Prior to becoming a doula, I had a long and rewarding 30-year career as a Registered Nurse. I worked 15 years at Sunny Hill Hospital in pediatric rehabilitation and 15 years at BC Women’s Hospital in antenatal, labour and delivery, postpartum and surgical day care. I retired from nursing in 2016.
I’m passionate about working with women. In my time at BC Women’s, I have cared for countless pregnant women and have witnessed many childbirths. The inner strength and determination that women have in bringing their child to the world never fails to amaze me. A child’s birth is one of the most powerful moments in a woman’s life and I am always honoured to be a part of it.
Health, happiness, and safety are the main essential components that every parent wants to provide for their children. I believe that a healthy pregnancy to a healthy child starts even before conception. I have the knowledge and the background to support and educate the parents and the family in the prenatal period, during labor, and in the postpartum period. Having worked as a nurse for the majority of my life, I also strongly believe in prevention. I can teach about how to prevent postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum depression, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Shaken Baby Syndrome, tooth decay etc.
I immigrated to Canada from Vietnam in 1980. As English is not my first language, I have particular empathy for people with language barriers at the hospital. I know firsthand the fear and frustration of not being able to communicate or understand the medical system. Through my personal experience and my time as a nurse, I’ve realized how essential it is to have a caregiver to advocate and communicate on your behalf during your time as a patient.
I am a wife and mother of two daughters. Other than work, my hobbies are cooking, dancing, hiking and travel. I love exploring different ethnic dishes and as a side passion project, I run cooking workshops on Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai cuisines.
15 years as a Registered Nurse in antenatal, labor & delivery, postpartum and in gynecology surgical day care at BC Women’s Hospital
15 years as a Registered Nurse in pediatric rehabilitation at Sunny Hill Hospital
B.C.I.T Perinatal Nursing Specialty
B.C.I.T Perinatal OR Nursing
Douglas College DONA International Birth Doula Training Course
Douglas College Breastfeeding for Health Care Providers
Services and rates
I have a complimentary consultation (30 min - 1 hr) with you and your partner to find out if we are a good fit to work together as well as to provide preliminary information about the process.
Areas of service: Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam and New Westminster.
The Complete Doula Package: $1100 to $1500
Two prenatal visits in the comfort of your home
Unlimited email, text, and phone support
Continuous support for you before childbirth
Accompaniment during labor until childbirth no matter how many hours it may take, and continuing through the first hour postpartum.
One postpartum follow-up visit in your home after the birth
I will meet with you and your partner in two 1-2 hour consultations before labor at your home to become acquainted, explore your health, as well as discuss breastfeeding, your priorities and any fears or concerns, your birth plan and expectations, and to plan how we might best work together. We also discuss your best ways of coping with pain and fatigue and how you and your partner foresee working together. Also I will teach some prenatal exercises to help with labor and delivery.
When you’re in the early stages of labor, I stay with you at home and help you cope with the pain, stay hydrated, and decide when to go to the hospital. At the hospital, I help you communicate with the medical staff and make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labor.
I'm also there to help you stay positive. I provide reassurance, encouragement and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress and help with relaxation, positioning and other techniques to ease the labor pain for comfort.
I usually remain with you for one hour after birth, until you and the baby are comfortable and settled in and your family is ready for quiet time together. I can also help with initial breastfeeding. During your hospital stay, I'm still available by phone or text for any questions or concerns you might have. We will arrange one postpartum follow-up visit once you’re at home to see how you and your baby are doing. During the visit I'll go over the birth experience, baby care, self care, breastfeeding, etc.
I am available to you by phone, text, or email for 4 weeks of your postpartum period.
Postpartum Services: $45 per hour
The first few months following your child's birth is a crucial period where you recover from the birth, and when you and your newborn start to forge your relationship together. Postpartum services are great after the birth of your baby for further education and guidance. I support your family in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable in your new roles as parents.
Depending on your needs, I can come to your home 3-6 hours a day, for 2 or more days per week in the 2 to 10 weeks following your child's birth. I provide breast or bottle-feeding guidance, support with feeding issues, share knowledge on typical newborn development as well as challenges associated with newborn care (ex. infant bathing, infant soothing, newborn massage, etc.).
I can also free up some "you-time" by looking after you newborn baby, doing some light housekeeping or preparing simple meals so you can take a hot shower and catch-up on your self care and recovery.
Lactation Services: $450
Breastfeeding challenges are the most common issues that new mothers experience. Using the traditional Chinese method of cupping. I can help with milk let-down, prevent blockages within the milk ducts and mastitis (inflammation of the breast tissue).
The optimal time for this treatment is 24-48 hours after natural birth or 48-72 hours after Cesarean section birth. It may require up to 3 treatments in order to achieve results.
The Complete Doula Package plus Lactation Services: $1450
$80 per visit or $500 for up to 8 doctor visits until childbirth.
I can accompany you and your partner to your medical appointments to provide translation. This includes doctor/obstetrician visits, ultrasound visits, non-stress-test, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a doula?
A doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth and the postpartum period.
The most important role of the doula is providing consistent, continuous emotional reassurance, encouragement, and comfort to the woman during childbirth. That includes informing you and your partner about your labor, advising on and offering comfort measures to ease labor pain, and collaborating with other health professionals.
A doula can also support the partner and the family through the childbirth and postpartum adjustment.
Who should hire a doula?
Every pregnant woman, especially first time mothers-to-be, should hire a doula for their childbirth.
Why should I hire a doula for my birth?
Giving birth to a child is one of the most challenging journeys and rewarding experiences you will go through in your life. You may be experiencing doubts about your pregnancy, you may have anxiety or fear about labor pain during childbirth, and you may feel overwhelmed with how to deal with the changes in your body.
When you hire a doula, you have continuous support throughout your pregnancy. Your doula can help and coach you through the overwhelming and confusing world of pregnancy and childbirth.
Hiring a doula means having 24/7 access to someone experienced in pregnancy and childbirth. Included in my services is your unlimited access to me before, during, and after childbirth. You can call, email, or text whenever you need.
What don’t doulas do?
As a doula, I do not perform clinical tasks such as blood pressure monitoring, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and other medical interventions. I do not make diagnoses. I am there to provide only physical comfort and emotional support.
I also do not make decisions for you. Rather, I advocate for you and help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision.
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
Midwives are medically-trained professionals who are primarily responsible for the health and well-being of the mother and baby. They assess the condition of the mother and the fetus, make diagnoses and treat complications as they arise, and focus on the safe delivery of the baby.
Doulas are professionals who primarily focus on providing a positive outlook and physical comfort to the laboring mothers. They help to ensure these needs are met through communication and understanding between the woman, her partner, and the staff.
My partner and I don’t speak English, do you provide translating services?
I am fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English, and conversational in Vietnamese. My translation services are included in my doula services. I can be an intermediary between yourself and the medical system.
However, if you would like me to accompany you to your doctor appointments from pregnancy to childbirth (ex. ultrasound, NST assessment, etc.), there would be an extra charge. Please see my services page for more details.
How do I pay for your service?
When you decide to hire me, a deposit of 50% non-refundable service cost is due. The other non-refundable half would be paid one month prior to your due date.
If I had to choose one word to describe Suzanna’s nature it would be kindness. She is a woman that anyone would be lucky to know. She is always positive, helpful, and patient. Her knowledge about labour is extensive as she has so many years of experience. Suzanna always knows just what to do, and what may happen next. She knows every labour position, how to ease pain, how to involve the partner in the process, and knows just what is best for mom and baby. She can help and prepare any woman to bring her baby into this world. I was lucky enough to know Suzanna: it would be a blessing for any woman that chooses her as their doula.
Jenni, Registered Nurse & Parent
Suzanna is a very hardworking and dedicated person with years of experience as a nurse caring for women and babies. She makes an amazing doula because she is extremely supportive and caring and makes everyone feel like family. My experience with Suzanna has been unforgettable. She is simply one of the best.
Wanda, Registered Nurse
I very much appreciated Suzanna’s professional doula help in my labor and delivery of my twin boys. Suzanna worked there as a Registered Nurse before. Almost all the staff (doctors and nurses) knew her and greeted her. My doctor even commented that I hired the best doula in Vancouver to help me. Because of my twins, I had to deliver them in the surgery room. Usually only one support person, my husband, is allowed with me in the delivery room. Once the doctor saw Suzanna, he said that Suzanna belonged to the hospital family and definitely had to stay. Suzanna acted like a professional nurse who answered all my questions and concerns; she even helped with the doctors in the room.
Katherine, Mother of twins | BC Women's Hospital
I have known Suzanna for more than 10 years. I worked with her when she was a Registered Nurse at BC Women’s Hospital. She has also been a doula for a few of my patients. She is an outstanding doula, one of the very best!
Dr. M. Rosergarten, OB | BC Women's Hospital
Suzanna is a very patient and kind doula. She provided me with such attentive care for more than 20 hours during my first labour. She taught me many ways to ease my labour pain and supported me until the birth of my baby. It being my first baby, I was very nervous but she gave me lots of support, guidance and encouragement. I'm so grateful to have such an amazing doula!
Jojo, New mother | Richmond Hospital
I have known Suzanna for 15 years when she worked as a Registered Nurse in the Labor & Delivery Suite at BC Women's Hospital. She has supported so many of my patients. Now working as a doula, I really appreciate her medical expertise and nursing background.
Dr. B. Tan, MD | Richmond Hospital
My wife and I recently had our first child. We knew we wanted to use a doula, and went through the process of trying to determine which was the best for us. There are several important reasons we selected Suzanna Van, and through the pre- and post-natal care she has exceeded our expectations and provided truly exceptional service.
My wife's native language is Mandarin and mine is English. We knew that having a doula who could speak both languages would be a great asset, and Suzanna is fluent in Mandarin and English (and Vietnamese and Cantonese for that matter). But beyond speaking fluently, Suzanna is an effective communicator. She explains things in a manner that is both practical and compassionate. Suzanna's background as a nurse at Women's Hospital provides additional comfort for those who are planning a hospital birth as well as a home birth. The combination of skills she brings from her doula experience are complimented with her work experience as a nurse.
Suzanna is very well organized. She provided an extremely helpful booklet to guide us through the pregnancy process. She was on time and always of use to us both, in particular helping my wife cope with each contraction and guiding her towards a successful delivery.
Suzanna also offers training to help mothers nurse. In the first days after birth, we were both a bit overwhelmed and having her as aresource has been a blessing. In addition, when she arrived we had been dealing with a baby who would not sleep and could only be consoled if we held him, which meant we were not getting the rest we needed. Suzanna quickly taught us how to swaddle our son and he has been resting peacefully for several hours since, allowing my wife to get some much needed and deserved sleep. This is not something one should underestimate the value of!
We know there are lots of choices expectant parents need to make, and it can be overwhelming. We all just want to do what is best for our babies. We can say without reservation, that choosing Suzanna Van as our doula was the best choice for our new family, and we recommend her services without reservation.
Gina & Doug, New parents, Home birth, 2018
Questions? Drop me a line by email or phone.
Areas of service: Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam and New Westminster.