Frequently asked Questions


What is a doula?

Birthside doulas are professionals trained in physical comfort measures and emotional support during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. We are aware of current hospital policies and up-to-date with current research and information on a large array of topics that may be of interest to expecting and new families. We help you source reliable information, if and when you need it, in an unbiased and non-judgemental way. We have no agenda for your birth and parenting journey and support you in any and all decisions you choose to make. We are not medical professionals – we do not perform clinical tasks, diagnose conditions, or offer medical advice. We aim to work with your health care provider and your existing support team to give you the most exceptional care possible as you make this journey that is unique to you! (See the blog post – How do you dou-la?)

Aren’t doulas and midwives basically the same thing?

Birth doulas and midwives play very different but complementary roles during childbirth. Midwives are trained to provide clinical care to the birthing parent and the baby and the health of both are their top most responsibility. Doulas do not play any kind of medical role and are experts in physical comfort measures and emotional support. Without clinical responsibilities, they are able to focus on the emotional well-being of their clients. While doulas can support homebirths attended by midwives, we also support hospital birth of all types!

Will my partner feel replaced by a doula?

The role of the partner is very important both in labour and in the postpartum period but it can be an enormous amount of pressure for one person to be all things! A doula can help support the partner supporting the birthing parent. How that unfolds is unique to each family. A doula’s aim is to fill in the gaps in the existing support network, not to take over. This can mean an extra pair of hands, the ability to take a break for self-care or communicating with loved ones, or gentle guidance and reassurance.

Can my doula be my voice in the hospital?

No, we cannot. What we can do is help facilitate communication between you and your caregivers. Your voice is your own and you have the power to use it! Will my doula offer advice? Similarly, doulas do not offer advice or their own opinions when you have decisions to make. We focus on helping you get the unbiased and evidence-based information that you need in order to make the decisions that are right for your family. No judgement.

What’s the difference between a postpartum doula and a nanny?

Baby nannies typically have one main duty – to take care of the baby. Postpartum doulas have a spectrum of possible tasks that can be determined by you, to meet your individual needs. Postpartum doula support can include any of the following:

  • Emotional support as you adjust to new family dynamics
  • Taking care of light household duties while you bond with your baby
  • Taking care of baby while you sleep, bathe or whatever else you need to do to take care of you!
  • Preparing snacks and light meals
  • Accompanying  you and your baby on errands
  • Help with newborn care, feeding and sleeping
  • Answering questions about your own recovery and referring to professionals as necessary

A postpartum doula is focused on the bigger picture and takes into account how the whole family is doing!

I’m really not the type to hire a doula.

And what type is that? Doulas support. The end.
It doesn’t matter if you are opting for a medicated birth, a natural birth or a planned caesarean birth. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to breastfeed or bottle feed. It doesn’t matter what parenting style you embrace. We support you. We are with you.

Sarah is a DONA certified birth doula and a pre-certified ProDoula postpartum doula.

She has completed Dancing for Birth™ Instructor training, Pregnancy and Infant Loss training, and advanced doula training workshops with Melissa Cowl, Penny Simkin, ProDoula and Spinning Babies. She currently lives in Toronto with her lovely partner and two hilarious children.

416 770 3523 mobile
sarah (at) birthside.ca