Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

Guest Post: Jenna Alphenaar, Vancouver Birth Doula.

Jenna Alphenaar, Vancouver Birth Doula.... It just flows off you tongue doesn't it?

I'm on a one way street to becoming a certified birth doula. What is a doula you ask? The goal of a birth doula is to ideally improve obstetric outcomes and also lower intervention rates for labouring mothers. We help pregnant mamas with the physical comfort measures as well as providing emotional support for her and her partner.

A birth doula will carry you prenatally and be with you the when the baby arrives. She is generally attuned to a mother's emotional and physical needs, and stays with her for the whole duration of her labour. Many mother's fear that her doula will step out for a pee and leave her, but we are pros at 'holding it'. A doula sometimes "holds it for 30 hours!". Studies have shown that having a birth doula present decreases the rate of a Cesarean sections by 50%.

For the birth of my daughter Luca, I chose to have a midwife at St. Pauls Hospital. At the time I wasn't educated on what a birth doula was so I was doula-less, but our midwife Kat was a blessing to us and the experience was better than anything I could describe.

Skin to skin with Luca

A doula can be present in a hospital birth with a midwife or a doctor, or she can be present at a home birth with a midwife. The RN's at St. Pauls were outstanding; I still think about them and how amazing that time in the hospital was for me. My long term goal is to be a perinatal nurse, but with the turn of events this past year I have to take my life and my schooling one step at a time. Which is how I became motivated to become a birth doula.

While I was away working on the big "getting my spirit back trip" with Luca, I received a message from someone who was just starting up a Vancouver company called 'DEME Pre and Postnatal Services'. She approached the idea that when I arrived back in Vancouver we should meet up and talk about having me join her company as a birth doula. The second I met her and heard her dream, I knew joining her team was a perfect fit for me. Before I knew it we were cracking a bottle of cab to celebrate!

As a blossoming pregnant woman the last thing you want to do is search and search for all of your birth needs. Vancouver's DEME is a one stop shop for local Vancouver mothers and woman following their dreams. Pop over to Deme Pre and Postnatal Services website and see what we are all about.


Heidi said...

Great post, Jenna.  I am so glad that the word is getting out about the importance of doulas, and what a difference their support can make in a labor story.  I am working on my goal of becoming a labor and maternity nurse myself.  I just recently took the Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Providers at Douglas College, and found it to be amazing!  I would highly recommend it to anyone in this field of mothers, babies, and birth.  I am hoping to take one of Douglas College's doula courses too, just so I can be the best L&D nurse possible, one day...
Cheers to you on your journey, Jenna.

March 12, 2012 at 11:09 AM  
Jenna Alphenaar said...

Hi Heidi! Thank you! The breastfeeding course at Douglas is my next "to do" especially now that it comes highly recommended. Hope to meet you in the maternity ward one day!

March 13, 2012 at 7:34 AM  

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