Frequently Asked Questions


General Doula Questions

What is a doula?

A “doula” in Ancient Greek, refers to a woman who is in service of others. Fast forward to modern day, a doula is a trained perinatal professional who supports a birthing person and their support partner/person through labour, childbirth, and postpartum (after childbirth) by providing continuous evidence-based emotional, physical, and spiritual support.

What does a birth doula do?

A birth doula specifically supports the birthing person and their partner/support person by providing continuous support through labour, delivery, and post-childbirth. A birth doula does not replace the birthing parents’ primary healthcare provider (such as their doctor, OBGYN, or Midwife), nor performs any clinical or medical tasks, but participates as an additional support person in the birthing room (whether that be in the hospital or home). Birth doulas can support on labour coping measures, advocate for the parents’ desires and/or boundaries on how they wish to experience their birth to their care team, lactation support immediately after childbirth, and resource sharing.

What does a postpartum doula do?

A postpartum doula specifically supports the birthing parent and their partner/support person in their postpartum phase (from the first week since baby’s arrival up to 12 weeks postpartum — or what is known as the “Fourth Trimester”). Postpartum doulas can provide emotional, physical, and spiritual support, but does not replace the primary medical provider for the birthing parent and baby. Some tasks that a postpartum doula can support in are light housekeeping, meal prep, childminding (with one other primary care provider present at all times), pets/sibling adjustment, lactation support, and resource sharing.

What are the benefits of having a doula?

Doulas provide evidence-based knowledge, support, and resources to care for the birthing parent and their support partner/person in labour, delivery, and postpartum.

As Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN of Evidence Based Birth describes, “[m]ost of us would have a hard time dealing with these conditions when we’re feeling our best. But people in labor have to deal with these harsh conditions when they are in a very vulnerable state. These harsh conditions may slow down a person’s labor and their self-confidence. It is thought that a doula “buffers” this harsh environment by providing continuous support and companionship which promotes the mother’s self-esteem (Hofmeyr, Nikodem et al. 1991).

A second reason that doulas are effective is because doulas are a form of pain relief in themselves (Hofmeyr, 1991). With continuous support, laboring people are less likely to request epidurals or pain medication. It is thought that there is fewer use of medications because birthing people feel less pain when a doula is present.” (Dekker, 2019).  

Dekker, Rebecca. “Evidence on: Doulas”. 4 May 2019.

When should I consider hiring a doula?

While it is absolutely possible to hire a doula right as you are in labour (although probably not recommended as you want to get to know your doula first 🙃 and to confirm their availability as doulas often get booked up 4-6 months at a time), anywhere within your last two trimesters is a great ballpark timeframe to give yourself enough time to interview your potential doulas, and ask lots of questions. Like any good relationship, you probably want to have a few coffee dates before finding “The One”.

Does a doula only support the birthing person?

Nope! Doulas support both the birthing person and their partner/support person equally, as labour, childbirth, and postpartum can be a wild ride for new parents! Also, seeing your person potentially experience lots of emotions (and pain) can be very overwhelming for the partner/support person, even if they have the best of intentions to support you. A doula can help lighten the emotional load that expectant parents may go through in their most vulnerable state such as through childbirth and postpartum. 

Are doula services covered by MSP?

Unfortunately, no. However, if you have a flexible extended group health insurance plan through your employer, such as one with a Health Spending Account (HSA) that provides taxable healthcare/holistic wellness services, doula services may be covered. 

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

This is a very common misunderstanding that doulas help catch babies, or assist in childbirth independently.

Midwives are licensed medical practitioners who are the birthing parent(s) primary maternity/neonatal care provider. Midwives often take a more holistic approach to supporting the birthing parent(s) through pregnancy and childbirth, and combine clinical practices to treat/care for the birthing parent and their newborn. 

Midwifery is an ancient practice, and as Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN of Evidence Based Birth describes: 

“Throughout most of human history, childbirth was a female-led, community-oriented activity. A midwife was often a local woman who had experienced giving birth themselves and who felt called to help other women, with or without special training or payment for their services. Over time, midwifery developed as a formal profession of women helping other women through this major life event, passing on wisdom, training and knowledge about birth to each other, through either formal education programs, apprenticeship, or usually both.” (Dekker, Rebecca, 2021). 

Midwives and doulas work in partnership with one another and with additional medical personnel such as nurses in the birth room (whether it be in the hospital or home). However, ultimately, doulas will defer to the primary prenatal medical care providers for any medical/clinical tasks, treatments, and instructions on pre/postnatal and neonatal care. 

Dekker, Rebecca. 5 May 2021. “EBB 175 – Evidence on Midwives”

What is the difference between a nanny/babysitter and a doula?

A nanny/babysitter’s primary line of care or services revolve around caring for the baby or children for duration of time (i.e. for a few hours while the parent(s) are occupied with errands, work, etc.). Their scope of work may also be limited to basic tasks for the child(ren) such as feeding, playing, and bedtime routines.

A night nanny or a postpartum confinement nanny is typically hired for overnight or live-in care to support both the birthing parent and newborn in the first "Sitting Month" (or in the first 30-40 days postpartum according to many Asian cultures), and utilizes various Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices, focusing on postpartum healing and recovery. You can learn more here.

A doula’s primary line of care revolves around the birthing parents - their emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being during birth and/or postpartum. Each doula is unique to their expertise, style of care, and ideals about birth and postpartum, but more often than not, doulas are hired based on their personality, or whether their style of care resonates with the family.

Who/what is DONA International?

DONA International is the world’s first, largest and leading doula certifying organization. There are many other doula certifying organizations in the world, however, doulas are not legally required to be certified to support parents. Doula support is an ancient practice, but it was only until the early 90’s when many doulas paved the way to legitimize the life-saving work doulas can do as an actual profession. 

What if my doula isn't certified?

Even if your doula is not certified, it does not discredit them from being able to support you the best that they can for your birth. As doulas are not under any regulated/governing health authorities, certification is not required of doulas to provide birth or postpartum support. Professional training for birth and postpartum support, however, is recommended. 

What is a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST)?

Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) are trained professionals in child passenger safety and certified through the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada (CPSAC)

In their pursuit of safety, a Technician can “educate caregivers that the best seat is one that: Fits the child’s weight, height, age, and development; Fits the caregiver’s budget and vehicle; [and that] [t]he caregiver will use correctly as per manufacturer’s instructions each time” (CPSAC, 2019). 


Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada (CPSAC). June 2019. Child Passenger Safety Technician Code of Conduct.

About Me

What are your qualifications as a doula?

Funny enough, I had major Imposter Syndrome when I considered becoming a doula before I became a mother — my inspiration came from desperately wanting to support my sister-in-law in her own postpartum journey, but thought to myself, how could I be of any help if I wasn’t a mother first? After I trained as a doula in the Summer of 2022, I realized that some of the best doulas I know had never given birth to their own children. We are humans who love and want to care for other humans. 

Soon after my training, I jumped right in and I’ve had the honour of supporting families in my community every month since completing my doula training. 

You can learn more about me and the various training programs I have completed here.

What is your doula-approach?

I love it when I get asked this because it gives me an opportunity to share how not all doulas are alike! People often have an image of doulas being sage-burning hippies, which, there are wonderful doulas who can provide that sort of care, and I can certainly refer you to some stellar doulas with specific styles!

I personally do not have a specific approach to my doula care per se, as I prefer to be flexible based on the parents’ wishes for their birth experience. I do however, take more of an evidence-based, empathetic approach when supporting my doula families. 

I love to incorporate Western care practices with Eastern-Asian traditions that focuses on postpartum recovery and lactation support. Being more of a tech-y person, I love data and statistics, so providing the latest evidence-based perinatal information, I find, helps parents who may be of a similar mindset make informed decisions on the type of care they wish to receive.

Do you have a backup doula?

I sure do! And she’s pretty awesome :) You can check her out here - Guilia Salles Doula!

When you hire me, you will also have the opportunity to connect with Giulia virtually in one of our prenatals in the (unlikely) event that I am not able to attend your birth. This is so you can ask her any questions, put a familiar face to the name, and know what the communication will look like between myself and Giulia. 

If Giulia needs to cover for me, she will have access to the same information that you provide me with regards to your care so there are no gaps in understanding what is important to you for your birth.

Would you be helping to catch (deliver) the baby?

Nope, I will not be catching your baby :) I’ll leave that to your primary medical team as catching babies is outside the scope of my role as your doula.

Which hospital do you support your doula clients?

Any hospital within the Lower Mainland, BC. However, I am most familiar with the campus and staff at BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Do you support home births?

Absolutely! Wherever you want to give birth, that is your choice, and I will support you. 

How flexible are your postpartum doula hours?

Very flexible, based on the needs of your family. We may play with a few different hours depending on which time of day (morning/daytime/evenings) would be the most helpful for your family. Or, we can keep the time of day consistent for each visit. 

My only exception is that if I am called to a birth, I will require some flexibility on scheduling, but I will ensure this is communicated to you in advance if you would like to hire me as your postpartum doula. 

Will be able to help me with lactation support?

Absolutely! However, should we have challenges beyond the first latch, I may refer you to a lactation consultant, infant feeding classes in the community, or for starters, La Leche League is a fantastic, free resource with chapters all over the world. 

I have another child/other children at home with my newborn. Will you be able to help me care for all my children?

As a postpartum doula, I can assist in childminding, however, only if there is an additional caregiver present at home with us. My primary line of care is to ensure you have the necessary support and tools to care for yourself and your newborn in postpartum. I am happy to support you for sibling adjustment in our prenatal and/or postpartum visits as well.

If you require childminding for the whole duration of my visit, I would recommend having an additional caregiver, babysitter/nanny present so we can focus on you and your newborn.

I want to learn more about babywearing. Will you be able to coach me on it?

I absolutely love babywearing! While I can assist with basic babywearing tips, I am not a babywearing expert (which yes, it is actually a thing!). To learn about various babywearing methods, tools, recommendations, I would suggest you follow my favourite babywearing coach, Karla Castro of The Babywearing Club.

Can I book a call with you to learn more about whether a doula would be right for me?

Absolutely! The first 30-minute call is free of charge, without any obligation to book right away. I want to help answer any initial questions you may have, but also take the time after our call to assess whether we are a good fit with each other. Should either of us feel that there may not be a fit, I’d be more than happy to refer you to a different doula in my network, or resources where you can meet with other doulas. 

Please note, however, that until we proceed with a signed contract and the deposit has been paid, I will be unable to reserve my availability for you in respect to my other prospective families. I dedicate an entire month of the client’s due date to ensure my availability for them. 

As a member of the doula community, it is in each of our best interests to guide you to find a doula who can support you in your birth — by no means will I be offended if you decide to go with someone else. It would mean much more to me if you found someone who was a better fit for you and your family. 

To book your first call, you can schedule a meeting with me here.

How can I book a car seat check with you?

Thank you for taking the time to have your car seat checked! Checks are done in North Delta by donation of any amount, and by appointment only. Please contact me to book an appointment.

I am an employer and I need help with a family support program. Can you help?

I am so glad you’re here. This is precisely what drives me in the work that I do as a Chartered HR Professional, and with the bonus role as a doula, I can offer tips on how you as an employer can help support your staff during the early days of their parental leave.

Let’s chat more about how we can work together by scheduling a call with me here.

Common Misconceptions

Doulas only support "natural" births and are anti-medical intervention.

Doulas should provide support for all types of births (unmedicated, medicated, vaginal/physiological, or surgical/by caesarean section), respecting your choices for interventions or pain relief (if any), educate on the options available, and advocate for both you and your family on what is most important for you in your birthing experience.

Doulas replace the role of the partner during childbirth.

Doulas do not replace the role of the partner (if there is one), but rather, work alongside partners, enhancing their role and providing additional support during childbirth and recovery. 

Doulas are only for people who want a home birth.

Unless specified by the doula, doulas support wherever the birthing person chooses to birth their child -- this may be at home, in the hospital, birth centre, or heck, if it's in the back of the car if push comes to shove (lame pun intended), your doula will be there. 

Doulas can make medical decisions for the birthing person during childbirth.

It's essential to note that doulas do not make medical decisions for you. Instead, doulas provide information, resources, and support to help you make informed choices with your primary care provider(s) that also align with your preferences.

Doulas are only for people who want a completely pain-free birth.

Pain management during childbirth is a personal decision, and your pain can only be experienced by YOU. Everyone's birth experience varies, but a doula can help support you in finding comfort, regardless of your pain management preferences.

Doulas only provide support during childbirth and are not helpful during pregnancy or postpartum.

Doula support extends beyond childbirth -- from the date of hire (whether you are early in your pregnancy or further along), doulas can provide valuable guidance, education, and emotional support throughout your pregnancy, labour, birth and into the postpartum period.