What is a doula?

Heritage Birth Services doulas are trained professionals that provides 100% unbiased, nonjudgemental physical, emotional, and educational support during pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum period.

What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?

A midwife is a medical professional that can take the role of a primary medical care provider. A midwife's main concern will always be the physical heath and well-being of you and your baby. Doulas do not provide any medical care or medical advice, they specialize in physical, emotional, and educational support. At Heritage Birth Services, we love working with our local Edmonton and area midwives!

Where do Heritage Birth doulas attend births?

Heritage Birth Doulas attend births at the following Edmonton and surrounding area hospitals:

  • Royal Alexandra Hospital
  • Sturgeon Community Hospital
  • Misericordia Community Hospital
  • Grey Nuns Community Hospital
  • Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital
  • St. Mary's Hospital in Camrose
  • Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre

We also attend births at the Lucina Birth and Family Wellness Centre, and will attend home births with a Registered Midwife present. We will support you in the birth of your baby wherever you feel most comfortable, and where you have a team of care providers that are best suited to your medical needs.

What is your birth philosophy?

Heritage Birth Services supports all birth philosophies equally; whatever your philosophy, you have our guaranteed support. Whether you want an intervention-free birth, or are eager for an epidural; whether you're scheduling a cesarean section, or considering an induction—we offer 100% non-judgemental support!

Will a doula replace my partner?

Absolutely not! Doulas and partners make a great team! We work together to give you the highest quality of support possible. We are experts in birth—but your partner is an expert in you—working together guarantees you are well supported and taken care of. We are also there to offer your partner some relief: if they would like to grab something to eat, or step out for some fresh air—labour can be a long process! Your doula is there to make it as memorable and easy as possible for you and your partner.

Can I have a doula if I want an epidural?

Doulas can be extremely helpful in supporting an epidural-assisted birth. We are trained in knowing the best positions to keep your labour progressing smoothly with an epidural, and are happy to offer our continued support if you should choose one in the middle of your labour.

Is a doula beneficial if I'm having a cesarean birth?

A doula can be extremely beneficial if you're planning a cesarean birth. We are well-versed in understanding the procedure and are happy to walk you through it as many times as you need so that you go into your birth confidently! In the event your partner is unable to be in the operating room with you, your doula can be there to support you and help calm your nerves. Helping you with breastfeeding, helping you get settled in your room, and postpartum support in aiding your quick recovery are all things you will experience from your doula in the event of a scheduled cesarean, or one deemed necessary.

Will a doula be my advocate?

At Heritage Birth Services we don't believe in speaking for our clients, but rather in providing un-biased, nonjudgemental information, education and support so that our clients feel comfortable and confident in advocating for themselves.

Will my doula take pictures of my labour and delivery or write my birth story?

At Heritage Birth Services our number one priority is making sure you feel supported physically and emotionally! If time and circumstance allows, we are happy to take photos of you and your partner as you labour to birth your baby. Because of liability purposes, and because we are not medical professionals, we will not take notes during your birth

Why should I pay a high fee if I can get a student or volunteer doula?

At Heritage Birth Services, we believe in investing in the education of our doulas—our doulas have trained and worked hard, taken additional courses, all the while striving to be the best support for our clients. Our fee ensures that we are compensated fairly for our time and energy so that you receive the highest quality of support with out sacrificing the wellbeing of our families.

What if I just want to ask a doula questions for a hour or two?

You can book our services à la carte, including a birth planning session where we can go over, in detail, any information you are looking to obtain; we can then help you to create a birth plan that best suits your needs. This service is contracted at $50/hour.

Are there any stats or studies that show that doulas really help?

Taken from Kennel, Klaus and Kennel, Mothering the Mother (1993):

50% reduction in cesarean rate
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
30% reduction in pain medication use
40% reduction in forceps delivery
40% reduction in oxytocin (pitocin) use

More recently: from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Obstetric Care Consensus (March 2014, Reaffirmed 2016):

Continuous Labor and Delivery Support
Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula. A Cochrane meta-analysis of 12 trials and more than 15,000 women demonstrated that the presence of continuous one-on-one support during labor and delivery was associated with improved patient satisfaction and a statistically significant reduction in the rate of cesarean delivery (111). Given that there are no associated measurable harms, this resource is probably underutilized.

What is a shared call schedule? Why do you have one?

A shared call schedule is our way of assuring a stranger will never attend your birth and that you will always be receiving the highest quality of care. Each client receives a team of two doulas who will both be on call for you from the moment your contract is signed. You will also receive a calendar with the on-call schedule so you know who to call whenever you have a question.