What is a Doula?
A doula is someone who provides non-medical support to women and their families during labour and childbirth, and also the postpartum period.
Certified Doulas are trained to provide emotional, physical and informational support pertaining to pregnancy, labour, birth, and postpartum health for mothers and their infants and families.
What things are Doulas not going to do during labour and birth?
They do not perform clinical tasks such as fetal heart checks, blood pressure, vaginal exams and others.
They do not speak to care providers or hospital staff on your behalf. They may help you clarify the directions or recommendations of others.
They do not make decisions for you. They may help you to gain time and information necessary to make an informed decision.
What is the difference between a Midwife and a Doula?
A Midwife is a medical professional who is legally licensed to practice clinical Midwifery. S/he is certified and held accountable to Standards of Practice for clinical care of her/his clients in pregnancy and postpartum.
A Doula is not a medical professional, and performs no clinical duties. Certified Doulas also follow Standards of Practice for emotional, and physical care of female clients from pregnancy through the postnatal period. A Doula works for her client, and within the Standards of Practice, she is qualified to give a wide range of support services such as massage, touch, verbal encouragement, coaching, movement, relaxation, breastfeeding support, and more.
What might Doula Services look like?
A Doula will meet with you pre-natally at least once after you have made an agreement to hire her. She will review your Birth Plan with you and seek to assist you to fill any gaps in your knowledge about Birth and immediate postpartum.
When labour begins, call the doula and she will offer information and attend to your emotional and physical comfort needs in your home and/or the hospital through your entire labour and delivery. The doula, due to her prior training and experience may also be able to help you decide when it is a good time to go to the hospital or call your health care provider.
The doula also provides support to your other birth support people through the labour and delivery. During the labour and delivery the doula will remain with you as much as you require. She will help with comfort measures and can encourage communication with the health care team. Your Doula answers to you, her client.
Once your baby is born the doula usually allows the parents to bond with their new baby and then remains for 1-3 hours postpartum to assist with initial breastfeeding (if you are planning on breastfeeding), clean up, cooking and more. When your baby is 1-2 weeks old, the doula comes to your home to make sure feeding is going well, talk about your birth experience and ensure that you are aware of community resources that may be helpful.
Once hired, a doula is usually available by phone and/or e-mail for any questions and support up to two weeks post partum. A doula should ensure adequate back up in the rare case she can not attend.
My partner/sister/mother/friend will be supporting me during the birth, so why would I want a Doula?
A doula may enhance the experience for all others attending your birth by providing a calm, practised presence which assists everyone to participate to the level of their comfort. The doula is to provide support for your desired birth and this includes all members of your support team. Many partners feel the doula encouraged them to participate more than they would have without a doula, as she could show them comfort measures that could work at the various stages of labour that they would never have known otherwise.
What evidence is there that the presence of a Doula can increase the likelihood of positive birth outcomes for women?
Women report greater emotional satisfaction with their birth experiences when a doula was continuously present during labour and delivery and immediate postpartum. The presence of a doula has also been linked clinically to:
- a reduction in the incidence of postpartum depression;
- shorter labors with fewer complications;
- reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
- reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
- reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans
What is Yoga?
Yoga refers to integration or union of spirit with body and mind. It is a holistic practice based on teachings originating in India through which humans can realize and act from a place of awareness of what is larger than themselves, with wholeness and compassion.
How is Kundalini Yoga different from other forms of Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is called the yoga of awareness because it utilizes breath, posture/movement, sound & meditation (inner focus, directed attention) to achieve states of elevated consciousness/personal integration/peace.
What is Parent & Child Yoga?
What does it mean to be a parent today in society? Gracefully superhuman, perhaps! Bending over backwards to be everything to everyone, parents increasingly seek self-care that is flexible, spiritual and wide-ranging – maybe a bit more than a workout. Parents want social and physical outlets to learn how to care for themselves first – this wakes us up to our giving qualities so we generate more family sunshine. Parenting not only lights up life for our little ones, it offers to bring the light of consciousness shining into our own selves.
Parent & Child Yoga is a time for inward focus, fun, physical and emotional growth and development, and a realm in which to discover our new parent learning through a social mirror. In my Parent & Child yoga classes the focus is on health of the parent from early postpartum onward. Many elements in the experience do integrate babies and benefit them as well – infants and children to age 3 are at times incorporated into the class. Breastfeeding throughout is common, and toddlers are encouraged to interact with each other and are given soft toys and space. Some classes include a childminder so that toddlers can have some social time near but not on their parents (!)
Children’s yoga classes differ since they are designed to engage children’s imaginations as a way into their bodies and social growth as well; they are for ages 3 and up.
Can Yoga help give me tools to cope differently with depression and anxiety?
Stress is a familiar experience among humans and animals. Human nervous systems can pattern themselves to poorly cope with stressors. Extended poor stress response systems lead to increasing levels of anxiety and experiences of depression – a serious illness.
Kundalini Yoga technology targets our nervous systems: both the sympathetic (the “go” response) and parasympathetic (the “rest” response), as well as the endocrine system (“moods and metabolism” responses).
Kundalini yoga increases the production of new brain cells (neurons), creates robust circulation, enhances immune system functions and regulates breathing and metabolism.
Many yoga practitioners report a sense of wellbeing and ability to cope with even the most significant stress in their lives, and they attribute the depth of their experience to their yoga practice. ~