Interview – Birthing partner or doula and perinatal naturopath (Julie Beaupré)November 2016

One professional, one path, many tips

 

What is the role of a birthing partner or doula? Who are your services for?

 

As a birthing partner, or doula, we play a supporting role in promoting the autonomy of the couple that we accompany. We are specially trained to perform all non-medical acts during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period. We are neither a midwife nor a doctor. We complement the follow-up they offer and we accompany the parents, as doctors or midwives don’t always have time, especially in the hospital, to answer the questions of the mothers. We provide information to parents that is not always offered in traditional prenatal classes. We're really digging deep into our subject.

Our services are offered to everyone. We can adapt to everyone according to their situation, fears, etc. Often, mothers choose our services because they are afraid to give birth or are scared of the epidural, they are single parents maybe or they have had a bad experience during a first delivery, and so on. The issues are very different from one person to another.

 

What can a birthing partner teach in addition to the information accessible on the Internet or presented in prenatal classes?

 

The main difference with prenatal classes is our availability and our ability to answer the needs of parents and to listen to what they want to experience during childbirth. This way, they can make informed choices by being aware of everything that is happening.

 

Could you tell us about an experience of accompanying parents that was really special to you?

 

I was accompanying parents for a delivery at the hospital. The doctor came to examine the mother and warned her that she was dilated to 10 cm and that she would soon meet her baby. She pushed for two hours but nothing was happening. The nurse checked and explained that there was a blockage. The doctor reassessed and realized that the mother was actually 7 cm dilated and that she had been pushing for 2 hours for nothing. She was distraught, inconsolable, stressed, tired, and the nurses were gone. I was there to help her, to support her, to say to her: "It'll be fine!”. I was there at the right time for this mom, and she avoided a Caesarean section. I was there also for the dad, who had to go out at some point to regain strength.

 

We are not only there to teach and to give information, but also to morally support the parents throughout this beautiful adventure of maternity, especially in cases of unexpected events as it was the case in this example.

 

When is it best during pregnancy to meet a birthing partner or doula?

 

We usually schedule our classes and begin our presence around 30 weeks of pregnancy because starting too soon is a waste of time; the parents will forget what they have been taught.

 

How often and where do you meet the parents?

 

Parents are always met in their home.

The frequency depends on the number of weeks the pregnancy is at. If a mom is already 37 weeks along, the meetings will be more frequent, around one per week, to make sure to cover all the information and tips ahead of childbirth. If the mother is at 30 weeks of pregnancy, the sessions will be every 2 or 3 weeks.

 

The number of meetings depends on the parents and their needs. Some have many questions. Often, there is a fear that we must address more specifically. Also, if a mother has already had a child, the sessions will often be shorter.

 

What is the typical course of a session with a birthing partner or doula?

 

Sessions usually last from 2 to 3 hours on average. Several themes are discussed: nutrition, preparation to childbirth, ways to manage the pain, different types of childbirth, hospital protocols, etc. We listen to DVDs, look at books, try practical exercises to show childbirth positions, undergo breathing exercises, and so on. We practice a lot to make parents feel ready during childbirth. We also involve the dad so that he will know what he can do to help his spouse during labor.

 

How to choose a birth partner or doula?

 

For this service in Quebec, parents can visit: naissance.ca (for the rest of Canada: ontariodoulas.org, doulatraining.ca), which is a group of birthing partners and doulas. Otherwise, most birthing partners have websites.

 

I also recommend that you meet the doulas one by one in order to see if you connect with them. Our first meetings are free.

 

How much does this service cost?

 

It varies greatly. On average, the cost will range from $500 to $1,200 for courses and delivery. This depends on the region and on the possibility for the birthing partner to issue receipts. For example, I give out receipts as a naturopath, which allows some parents to be reimbursed in part by their private insurance.

 

What is the use of perinatal naturopathy?

 

Naturopathy is used to relieve the discomfort of mothers and babies. For example, I help mothers who have problems with breastfeeding and acidity, and babies who have colic, etc. I find natural ways to help them (changes in diet, vitamins, minerals, etc.). I have matched naturopathy and birthing partnership.

 

How did you train to become a birthing partner or doula and perinatal naturopath? What is your background?

 

I first attended the basic and advanced courses in birthing partnership given by Mère et monde in Montreal in early 2013. I also took a course in herbalism for women, in naturopathy. Finally, I did a massage therapy course for pregnant women to relieve pain during pregnancy and childbirth.

 

How did you decide to become a birthing partner or doula and a perinatal naturopath?

 

During my second pregnancy, I became much more informed than during my first pregnancy. I realized that I was missing information. After delivery, I told myself that I would like to help other women because I really lacked support during my first pregnancy. As for naturopathy, I love natural health, so it's a good complement to birthing partnership.

 

What do you particularly appreciate in your practice?

 

I especially like to feel like I am helping. I like to go to bed at night and know that maybe the phone will ring and I will go to the hospital to help people.

 

What does the Mustela brand mean to you?

 

To me, Mustela is a reliable brand offering safe products. It has been part of my family since 2009, since my first pregnancy. I had then received a sample at a maternity fair.

 

For more information on birthing partners or doulas, visit:

 

In Quebec:

Julie Beaupré’s website (Montreal area):

accompagnantenaissance.com

or

naissance.ca

 

For the rest of Canada:

doulatraining.ca

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