The Doula Support Foundation will be opening in Kingston this fall to provide pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum services and education. Doula Support Foundation (DFS) will be accessible to low-income families, but their services will be available to all community members, regardless of socioeconomic status.
DSF will offer three categories of doula professionals: labour/birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and bereavement doulas who provide support for pregnancy loss, termination or infant loss.
While doulas don’t provide medical care, they provide support services to new and expectant parents before, during and after birth, and in the early postpartum period.
“We cannot take the place of a midwife, an OB (Obstetrician), or your family physician,” said DSF Chairperson Laura Pascoe. “A doula provides emotional, physical, informational, and practical support that supports the rest of that process.”
“There is actually a substantive and growing body of evidence that supports the value of doula care,” said Pascoe. “Doula support has consistently shown to improve outcomes for both the birthing person and for baby.
“Part of our role is educating people on the resources that are available,” added DSF Vice Chairperson Chelsea Loutsenko.
Doulas provide at least two prenatal appointments ahead of time, continuous support in labour and birth, and then one to two postpartum visits after, Pascoe explained.
“For many people, they have a relationship with the OB, but then when they’re at the hospital all they’re seeing are the nurses that they’ve never met before. The doula provides this really important continuity of care,” she said.
Pascoe and Loutsenko said that they believe DSF’s accessible services and 12 certified doulas will be filling what Pascoe described as “a clear need here for so long. There’s a really low level of awareness around doula care.”
“Another big reason why Kingston is such an important place for this is because in addition to a high low-income population, there’s also a really high prevalence of substance use, opioid issues, and mental health struggles,” Pascoe continued. “Particularly for pregnant people, there’s a huge amount of stigma around that.”
The DSF requires all their doulas to go through additional training in order to be better prepared to provide services to people who are living with mental health or substance use issues. According to Pascoe, “It’s all centred on non-judgemental care.”
DSF will be continuing their grassroots fundraising at local events this summer, an upcoming crowdfunding campaign, and a benefit concert on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at The Spire, featuring performances from The Lemon Bucket Orchestra, The Weather Station, and The Gertrudes.