“When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change” – Marie Mongan
In childbirth, your midwife or physician’s responsibility is to ensure a safe delivery for mother and child.
It is the role of the birth doula to provide parents-to-be with professional knowledge and support borne of experience throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and post-partum; so as a family you can have a secure, comfortable, positive birth experience and transition to parenthood.
How can having a doula improve my birth experience?
In published research, use of doula support was confirmed to:
- Reduce duration of labour
- Reduce need for use of pain-relief medications
- Reduce number of cesarean (c-section) deliveries
- Reduce number of operative vaginal deliveries (e.g., use of forceps or vacuum)
- Reduce number of low-birth weight babies (by four times)
- Reduce likelihood of birth complications involving mother or child (by two times)
- Improve success in breastfeeding
- Increase the mother’s self-esteem (compared to women who birthed without the assistance of a doula)
- Increase a mother’s regard for, and ability to care for her baby
- Decrease rates of post-partum depression
- Increase the personal involvement of the father at the labour
- Result in an overall more positive birth experience (100% of women participating in the study rated their experience with the doula positively)
The benefits of having the aid of a doula at a birth are so pronounced, it prompted one researcher to conclude:
“If a Doula were a drug, it would be malpractice not to use it.” – John Kennell, MD
Why a naturopathic birth doula?
Naturopathic doctors have training far beyond that of a traditional birth doula (a 16-hour course primarily focused on labour support measures).
A naturopathic doctor’s education includes over 5700 hours of training, including obstetrical and pediatric training, and a basic medical science education similar to that of a conventional medical doctor.
The skill-set of a naturopathic birth doula allows for the doulas role to be expanded from only labour support to optimization of pre-natal health of the mother and child. Naturopathic doctors are the most qualified healthcare professionals in healthy lifestyle, preventative care and safe, effective use of natural medicines. If you wish, a naturopathic birth doula can offer you guidance and support using:
- Diet and nutritional supplementation
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Homeopathic medicines
- Relaxation (meditation) training
Are naturopathic birth doulas opposed to use of epidural anesthesia, cesarean surgery (c-section), formula feeding or other “non-natural” procedures or approaches?
Although, as naturopathic doctors we favour the use of natural approaches, at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine the guiding principles of our decision-making process is always respect for your choices and boundaries, and to advise you based on the most current available medical evidence and our experience.
At all points throughout your pregnancy, labour and birth we will offer you unbiased information and complete support in whichever of your options you decide to use.
Qualified and Experienced
Du La, ND, Acupuncturist and Jessica Sangiuliano, ND have extensive experience in pregnancy, labour, birth and post-partum support. The values and goals of all the naturopathic birth doulas at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine are to:
- Respect the values and boundaries of parents-to-be
- Work cooperatively with all members on your healthcare team
- Offer guidance to fathers and partners to be able to participate and support in the most effective ways possible
- Offer you the most accurate, unbiased information available on natural versus conventional treatment options and approaches
- Support you in all the ways necessary to ensure you have the most comfortable, healthiest, natural (if you so desire) and joyful birth you can
Every birth doula at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine is a licensed naturopathic doctor. Between them, they have experience in the entire range of potential birth scenarios, including natural, water, cesarean, VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), home and hospital births; and births attended by midwives, family physicians and obstetricians.
Naturopathic Birth Doula Services at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
After you have met your naturopathic birth doula, and are certain you have a good fit, our naturopathic birth doula service includes:
- 2 x 60-minute pre-natal appointments to create your birth plan and ensure you have all the knowledge you need to feel confident for your “big day”
- Attendance and support at time of birth: from the time you need us until you and your baby are comfortable, and your baby has begun breastfeeding
- 1-2 x 60-minute post-natal appointments to assess your baby’s and your health, offer guidance for breastfeeding and sleeping, and ensure you are comfortably and confidently transitioning into your new role as a parent (or parent to more children)
- A back-up naturopathic birth doula, so you can be confident that you will have high-quality support at your birth
- Access to our professional dispensary for access to a professionally selected collection of high-quality nutritional supplements and botanical (herbal) medicines
- Access to our extensive online patient library for on-going informational support
Are naturopathic birth doula services covered by O.H.I.P.?
O.H.I.P. does not pay for doula services, but as a government-regulated healthcare profession, services offered by naturopathic doctors, including naturopathic Birth Doula services, are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Is my naturopathic birth doula available to care for my baby and me after the birth?
Of course. As naturopathic doctors, all our naturopathic birth doulas offer regular office hours and are happy to transition from “birth support”, to on-going health support through childhood and beyond.
Would you like to meet to learn more?
Learn more about our Naturopathic Birth Doula program here.
Complementary, 15 to 30-minute “meet and greet” appointments are available so you can be confident of a good “fit” exists between you and the naturopathic birth doula you select to attend and support you through the birth process.
McGrath SK, Kennell JH. A randomized controlled trial of continuous labor support for middle-class couples: effect on cesarean delivery rates. Birth. 2008 Jun;35(2):92-7.
Gruber KJ, Cupito SH, Dobson CF. Impact of doulas on healthy birth outcomes. J J Perinat Educ. 2013 Winter;22(1):49-58.
Klaus MH, Kennell JH. The doula: an essential ingredient of childbirth rediscovered. Acta Paediatr. 1997 Oct;86(10):1034-6.