February 19, 2019 7:18 pm
Updated: February 25, 2019 7:07 pm

How hired postpartum help is becoming more commonplace for moms

WATCH ABOVE: Postpartum doulas used to be seen as a luxury, but the service is increasingly being seen as a need. Kim Smith explains how it might be beneficial for new moms.

A A

View link »

The first three months after baby’s arrival are also considered the fourth trimester, which is a period of rapid change and development in a newborn. It’s also a time when postpartum mothers are recovering from childbirth.

Story continues below

“I think the focus on the fourth trimester and these immediate times after a baby is born is becoming more understood and that it’s important in the bigger picture of the health of the family, especially in the mom,” said Shannon Sproule, a postpartum doula with Full Circle Birth Collective in Edmonton.

“Most often, baby comes in and baby is the star of the show and mom kind of gets pushed to the back.”

Unlike birth doulas, who help mothers during pregnancy and childbirth, postpartum doulas step in after the baby arrives.

Postpartum doulas are not new in Canada, but Sproule said the service is becoming more sought-after.

“I could have used me. I totally get it. I would have loved someone to just come in and talk to me.”

The focus is on the mental and physical health of the mom. Postpartum doulas can help with a variety of tasks such as feeding, diaper changing, bathing, meal prep, and light house keeping.

“We make sure she (the mom) is hydrated, eating well and getting that rest. She gets that shower and a person to bounce ideas off of and stay away from Google,” Sproule said.

The doulas are trained to provide evidence-based advice and are able to refer moms to lactation consultants, physicians or mental health workers, if necessary.

“We are kind of that bridge,” Sproule said.

READ MORE: B.C. college trains ‘death doulas’ to guide Canadians through their final days

The service is not publicly funded. Depending on the need, packages start around $120. Sproule said she hopes one day the service will be more accessible to all mothers.

“I think as the medical community starts to awaken to the idea that this is a really vulnerable time for parents and we need to support them better and more frequently during the 12 weeks postpartum, it will become more accessible,” Sproule said.

“But it’s definitely not where I believe it should be yet.”

Alexandra McMillan said the late nights, the self-doubt and all the visitors made the transition into motherhood exhausting. She was gifted the service of a postpartum doula from friends prior to the arrival of her first child.

“It’s honestly been so critical for me for my recovery with her,” McMillan said.

READ MORE: How donating breast milk helped one woman heal after losing a baby

“I think initially when people were coming over, I almost felt like I was trying to host them and my body wasn’t even recovered, let alone I wasn’t sleeping.”

McMillan’s postpartum doula came over once a week for three hours for the first six weeks. She helped with caring for her newborn, meal prep, dishes, and she provided objective third-party advice.

“A three-hour session is nice because it allows me enough time to shower and feel like a human being,” McMillan said. “Things like texting her like, ‘is this diaper normal?’ or ‘how do I burp her’.”


Want more ways to keep up to date? Check out the “Family Matters” podcast! If you haven’t subscribed yet — what are you waiting for?

Subscribing’s easy! Here’s how…

On your iPad or iPhone:

  • Open the Apple Podcasts app, search for Family Matters and select it from the list of results.
  • Once on the Family Matters page, click the “Subscribe” button to have new episodes sent to your mobile device for free.
  • Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.

On your Android Phone or Tablet:

  • Open the Google Podcasts app, search for Family Matters and select it from the list of results.
  • Once on the Family Matters page, click the “Subscribe” button to have new episodes sent to your mobile device for free.
  • Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.