As hospitals and health care organizations around the world recognize World Doula Week, The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) is proud to be celebrating five years of being the only hospital in Ontario with a formal, non-volunteer based doula program for patients.
In 2010, TSH partnered with Discover Birth Childbirth Education and Doula Services and launched the Hospital Birth Doula Program. Under this program, expectant mothers at TSH can request a doula to be present as part of their labour and delivery. Although doula services are not covered by provincial health insurance in Ontario, through this unique collaboration, patients pay $100 to $500 for the service, based on their household income – less than half the average normal cost.
“As a non-medical support role, doulas provide a truly unique service to expectant parents,” said Stefanie Antunes, Founder and Chief Doula and Educator at Discover Birth.
“Doulas draw on their knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort and to help facilitate communication with caregivers so that patients have all the information they need in order to have the most satisfying birth experience. Doulas can provide reassurance and perspective to the mom and her partner, make suggestions for labour progress and help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort.”
“TSH is truly a leader as a hospital in recognizing the tremendous value that doulas can have for our patients,” said Dr. Georgina Wilcock, Co-Medical Director, Maternal Newborn and Child Care program at TSH.
“We know that when a woman feels properly supported during labour and delivery, she tends to rely less on medication, and her labour is likely to proceed more quickly and more positively. Doulas play an important role in working with the other members of the health care team to help make this happen.”
“Our doula services are another example of the outstanding interprofessional collaboration at TSH,” said Dr. Nathan Roth, Co-Medical Director, Maternal Newborn and Child Care program at TSH.
“It’s all part of our commitment to respect the diversity of our patient population and assist women in giving birth their way, according to their preferences, customs and beliefs, as long as mother and baby are safe.”
The Hospital Birth Doula Program is part of the wide variety of services available to expectant parents at TSH. For over 12 years, TSH has offered midwifery services through a partnership with Diversity Midwives. Recently, the hospital expanded its midwifery services, welcoming Sages-Femmes Midwives as a second group. TSH also recently began offering water births at both its campuses, and has been recruiting additional obstetricians to the Maternal Newborn and Child Care program.
In addition, patients have access to pre-natal tours and classes, an early pregnancy assessment clinic, a breastfeeding clinic, and an umbilical cord partnership with Insception Lifebank Cord Blood Program.
For more information on the Maternal Newborn and Child Care program, including how to access these services, visit the TSH website.