Doulas help birth mothers with better support and outcomes

Prenatal teacher and doula Angie Evans, says, “I think of my role as a guide. [Women] have a lot of choices in birth, everything is optional. Ask questions and understand [your] care.” Photo illustration by Mattea Columpsi.

Having been part of over 300 births, prenatal teacher and doula Angie Evans is focused on providing support and teachings she wishes she had at her own birth.

“The birth mother is our primary focus,” said Evans. “We support partners, too.

“A lot of times partners are an afterthought, and we know when we support partners, they have a better experience through their own journey because they are becoming a parent too.”

According to the Doulas of Regina website, “A birth doula is a woman who is professionally trained to provide emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother (and partner) during pregnancy, birth, and early postpartum.” There is a cost to hire a doula, ranging from $400-$1,500.

Linda Yablonski, a Regina grandmother who calls herself “Super Nana,” first met Angie Evans at a free doula information night she attended with her daughter Azlynn Lefebvre four years ago.

Linda Yablonski (right) with her daughter Azlynn Lefebvre (left). Photo courtesy of Linda Yablonski.

Immediately, Lefebvre and Yablonski found a connection to Evans.

“I think sometimes people think, ‘Oh, we can do this on our own, we are not going to waste money on that,’” said Yablonski, “But it is worth every penny.”

Evans’ website cites four separate studies that show “babies born with doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.”

Yablonski wanted her daughter to understand how valuable a doula truly is.

“I had two [natural] deliveries and there was nothing horrible or traumatic,” said Yablonski. “Everything was good if you were looking from the outside.

“But from my inside, I was very disappointed with how things unfolded because I didn’t feel supported emotionally. Even though my husband was right beside me, he is not the kind of guy to soothe and pat you on the forehead and say, ‘You are doing a great job, you are going to be okay.’ ”

For Yablonski, Evans is a magic force field.

“Angie has this very embodied goddess quality of patience,” said Yablonski. “It is this vast knowledge that I felt so held.

“I could take that into the room and spill that over onto my other people.”

In a time of uncertainty, Evans continues to help prepare her clients by offering Zoom meetings and virtual hospital tours to lessen potential anxieties.

“[My clients] have so many more worries than they did,” said Evans.

“It’s everything from worrying about going into a hospital during a pandemic, or their parents insist they want to come in and meet the baby, even though they still go to church with 30 people, or they might not be following the same precautions that my clients are.”

To ease anxieties, Evans recommends multiple birth plans in case a partner fails screening at the hospital.

Continuing the regulations that began because of the pandemic in 2020, laboring women are currently only allowed one person in the birth room.

“Last year I did seven births by dial-a-doula,” said Evans, in reference to her clients calling her during birth.

“They would check in with me if they had questions or decisions to make. It was challenging for sure.”

The community has been pleasantly accommodating both before and during the pandemic to make sure people could do hospital tours.

“I am really grateful to our health region,” said Evans. “It’s so important people see the space they’re going to give birth in before they are in that space.

“The fewer surprises in labor, the better.”

Evans reminds women they are not alone at birth:

“I think of my role as a guide. [Women] have a lot of choices in birth, everything is optional. Ask questions and understand [your] care.

“Women are made to do this. Preparation is so important. Trust the process.”

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