WHAT IS A FULL SPECTRUM DOULA?

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So you may be wondering: what exactly is a "full spectrum doula"?

First, let's look at the word "doula" itself:

Modern Greek origin,
meaning female helper, maidservant,
rom Greek doulē (female slave)
(Merriam-Webster)

In the context of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, a doula refers to a trained support person who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to pregnant people, birth parents, and their families. 

Doulas are the solution to the gaps in the current maternity care system in Canada (and much of the developed world). For example, it is simply not possible for nurses, doctors, and even midwives to provide continuous labour support. Their focus and their responsibility is on the clinical aspects of the pregnancy and labour - basically, making sure that both mom and baby are safe and healthy. 

This is where doulas make a difference...
We step in to provide continuous care and support where it would otherwise be lacking. And we know it makes a difference in birthing outcomes.

I have digressed somewhat here because this is an area I'm passionate about - changing outcomes, protecting the birthing space, nd helping birth parents to advocate for what they want.

Back to the topic at hand...

A full spectrum doula is a support person who recognizes that pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period can have many different outcomes. 
In a nutshell, we provide support to people during the full spectrum of pregnancy and beyond...
...from conception, to abortions, miscarriages, stillbirths, adoptions, births, the postnatal period, and everything in between.

Support can look like a number of things, depending on the person and the situation, but some examples of how a full spectrum doula can offer support include:

O Miscarriages: providing comfort measures at home or in hospital for a managed miscarriage

O Stillbirths: holding space for the family and providing emotional and physical support during labour and delivery

O Abortions: providing information on options available and emotional support before and after

There are as many variations in the support provided by full spectrum doulas as there are people in the world, however no matter what type of support is needed we will provide it without judgement and with respectcompassion, and love.

As Miriam Zoila Pérez so eloquently puts it in "The Radical Doula Guide":
“I love this concept. I love the way it highlights how we provide support regardless of the pregnancy outcome. It also makes sense to me because a person who starts out their pregnany planning on a birth might instead end up with an abortion, a miscarriage, or an adoption. Why would we turn them away if the outcome changed?”

In a perfect world there would be no need for full spectrum doulas - no pregnancy would be unplanned, no pregnancy would unexpectedly end, and every parent would take their baby home from the hospital. 
Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world.

For more about the full spectrum doula movement from Miriam Zoila Pérez check out the videos below: