Birth Companion Program Volunteers are women over the age of 18, who are trained to provide our clients with reassurance, comfort, support and guidance as well as linking them with community resources and support services.
- Make phone contact with the client within 48 hours of being matched.
- Meet within one week of being matched.
- Upon first meeting the client, discuss the program, the client’s expectations and assess needs.
- Ensure the necessary documents are understood and signed.
- Maintain contact with the client via text, phone, email and log all communications
- Empower the client to seek out appropriate solutions by exploring community supports and resources such as Community Health Centres, Community Resource Centres, Healthy Babies Healthy Children, Ottawa Food bank, Mothercraft donation cupboard, etc.
- Identify and build on the strengths of the client. Communicate genuine respect and praise for what is going well.
- Meet with the client 2-3 times prenatally at a mutually agreed upon time and place.
- Listen to what is being said verbally and non-verbally. Encourage communication by allowing the client to disclose her areas of concern at her own pace and discretion.
- Respect the client and their circumstances by not imposing your standards, beliefs or values on her.
- Discuss birth preferences and choices for labour and delivery. Help the client to create a birth plan, if desired.
- Be understanding and tolerant.
- Respect cultural differences and birth practices.
- Provide emotional support and encouragement throughout the pregnancy.
- Encourage good prenatal care, attendance to scheduled appointments, prenatal education, healthy eating etc.
- Be present with the client once active labour begins and remain with her throughout the birthing process.
- Encourage the client to speak on her own behalf, ask for clarification and direct questions to primary care givers and hospital staff. Always be mindful of the delicate balance between medical staff and support staff.
- Be aware of how each client perceives their labor and delivery as well as any unexpected outcomes. Always discuss the labour and delivery at the client’s discretion, being mindful to remain neutral and supportive.
- Meet with the client up to 2-3 times postnatal, maintaining supportive contact up to 6 weeks postpartum. Re-assess needs and help mobilize community/professional resources and supports.
- Maintain regular contact with BPCP staff and communicate any concerns or difficulties as they arise.
- Promise to do only those services which you know you can safely and appropriately fulfill.
- Be patient with yourself and the client. Building trust and rapport takes time.
- Be aware of your own boundaries and how to maintain a healthy and empowering relationship rather than one of dependence with the client.
- Clearly communicate to your client when the last visit will take place and be sensitive when closing a match. Ensure the Match Closure Form is signed by both parties.
- If you choose to continue a relationship with the client beyond your role as their Birth Companion, please ensure the client is aware that you are doing so at your own discretion and not as a Companion with the BPCP.
- Notify BPCP staff immediately if there has been an incident, you feel unsafe or are not comfortable with your match.
- Maintain strict confidentiality at all times and adhere to program policies.
- Complete necessary documentation/forms and forward them to BPCP staff.
- Attend a minimum of one professional development opportunity provided by the BPCP per year.
The training is 20 hours in length, at 2.5 hours a week for 8 weeks, (1 evening a week OR Saturday mornings) and includes but is not limited to the following topics: anatomy and physiology, stages of labour, comfort measures, working with marginalized populations and support during the postpartum phase. If accepted into the program, you are committing to taking a match within 6 months of training and being a volunteer for a minimum of 1 year.
*Please note, the Birth Companion program is not a Birth Doula certification program.
Step 1: Complete and return the application form
. You will receive confirmation that we have received your completed application.
Step 2: Selected applicants will be invited for an interview. We will be interviewing in February and March for the April/May training and in the summer months for the October/November training.
Step 3: References will be contacted.
Step 4: Selected applicants will receive the document required to obtain a Police Records Check for Serving Vulnerable Sector and be asked to complete this process as soon as possible.
Step 5: Applicants will be notified if have been accepted into the program.