AOD - Scope of Practice

 Association of Ontario Doulas – Scope of Practice

The Association of Ontario Doulas (AOD), formerly called Doula C.A.R.E. represents the doula profession in Ontario, and its members. In order to become an AOD doula, the doula must be trained and/or certified by one of the currently approved training organizations (see website for current organizations).

An AOD Labour Doula provides non-medical, emotional, physical and evidence-based informational support to a labouring person and their partner and family during the prenatal period, birth and the immediate postpartum period.

Such support may include, but is not limited to:

-          Comfort measure suggestions including position changes, comforting touch, movement, visualization, encouragement, relaxation and breathing techniques

-          Offering assistance in obtaining up-to-date, evidence-based information to encourage self advocacy and informed decision making

-          Offering referrals when a situation arises that requires additional attention and support that falls outside the doula’s scope of practice

-          Modelling and encouraging effective communication strategies within the birthing team

-          Assistance in formulating realistic birth preferences that match the client’s values and needs and their chosen place of birth

-          Initial breastfeeding support and encouragement of skin to skin

-          Offering continuity of care. A specific back up should be found for all clients so the labouring person and their family are never left unsupported.

An AOD Doula does not:

-          Diagnose or preform medical procedures such as assessing fetal heart tones, taking blood pressure, preforming vaginal exams, reading and interpreting medical tests and diagnoses, temperature taking or postnatal clinical care.

-          Attend births that are intentionally unassisted (births that do not have a trained or qualified medical professional in attendance)

-          Make decisions and/or speak for the birthing person