Do you support home births?


Do you support hospital and birth centre births?

Yes! I support births at the Ottawa Hospital (Civic and General), the Montfort Hospital, the Queensway-Carleton Hospital, and the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre. Occasionally I serve clients delivering at other hospitals; please contact me for details. I do not attend births in Quebec.

What geographic area do you serve?

I serve clients living in Ottawa, Gatineau and surrounding areas. I live centrally and will drive as far as (and including) Stittsville, Richmond, Barrhaven, Manotick, Greely, Orleans, Cantley, Chelsea and Aylmer. If you live beyond this approximate area I will try to refer you to a doula who lives closer to your location. If you live on the Quebec side of this region I am happy to work with you if you plan to give birth in Ottawa and are comfortable holding our prenatal meetings on the Ontario side.

Do you provide references?

I would be happy to provide contact information for past clients, with their permission.

I really want an unmedicated birth, but I'm not sure I can do it. How can you help?

I offer calm, individualized and continuous support, a wide range of comfort measures, strategies to promote progress, and trust in the normalcy of birth. Of my clients who wish to avoid an epidural, more than 80 percent achieve that goal.  

I'm not sure I want a natural birth. Will you support me if I have an epidural?

Of course! Every woman is different. Before your birth I help you explore your feelings, preferences and options, and we discuss optimal timing for an epidural. I will support your informed choices. 

I have a midwife. Why do I need a doula?

I can complement the midwife's care. I join you in early labour, and likely would spend several hours with you before your midwife arrives. Midwives offer exceptional care, but must prioritize clinical duties over labour support. Midwives also have a lot of record-keeping to complete. I have a good relationship with the midwives I have worked with, and encourage you to discuss your questions with your midwife.

I am planning a hospital birth. Surely the nurses will provide labour support?

Most nurses enjoy providing labour support, and do so when they can. However, they are extremely busy. Nurses' primary duties include clinical tasks, managing technology, extensive record-keeping and reporting to your doctor. They usually work 12-hour shifts and are relieved by another nurse during meal breaks. Continuous support is not possible and you would likely see at least two different nurses during your labour, neither of whom you would have met in advance. Moreover, studies show the labour support provided by hospital-employed nurses does not provide quite the same benefits as continuous labour support provided by a doula, who is working for you. Finally, for most women, labour support begins long before heading to the hospital. Nurses are not able to come to your home or be at the other end of the phone 24/7.

Will you sideline my partner?

No! There is no substitute for the support of your loved one. Doulas are trained to support a partner to experience this special time with confidence. I can help your partner stay involved and can reduce any anxiety he or she may feel witnessing you experience the normal processes of birth. Many comfort measures require two support people, and your partner and I would work as a team. If labour is long, your partner and I can spell each other off for rest and nourishment. Your partner will be free to experience the magic of the moment. 

My cultural/religious practices differ from typical expectations. How can you help?

I work with a varied clientele and am familiar with many different birth customs. As with any client, at our prenatal meetings we would discuss your needs and expectations. Each mother and each family is unique!

Do you support LGBTQ families? Do you support surrogacy arrangements?

Yes and yes! I have experience with both.

I'm worried about advocating for myself. Will you speak to staff on my behalf?

No. Only you or your partner can speak to the staff. I have a non-confrontational approach. If a departure from your birth preferences is suggested, unless it's an emergency I will discreetly prompt you to ask questions to be sure you understand the situation and your options. This is a topic we would cover in our prenatal preparation. 

Where do we hold the initial interview and prenatal meetings?

Typically I would come to your home. If you prefer to meet elsewhere, a coffee shop is another possibility. Keep in mind that you need to feel able to speak freely and be physically comfortable.

When will you join me in labour?

I like to join clients before the onset of active labour; i.e. when you can still hold a conversation between contractions. I ask that you call me as soon as you think labour might be starting, even if you do not yet need me. We can discuss the situation by phone and agree on a plan.

When I need you in labour, how long does it take you to get to me?

It depends on the time of day and how fast labour is progressing. I aim for less than an hour between the initial phone call and arriving at your home (or meeting you at the hospital, if labour is progressing rapidly or you are already there). I live centrally and if needed can usually join you quite quickly.

What if I need a planned caesarean birth?

I would help you prepare for this in advance. Depending on the hospital, I might be permitted to be present at the surgery, along with your partner, but more typically I would meet you in recovery. After a caesarean birth, you will need extra support with breastfeeding, self-care and baby care. In addition to in-hospital support on the day of surgery, I include an extra postpartum visit to replace unused hours of labour support.

What if I end up having an unplanned caesearean birth?

If this occurs, I support you through the surgery, if the hospital permits, or rejoin you after surgery. 

How many births you do support per month?

I usually attend three or four births per month.

Do you work with a back-up doula? May we meet her?

Yes, I work with several wonderful doulas who can back me up in the rare event that two clients' births overlap, or if I am ill. For perspective, I have missed approximately 3 percent of of my clients' births due to overlap with another labour. In the event that I will need to be off call for a period of time, I will arrange for you to meet the back-up doula.

You are on call from 37 weeks. What if I go into labour before that?

I am almost always on call and would typically be able to attend your birth. If I cannot get to your birth, I will send a back-up doula.

What is your fee?

My fee is $900 plus HST, i.e. $1017.

Is your fee or payment plan flexible?

If my fee represents a hardship, please contact me to discuss an alternative payment schedule. I am not able to provide a discounted service. Please also be aware that Ottawa has a wonderful volunteer-based Birth Companion Program through Mothercraft Ottawa.