical, and practical support around labour and newborn care. There are two types of doulas: birth and postpartum. Birth doulas work with mothers during pregnancy, support her during her birth experience, and provide postpartum follow up. A postpartum doula visits a new family on a regular schedule to help ease the transition into parenthood. Assistance with baby care, breastfeeding, and light household tasks may be part of the support package, but neither type of doula plays a medical role at any time. Both kinds of doulas help families make the best decisions possible without judgement or bias.

Doulas are proven to be a help during labour and postpartum. Continuous labour support can result in a shorter labour, fewer complications, reduced use of medications, and heightened feelings of empowerment and success. Doulas don’t take the place of the father or partner in the delivery room but rather work to include them when they might otherwise feel overwhelmed. Doula support when home with a new baby can help parents have more success with breastfeeding, less postpartum depression, and greater confidence overall.

These days, more and more families are recognizing the worth of having support during childbirth and afterwards. “We are getting more enquiries than we are able to meet at the moment,” states Sarah Minty, Chair of the Doula Collective. “Mothers are increasingly interested in professional doula support to augment their existing support team.”

Local birth doulas charge between $300 and $800, depending on experience and training. Postpartum doulas charge about $25/hour. A common misconception is that there are doulas in training that offer their services for free. Jillian Hand, Eastern Canada Director for DONA International clarifies, “Doulas interested in pursuing certification do need to attend a minimum number of births to undergo evaluation but they are under no obligation to offer their services free of charge.”

In fact, in most cases, it would cost the doulas directly out of pocket to do so. Professional doulas have invested in training and the number of doulas pursuing a full-time career in birth and postpartum support is rising in the international picture. This is a pattern that we can expect to see here as well as we train more doulas (a birth doula training session is planned for early May).

“There are still options for families that would like to hire a doula but cannot afford one,” explains Minty, “The need for affordable care that does not come at the cost of the birth support professional was the catalyst for the development of the Doula Support Subsidy Program (DSSP). This program will offer financial assistance to families in need and we are very excited to launch it as a celebration of International Doula Month in May!” In fact, May will be a busy month with a birth doula training session as well as the DSSP launch and fundraiser.

Read more at doulacollectivenl.ca or on its facebook page.