Hiring a doula? Some things to know - part 2

Hiring a Doula
the core value of a doula practice is based on a holistic approach to reproduction and its continuum as a function of healthy sexuality and decision making
— Willie Parker, MD, MPH

Last week we published a blog post outlining five things to know when considering hiring a doula. This week we go a little deeper. While full spectrum doulas who offer a variety of services, today we focus primarily on birth work. 

Below we outline five more questions to consider when looking for a doula:

1) What's important to you?

We sometimes say that there are as many way to give birth as there are people. The same is true for doulas. Two people can be trained by the same organisation and the same instructor and have different approaches to their practice. Sometimes these approaches can be minute; sometimes they can be disparate. 

What matter is what is important to you! Do you want someone who is also a yoga teacher, or a childbirth educator, or a fitness specialist? Do you want someone who speaks your language? Is spirituality important to you? 

Sometimes we don't know what's important to us, which is why meeting doulas is vital - you learn about them and their approach and you see if it's a good fit. Learn more about this in your FAQ.

2) A doula does not replace taking childbirth education classes.

Most of the time, you will have 1 or 2 prenatal visits with your doula and there is a lot to cover! Generally during the meetings you get more familiar with your doula, talk about your birth and postpartum wishes, and practice a variety of different coping techniques.

To give ample time for that, taking a childbirth education class before your doula appointments (or at least one of them) is ideal. During a childbirth education class you would cover information such as the stages of labour, coping with inductions, interventions, both medicated and unmedicated coping methods, coping with cesarean deliveries, immediate postpartum, planning for the postpartum period, etc. While your doula may cover some of these topics, they won't have to go as well in-depth as a childbirth educator would.

3) What about price differences?

Doulas are definitely an investment! If you've been looking for doulas you've probably noticed some price discrepancies - some doulas charge as little as 200 - some as much as 2200! Some doulas work pro-bono.

When charging, a lot of doulas (but not all) base their prices on experience. Some doulas who are just starting out may not feel confident in charging full price; however, many doulas (regardless) of experience are starting to charge a standard price. For Toronto, currently that is between $1000 to $1300 for a base package. There are some doulas that also offer some reduced rates spots in their practice. 

There are also doulas who work pro-bono (for free) but their clients are usually low-income folks vetted by an independent organisation. 

If you'd like to learn more about the factors that play into our fees, check out our FAQ.

4) What if a doula hasn't had a baby?

What if a midwife or doctor hasn't had a baby? What if a dentist never had a root canal? What if a therapist never had depression/anxiety/etc? It doesn't matter. 

We are trained professionals who can perform our job very well, regardless of whatever personal experiences we might have had. 

5) What's the process of hiring a doula? 

Once you contact a doula/agency/collective you set up a time to meet the prospective doula for an introduction/informal interview, which lasts between 30min to an hour and is free (most of the time). This can take place at a coffee shop where you feel comfortable or your home! 

During the introduction/interview you get to know the prospective doula, they get to know you, and you get to ask them questions about themselves and their practice! Stay tuned for a blog post on what questions to ask during a doula interview! 

After this meeting, take some time to sit with how you feel about the doula and let me know if you'd like to work with them (or not). Most doulas will hold the spot open for you for a couple of weeks. 


We hope you found these helpful, and if you have any more questions, drop us a line.


The Spectrum Team

Thinking about hiring a doula? Here are some things to know - part 1

Hiring a Doula_1.png


"Having a person who unconditionally nurtures you during a major life experience is a privilege too few enjoy. Doulas provide this exquisite nonjudgemental support to others - often strangers - and touch people's lives in profound ways."                                                                 - Loretta Ross, The Doulas Radical Care for Pregnant People

You may have heard the word doula before - perhaps in a pregnancy, birth, and postpartum context; perhaps in a reproductive justice context. Or maybe you've never heard it before. 

A doula is a person (often woman-identified, but not always) who helps people during their perinatal journey - most often during their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum (but, again, not always). Depending on where are you during your perinatal journey doulas are an investment - both financially and emotionally (your doula may be with you between 4 to 100+ hours, holding space for you, and guiding you through vulnerable and emotional times). Below we touch on some questing to consider before deciding on a doula. 

1) What do you want a doula for?

While most doulas attend only births and/or offer postpartum support, fulls spectrum doulas are slowly emerging. Perhaps full spectrum doulas have always existed, but doula work began moving past only birth/postpartum support more significantly in 2008 when the Doula Project in NYC began training volunteer abortion doulas. 

Today, full spectrum care encompasses even more - doulas offer fertility, miscarriage, abortion, birth, postpartum, adoption, and surrogacy support. You can absolutely get a doula for any or all of these life's events - if you'd like to learn more about it, drop us a line. All of us at Spectrum Doula Collective are full spectrum doulas. 

2) What's the difference between midwives and doulas?

We get asked this question a lot. A midwife is a healthcare practitioner who studied midwifery in a university and a clinical setting. In Ontario, midwives are regulated by the College of Midwives of Ontario (CMO) and they are paid for by government under the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, meaning that residents of Ontario not covered by OHIP can still receive midwifery care for free. 

A doula is not a healthcare practitioner and as such does not do any clinical duties. A doula is trained by a doula organisation (although there are those who had been nurses or midwives and now solely practicing as doulas without specific training). Doulas not currently a regulated profession and are paid for out of pocket although some private insurances are starting to cover doula care (see below). 

While midwives are concerned with the health of you and the baby, doulas are concerned with your mental, physical, emotional, and sometimes spiritual well being. Doulas hold space for you and provide you with support, caring, and encouragement. 

3) What about certification?

Some doulas are certified, some doulas are not. There are many certifying organisations for doulas with different prerequisites. Most of them have a course section and a practical section. Some prospective doulas take only the course section and start practicing, some doulas do the practical as well but don't certify, some doulas do both and certify and some don't do either. 

There is no regulatory body for doulas. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if certification is important to you. 

4) Can your insurance cover it?

Sometimes. Some people can claim doula care under their health spending account with "flex dollars" built in; however, some insurance companies require that the doulas are certified through specific organisations (usually either DONA* or CAPPA). Some doulas are also RMTs or Naturopaths and may be covered through those designations (though this limits your choice of doula). 

*our doulas DONA-certified 

5) What about your partner(s)? (if applicable)

If you currently have a partner (or more) they (or you) may wonder if their role may change when hiring a doula. The short answer is yes. 

The longer answer answer is that your partner(s) role is amplified. Doulas provide partners with both the skills and confidence to support you. Doulas work with partners during all stages of your perinatal journey. 


We hope you found this useful - stay tuned for our part 2! If you have any questions, drop us a line


The Spectrum Team

Get Snacking: Postpartum

 self-saucing vegan banana caramel pudding

self-saucing vegan banana caramel pudding

At Spectrum Doula Collective we are all foodies! We love cooking for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our clients! 

 broccoli blue cheese pie with tomato salad

broccoli blue cheese pie with tomato salad

A big part of postpartum support is specialised baby care but it doesn't always have to be. Your postpartum doula is there to support you in so many different ways - it could, of course be, baby care but also be holding baby while you take a shower or a nap; healing wisdom both physically and emotionally; listening to your birth story and holding space for you; tidying up; light laundry; helping with pets; and providing you a nutritious meal or snacks! 

And we really really love cooking for our clients. We make mostly vegetarian and vegan meals (based on our dietary restrictions) and we will cook anything from soups to stews, pies, stratas, lasagnas, puddings, cakes, muffins, and energy balls. We post some of these recipes to our blog on a monthly basis and photos of the finished product on our IG.

Want to learn more? Contact us. 


The Spectrum Team

Beyond the Bio: Meet Laura...


Laura is our newest team member and a Naturopathic Doctor and IBCLC. Her passion for postpartum and infant care is the second thing you notice about her - the first thing is her love for her family. Laura’s devotion to her work is inspiring and it sometimes leaves you wondering when she might have time to do it all and be a mama to two little ones! On top of being a wonder-woman, Laura is easy going and a treat to chat with - get to know her better below!


I have always been drawn to babies, for as long as I can remember. I found Naturopathic Medicine through my search for something that blended my passions for health, the environment, education, and nutrition. In my first week at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, I discovered the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic. Right away I knew I needed to learn more and began my plans to pursue my IBCLC alongside my ND training. After I became a parent myself, I was even more pulled into the work. I remember coming out of my first 6 weeks postpartum when breastfeeding started to feel like it was on track and my head was finally above water- my awe for parents around the world grew exponentially and I knew I was on the right path professionally.


I honestly can't imagine not doing perinatal support work. If I had to choose though, it might be something different but related- perhaps social work with vulnerable families or work in child protection.


I knew very clearly (in grade 2 to be exact) that I wanted to be an artist AND an obstetrician. Not too far off!


If I could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be to the Bangladesh/Myanmar border to offer safe infant feeding support to displaced families with new babies. And of course that would include a quick stop over in Bangkok to see friends I have there.


I have a hard time being "off" to tell you the truth. And as a mama of 2 kids (one who is home with me), I am rarely alone for fun... so a perfect off-call day would be a day I could have someone watch my son for a few hours while I spent that time alone. I think I would sleep! Or if I was feeling rested- I'd go for a swim, get a massage, and end it off with a book at a local coffee shop.


A coffee every morning is such a comfort thing. I wish I was more of a tea person but coffee wins with me.

Name one thing...

... you look back on in your life that makes you feel proud:

My kids, hands down, are my greatest source of pride. When I see them take risks, show compassion, go out of their way for others, that is what fills me up.

... that usually surprises people about you:

Maybe that I actually didn't enjoy breastfeeding for the first 6 months (with my oldest). It comes up sometimes with patient's and they are always shocked because I am a lactation consultant. It was a hard adjustment for me, especially with a personality that likes to plan and predict.

... that's always in your fridge or pantry:

Bowls and stir fry's are a staple dinner for us, so usually always have some tofu, rice, peppers, greens, and onions.

What is your favourite...







Toronto cafe?

Rooster on Broadview

Birth/Perinatal Book?

Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding



Beyond the Bio: Meet Kaia . . .

When you first meet Kaia you may feel like you've known her for a long time. Her warmth and grounded nature puts you at ease and there is something about her assuring you that whatever happens, she will have you back (and she will!). Always keeping her cool under pressure, Kaia is a great and nurturing listener and a can be a chatter once you get her going (it's even better over food and treats!).


What drew you to doula work?

I have long had an interest in childbirth but became more interested in working with maternal and reproductive health during my undergraduate degree where I focused on inequity and social barriers in women's health. I saw that there was a need and potential for improvement of care, but was unsure of what contribution I could make or which path I would take into advocating for more positive, empowering perinatal care. After completing this degree, I began working at a pre/postnatal studio where I was introduced to a community of prenatal and postnatal professionals, including birth doulas and realized immediately that I would enjoy working as a doula and came to see the amazing benefits of doula care. I attended my first birth a year later and was hooked

If you weren't a doula what would your alternate dream job be?

I would love to be gardener or florist! I love how creative, tactile and nurturing it is and find it so gratifying to see my plants grow. Plus, I love any job that lets me work outside and with nature. While I don't see myself pursuing this work now, I my 20+ plants at home keep me busy and it has become one of my favourite hobbies.

What did you want to be when you were in elementary school?

Everything. I was always changing what I wanted to be. I think that in everyone there was some element of helping others. I think then, and even now, its important to me that I contribute something positive through my work.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

My dream vacation would be a extended trip through Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia (I couldn't pick just one). I've haven't had the opportunity to travel anywhere in South America yet so thats a major factor in my choice, but I picked these three countries for their cultural and historical sites.

What would the perfect off-call day look like for you?

If the weather is nice, I would go on a bike ride or walk around the city. I really enjoy being outside and exploring new parts of the city. If not, I would probably spend the day cooking and baking and then have friends over for dinner!

Favourite vice (or two) that you have no guilt about?

Coffee! Having a good cup of coffee at a cafe is such a treat and one that regularly indulge in.

Name One Thing . . .


That sometimes you can be prepared for one thing and the opposite happens, but I've learned to trust my intuition and be open to this possibility,


I am really proud of the people in my life. I'm lucky to have such an amazing group of friends and family that contribute so much to my life and who have helped me grow into who I am today. The unconditional support and love is something I try to emulate daily, bringing this to every interaction I have.


I grew up in Caribbean and was born in Jamaica



What's your favourite . . .




Blue Whale




The Common (Bloor and Salem)


Penny simkin's The Birth Partner: It's a classic but I do find it straight forward and informative. I recently read Witches, Midwives, and Nurses by Barbara Ehrenreich, which was I found really inspiring.