Birth and Postpartum Doulas
Most first time parents aren’t really sure what to expect when it comes to giving birth. Will it be painful? Will my birth partner know how to help me? Will I have the strength to go through with it?
Because we can’t predict how it will go – even when you’ve had a baby before – you may feel like you could use some extra support during your birth.
Postpartum, a doula can help you with the day-to-day, including helping you sort out your new routines as a family,
Doulas are so important that the World Health Organization has recommended that every birthing person should have one
What is a Doula?
The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines doula as: “A woman experienced in childbirth who provides advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during and just after childbirth”.
But at Oona, we define doula as: “The necessary birth companion for all births. The helper of the birth partner. The provider of ice chips. The squeezer of hips. The ultimate, experienced, calm through the storm birth support. The keeper of the mama’s sanity. The village after your baby is born.”
During birth, your midwife or your assigned nurse or your obstetrician is there for the health of you and your baby and will make sure that everyone is safe and sound. However, the birth doula is the one that will be helping your partner find ways to make you more comfortable. The birth doula is the quiet calm in the storm. The one that will remind you of your birth plans when you aren’t able to think clearly. The one who will guide your birth partner when are panicked and feeling helpless about seeing you in pain. The one that will suggest positions to help the baby descend and rotate, who will put lip balm on your lips when they are dry and who will remind you that THIS IS NORMAL. Birth is normal. Your body is built to do this. You can do this.
Postpartum doulas are those experts that show up when things are topsy-turvy, and help to make sense of it all. They help you with breastfeeding, as much as they can. They help you learn what is normal infant behaviour. They’re likely to help with laundry and some light meal prep. They hold the baby so you can sleep. In essence, they are bringing back the village that we all used to have.
Doula packages & pricing
Birth doula package
- 2 prenatal visits (up to 2 hours long each)
- one postpartum visit (1 hour long)
- Doula support for the duration of your labour and birth
- Registration for one person to our Online Infant CPR Class – $65 value
Overnight doula package
$280 / night
Nights from 10:00pm – 6:00am
Custom packages available – ask your doula!
Postpartum doula packages
Starting from $450
12 hours of care $450
30 hours of care $1080
Custom packages available – ask your doula!
You had me at ice chips
I'm ready for a doula
Common Questions About Toronto & Newmarket Doulas
A birth doula (also called a labour doula) is an experienced professional who provides continuous labour support, both physical and emotional to the labouring person and their birth partner. They are present for your birth. That can be a hospital birth, a home birth, a car birth (we certainly hope not, but it’s definitely happened before), or anywhere in between. Birth doulas also provide educational support before and after labour and delivery.
A postpartum doula provides support after the baby is born and is there to support the new mama. They do things like help with breastfeeding, folding laundry, preparing light meals, tidying up, holding baby so mama can sleep, and they do a whole ton of education with mama to help her know what is normal in the postpartum period. For hundreds of years, we raised children in villages. New parents would have been surrounded by women who would care for her, and allowed her the time to rest after baby was born. They would educate her on how to care for her own baby, and hold that tiny infant so that the mother could rest. Nowadays, we are expected to do this all by ourselves, and many of us realize quickly that it’s not that easy to do alone. Postpartum doulas bridge that gap, assisting after birth to help new parents adjust to their new life.
What a doula is not:
A doula is not a medical professional, and does not give medical advice, perform medical procedures or make any medical decisions on your behalf.
Doulas have a lot of experience with birth and will help you understand your options, help you ask the right questions and will help you communicate them. Doulas do not advocate FOR you; they help you advocate for yourself.
Midwives are healthcare professionals who provide expert primary care to pregnant women and their newborns. A doula provides continuous care throughout labour and childbirth.
Midwives have many responsibilities including performing medical procedures, charting and monitoring both you and the baby – but can’t always be by your side coaching you through each contraction. Doulas remain by your side and provide continuous support. If you have a long birth, you may switch midwives as they change shifts, but your doula will be with you for the duration of your birth.
You can hire a doula anytime. The founder of Oona hired her doula when she was 7 weeks pregnant! Generally, we recommend reaching out to see if our doulas have availability as early as possible – they book up very fast.
No, not at all. Doulas do not replace your birth partner. Doulas work as a team with both of you. During your labour, your doula may give your partner a break, and provide support and reassurance to them too.
That’s just fine! Doulas provide unbiased, evidence-based support. Doulas help empower you in your choices. Modern epidurals are gradual, and the medication can be controlled. Doulas will still provide physical support for comfort and positioning and continue to provide emotional support for you and your birth partner.
Doulas are not here to judge your birth plan. They are there to support you in your choices. If you would like a completely unmedicated birth, your doula will support you in that. If you decide after labour begins that you want to throw that plan out the window and get an epidural, they will support you in that too. If your plan is to get the epidural in the parking lot before ever stepping foot in the hospital, they will support you in that too. Birth is tricky and unpredictable. We are here to support you no matter what happens.
Doulas are not medical practitioners. They may be able to provide insight from their own experience at births of what they have seen before, but their job is not medical. However, any good doula will be well aware of your birth plan and will help you achieve that and will help you communicate your desires to your medical team.
We’re glad you asked! A number of studies have been done on doula support. Here are some of the numbers. Having a doula attend your birth can help:
- Reduce your labour time
- Reduce unnecessary interventions (Pitocin, cesareans, episiotomy, etc.)
- Improve your breastfeeding relationship and bonding with your baby from the very first moment that your baby is born
- Give your birthing partner confidence
Basically, we think that doulas are the bee’s knees. We know you will too.
Overnight doulas & night nannies
A night nurse (or night nanny) provides overnight infant care. A postpartum doula is trained and specialized in postpartum care for mother and baby. The doula supports the whole family during the postpartum recovery including: educating them about the challenges a postpartum family can face, changes for the mother, baby development, normal newborn behaviour, growth, feeding and safe sleeping. Some postpartum doulas also offer overnight infant care.
Not all doulas offer overnight support and some postpartum doulas only offer overnight support. It is the choice of the postpartum doula to work overnights. At Oona, we have several amazing doulas who offer overnight services. It’s best to inquire early though, as they book up quickly.
The top benefit is that the family can get a good night sleep (even if mom is breastfeeding through the night). When well rested, there is a reduced risk of postpartum emotional challenges, like depression and anxiety. It also helps instill healthy sleep habits for mom and baby.
Most overnight postpartum doulas work 8 hour shifts from 10 pm-6 am. You can discuss the details with your doula if you would prefer a different schedule.
Yes! If you are breastfeeding, then the doula will bring the baby to you when he or she wakes up and help you with the feeding, if needed. When the baby is finished feeding, the doula will take the baby, burp if necessary, change the diaper and get the baby back to sleep.
Selecting a doula is a very personal choice. Here at Oona in Toronto and Newmarket, we have a group of professionally-trained doulas who are ready to support you. We host monthly free doula info nights where you’ll have the opportunity to meet some of our doulas in Toronto and Newmarket, learn more about doula care and ask any questions. With our diverse team, you’ll be sure to find the right doula for you. Please note that we are affiliated with doulas, but once you choose a doula, your contract is between you and your doula, not between you and Oona. We provide a match-making service to help you find your dream doula.
Still need more information?
Join us at one of our Free Doula Info nights. Meet some
of our doulas, get your questions answered, and meet
other parents that are due around the same time as you.
Ok, I'm convinced. Find me a doula!
Fill out the form below to be matched with a doula near you. Our Community Coordinator will get in touch with you within 24 hours after receiving your inquiry.
(Oona was previously called West End Mamas)
Highly recommend Emily at West End Mamas! I came here during my pregnancy for pelvic floor physiotherapy and came back for postpartum care as well. Emily is really great to... read more
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West End Mamas was a second home for me during my pregnancy and post. In particular, I always looked forward to seeing Emily for my pelvic floor physio appoints... read more
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West End Mamas consistently provides amazing service. Every practitioner I’ve seen for massage, chiro, and physio is great. You can’t go wrong no matter what your need is.... read more
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