Saphren Ma

She/Her
Birth Doula
Location: Vancouver & Lower Mainland
Families Served: 88 +
Birth Package: $2,000 - $1,400 - + Agency Fee & Taxes
Experienced Supporting: 2SLGBTQIA+ Families, BIPGM Families, Immigrant and/or Refugee Families, Low-Income Families, Single Parenthood, Neurodivergent Persons, High Risk Pregnancy Care
Get to know Saphren

Birth Doula Package

Open detailed birth package here — for support on navigating sliding scale pricing, click here.

Prenatal Care
  • 3 in-person prenatal visits
  • Text and phone support from hire to 2 months postpartum
  • Unlimited tailored and curated resources and information
  • Curated evidence-based and trauma-informed digital Birthing Resource Packet.
  • Includes Brood’s Family Membership, with access to our 5 online courses, virtual private clubhouse, and the member’s area.
  • Colostrum collection kit with written and video instructions.
Birth Attendance
  • Continuous support beginning from the moment you need it
  • Use of TENS machine, massage, position changes, essential oils, ambient lighting, affirmations, and acupressure
  • Birth photography add-on for an additional $400
  • Light tidying at home birth
  • First latch support
Postpartum Support
  • 1-2 postpartum visits
  • Unlimited text, phone, and email support for the first 2 months postpartum
  • Referrals and help with finding additional support from the community

About

What languages do you speak?

English + I can understand French and get by!

What is your personal definition of “doula”?

My understanding of my role as a doula is to provide informational, emotional, and physical support for my clients. I am a fierce advocate, and believe in informed decision-making, the FRIES acronym for consent, and supporting clients in trusting their bodies and physiological birth.

What brought you to birth and postpartum work?

At the age of 9, I had the privilege of witnessing the birth of my little sister and it changed my life completely. I fell in love with all things pregnancy, birth, and babies. I grew up shadowing every Midwife, OBGYN, nurse, GP, and doula I could, and attended conferences and workshops on birth throughout my childhood. By the age of 13, I had witnessed 12 births, and even helped catch a baby! My passion lies in empowering my clients to take charge of their birth and advocating for themselves.

In a climate of caregiver burnout, how are you caring for yourself?

Having experienced multiple phases of burnout, I now have a much better idea of how best to support myself. I have a close doula friend who happens to live in my neighborhood, and we make time to go on walks together to debrief each other’s recent births, and just have some good laughs (and cries). I pack food and remember to hydrate, and am getting so much better at napping when I can, and knowing when to take breaks. Planning days and months off call have also been fantastic.

What is a standout book, movie/tv, etc about the childbearing/parenting journey that you return to?
PODCAST
  • The Midwives’ Cauldron
MOVIE
  • Birth Story
  • The Business of Being Born
BOOKS
  •  The Baby Catcher
  • Birthing From Within
  • Rediscovering Birth
Trainings
BIRTH
  • Birth Doula Workshop, DONA
  • Birth Doula Training, Wise Women Way of Birth
  • VBAC Further Education, My Powerful Birth
  • TENS machine training, SCBP
POST-SECONDARY
  • BA Major in Visual Arts, BA
WORKSHOPS
FOR YOUR PERSONAL LEARNING, WHAT IS THE WORKSHOP/TRAINING ON YOUR RADAR?
  • Spinning Babies certification
  • Infant CPR
  • Nursing Support!

Testimonials

I can’t even begin to express how grateful we are that Saphren was a part of our pregnancy and delivery. I know within minutes of meeting her virtually that she was the one. Her calm demeanour, ability to put me at ease, and knowledge were the kinds of things I knew I would need. Every time we met, I felt more and more prepared for labour and delivery. The last couple weeks of my pregnancy were challenging physically and emotionally and she was always just a text or call away. When it came to our time in the hospital, Saphren was there to support me, help me with pain management and guide my husband in how he could best support me and be part of the birth experience. Labour and delivery can be daunting, especially as a first time mom. But Saphren was there every step of the way. She did her best to help me have the birth experience I wanted and knew just how to reassure me during moments I was feeling nervous or overwhelmed. We also opted to photograph the birth which was wonderful. It all felt like a bit of a blur so getting to look back on it was such a beautiful and emotional experience. We will be forever grateful to Saphren for being such an incredible support system and guide. Thank you for all that you’ve done for us and our little girl. You will always have a very special place in our hearts! —  Nikki

Saphren was an invaluable member of our pregnancy and birth team. My husband and I were expecting our first child and were unsure of how to navigate our way through prenatal care and birth planning. Saphren provided us with so much information that we were missing and helped us find prenatal classes, midwifery care, and plenty of research backed resources for us to utilize. All of our conversations with Saphren left us feeling more informed, empowered, and confident. During my scheduled c-section, Saphren was there at every step to explain what was happening and what to expect. While the surgery team was focused on the procedure, Saphren had all her focus on me and was able to really guide me through the process and keep me present- she also took a number of photographs and videos that I am so grateful to have to remember the experience. I truly feel looking back that having Saphren by our side made all the difference and greatly improved our entire pregnancy and birth experience – I cannot recommend her enough! — Sam

Ali and I can’t speak highly enough about the attention and care that we were provided through our entire birth experience by Saphren. We knew from our very first zoom call that she would be a great fit for us and she didn’t disappoint. She was always responsive to any questions we had at any time during Ali’s pregnancy. Our visits with her left us feeling more educated and excited about the upcoming labour. Saphren’s calm but direct approach along with her great sense of humor left us reassured that she would be a great support and advocate for us on the big day. When it came to Ali’s labour’s Saphren was an incredible part of our birth team. She helped Ali with staying relaxed focused and positive throughout. She said all the right things at the right times. She also was a great support for me helping me to remember to take care of both myself so that I could be present in a meaningful way with Ali.

She played this key role during the labour and somehow managed to capture every beautiful moment on camera. The pictures were beyond what we had expected given we had all the lights off in the room. We will cherish the images forever. We still don’t know how she managed to stay so present with us while also capturing these moments so perfectly. As we navigate through these first few weeks as new parents we are so so thankful to have her continued support. Saphren is incredible and this new family are her biggest fans!! —  Ali, Shane, and baby Saive

Going into pregnancy, I thought I wanted a doula and I am so glad with our decision. Saphren was the only doula we met and her balance of science and intuition worked for my partner and I. She completely changed the path of our birth and empowered me in so many ways. Her knowledge and understanding of birth and hormones is inspiring and she guided us through the process with ease. We laboured at home until 10cm and I witnessed how different her role is from a midwife during that time. My mom, partner, midwife, and Saphren were all present and they all took on such different roles. Saphren supported my partner, allowing him to support me and process the labour on his own. Saphren encouraged me to labour in several different positions and intuitively knew when my body was transitioning into the next stages. Once at the hospital, it felt comforting to know that Saphren was on my side and had witnessed our labouring process to advocate for what I needed. She took photos throughout our labour and delivery and I am so grateful she captured the whole process. I cannot recommend her enough and words can never express how grateful I am to have had her there. —  Jaclyn

My experience with Brood was excellent, all the way through. Communication with Emma and getting matched with a doula was easy and efficient. Me and my husband met with our doula Saphren multiple times during pregnancy to talk about options, preferences, her experiences, and more. I felt so much more informed and empowered as a result of these meetings. During the birth, she was there with her quiet confidence and intuitive understanding of what was needed at that moment. She fit in seamlessly with the dynamic between my mom, my husband, the midwife, and the hospital staff. Whether you need an encouraging coach, gentle support, or a fierce advocate, I would trust Saphren with all of these roles. I also appreciated the extra resources I was connected to through Brood. I will recommend them to pregnant friends going forward! — Evelyn

Our experience from start to finish with Brood was incredible. They are timely in their email responses and setting up services. I love their approach of “interviewing” a couple of doulas that they think would be a match, after a conversation about what you are looking for. We chose Saphren Ma as our Doula and we could not have been happier. She was knowledgeable, kind, open to our preferences, and a huge advocate in the hospital on the big day. She prepped us in our sessions leading up to labor so we went into what could have been a stressful day with ease and understanding of what we wanted. When things didn’t go “as planned” (when does it with labor??), she was an amazing soundboard and advocate, which ultimately created an incredibly positive birthing experience. I would use her again in a heartbeat and highly recommend her to anybody looking for a Doula. — Jessica

The lovely team at Brood helped match us with Saphren, who coached us through my first pregnancy and delivery. I’m grateful for their thorough and kind care and for Saphren’s calming, supportive presence. Highly recommend! — Anne Marie

I am so glad we hired Saphren as our doula! During our early meetings, she provided all the information and resources I needed to make informed decisions about my labor. Once I had settled on a plan (I was open to an epidural but wanted to try other pain management strategies first), she made clear that she would stand behind me and advocate for all my choices. During labor, she came to my house twice in the night to support us and ultimately rode with us to the hospital. At the hospital, she spent hours spraying warm water on my back while my partner held me in the tub. Ultimately, I needed/chose a c-section for non-progressing and she supported me all through that as well. Although some would see my labor as hard (a few hours of unmedicated pushing and a c-section), I recall it as an empowering experience for me and a bonding experience for my partner and I, and I think Saphrens support is what made the difference!! Her photography and postpartum support were also great! — Katie

Saphren was an indispensable part of my pregnancy and birth journey. She was able to support me in so many ways: by truly listening to my hopes and my concerns, by providing me with (so much!) information and resources when I asked, and by being available to discuss and debrief questions/issues from my appointments, and by being so open-hearted and deeply caring in her approach. Saphren was the best decision I made!! Her groundedness, her calm and steady voice, and her unwavering presence with and for me at my home birth contributed to it being an absolutely magical experience. She also took exceptional photos of the labor and birth that I will be forever grateful for. — Eira

I write this with my baby happily sleeping on my chest. Saphren is calm, understanding, and clear. Her guidance and support gave us the confidence to feel in control (despite the many things out of our control during birth). She was able to walk us through many scenarios and present them with nuance, making us prepared to make decisions regardless of where the journey went. During the wee hours of labor, I felt safer knowing she was on our team. I cannot imagine going through our birthing process without her quiet strength. Thank you Saphren. — Adrien

Saphren is simply amazing! As someone who does not feel very at ease in hospitals, I was very anxious about being able to support my partner during labor, but Saphren’s calm aura and a vast bag of tools to be used made the whole experience so much more bearable for my wife and erased all the fears I had on my end. We did not really know what a doula was before, but we now recommend to all of our friends to get one, and Saphren really painted the best portrait possible ever for all doulas out there. She helped us having a perfect birth, and made us feel good about everything during all stages (pre-labor, early labor, and of course during labor!). Can’t recommend Saphren enough, if we had to go through it all again, we would not change a thing. — Matthieu

This is my first birth and my partner and I feel so lucky to be matched with Saphren as our doula. We had a really positive experience in the form of a water birth. From the get-go, Saphren’s calm energy and knowledge regarding birthing helped us feel more confident and empowered leading up to the labor. During my labor, Saphren and my partner were my ultimate support team, and we developed a rhythm that I found comforting while having contractions. Saphren is intuitive and observant and was able to anticipate my needs. She also recommended different positions that helped with my contractions. Saphren helped us achieve our ideal birth experience. Without Saphren, we would have likely changed our plan so we are so happy that she was able to steer us to achieve our original wishes. I recommend Saphren to anyone looking for a doula and if we have a second child, we would most definitely want Saphren as our doula! — Kelly

I didn’t plan to have a doula and thankfully Saphren was open to the last-minute nature of my request. I wanted my birth to be experiential and intuitive. I didn’t want to spend endless hours reading about what to expect. I relied on Saphren to research and advise on topics that were important to me. I trusted her birthing knowledge and wisdom. Her approach was gentle, empowering, and reassuring. She listened to my partner’s concerns and eased his anxiety which, provided relief for me. The birth photography was a beautiful gift. Thank you Saphren! — Jas

I cannot say enough about our experience with Saphren. From the get-go, I felt a very calm energy and a genuine connection (even over video chat!) she asked lots of questions to understand our wishes for this birth and provided lots of options and information for us to look into ahead of time. We checked in frequently as the day grew closer, and she was always quick to calm any concerns or answer any questions I had. The night I went into labor was fast and furious and although we were only at the hospital an hour together before my baby was born, I truly couldn’t have imagined her not being there! She was a calming presence and even though it was the first time we met in person, I instantly felt safe and supported. I vividly remember her saying “You’re in transition, so close now.”, at the exact moment I was feeling that transition anxiety. It was what I needed to hear to keep going. Even though we didn’t get deep into her bag of tricks, as this baby came fast, her being right there for me (quickly setting up the room with candles and lowering the lights, providing counter pressure on my lower back / suggesting different pushing positions, getting me toast right after delivery) was exactly what I needed. My partner also loved having another person there to help support us. She also took some incredible photos/videos!! We didn’t have a doula with our first, and I wish we did. I couldn’t recommend Saphren enough to any future parents out there! — Melanie

We had a really positive birthing experience and Saphren was a big part of that. She was reassuring throughout, provided suggestions to my partner to help me cope, and was able to ask for things for me while we were at the hospital that I would not have known about or asked for. She even went on a long 3-hour walk with us around the hospital to help me progress the labor further. The TENS machine that she had made contractions much more bearable and she also took some photos that we otherwise would not have taken. She has a very calming energy and I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a doula! — Sandy

We were so lucky to be matched with Saphren as our doula. I couldn’t imagine going through the birthing experience without her calm, kind presence. We were extra surprised by the early arrival of our baby girl at 36 weeks. Saphren immediately helped calm and reassure me that the baby would be fine (which she is) and ease me through the process of unexpected labor (no easy feat considering I was a panicked first-time parent!) She was so supportive during the process, there with a gentle word or offering me a cold beverage when I didn’t know I needed it. She also helped my husband with his role in supporting me in labor by offering guidance and suggestions. Saphren is also an extremely talented photographer. She utilizes her background in the Visual Arts and was able to take some wonderful photos of the birth which was a surprise and pleasure to have. During our follow-up visit, she was able to provide wonderful resources and care for me and our baby and helped talk me through some postpartum mental health struggles I was having. I cannot speak highly enough of Saphren. She was simply amazing: kind, professional, uplifting, and just an awesome human. If I had another baby I would want her right by my side. —Kathy

Saphren was actually our “substitute” doula when I learned our original doula was unavailable as I went into labor. While originally anxious about the last-minute change of plan, this ended up being completely serendipitous and I feel so grateful and fortunate to have had Saphren to support me throughout my hospital birth at BC Women’s Hospital. Saphren was able to come and meet my husband and I at the hospital very shortly after we were admitted. As someone with a lot of anxieties around labor and delivery, she was such an amazingly calming and reassuring support to me. She seemed to draw upon her many years of experience to suggest different techniques and strategies for pain management, from assisting me with the TENS machine and spending (what felt like) *hours* repeatedly pouring pails of warm water on my lower back while I labored in the bathtub. She truly provided the encouragement I needed as a nervous, first-time parent and was completely devoted to my comfort the entire time she was with us. Even after the birth of my child, she continued to look attend to my needs bringing me juice and some much-needed PB&J toast! Somehow (!!) Saphren was even able to send us over 100 photographs of our labor and beautiful newborn son. While she’d mentioned she’d take some pictures beforehand, my husband and I were both genuinely shocked as we had *barely* seen her take any pictures at all when she was with us. There is no way to express what it means to us to have photos of the very moment my son was born and placed on my chest for the first time. Being a doula is obviously a sacred calling for Saphren and my family is beyond lucky that the stars aligned to have her support and care. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Saphren! — Vanessa

From beginning to end, Saphren played a huge part in our birth story. She knew my birth plan and was able to share that with the nurses when I was not. She asked questions that I didn’t know to ask. She gave my husband some techniques to help coach me through the pain. She gave me options that I didn’t know I had. Every question I had, she was able to answer.  The bonus on our end is that she has a professional camera and asked if we wanted to have photos taken. Looking back, we would probably have no photos of our little one coming into the world, as Dad was busy cutting the cord and I was in awe with our little babe. Saphren, thanks again for being so great. — Monique & George

Having Saphren at the birth of my daughter was so wonderful. From about 35 weeks on she was always available for me to call/text with questions, and she always made sure to check in at least once a week. Then when I first started going into labor, she sat with me at home in the middle of the night while my contractions got more painful and closer together – helping me find new positions during the contractions and showing my family techniques to help me get through them. She was there timing and helping us decide when to go to the hospital, which took that stress away from us. Even those small things meant so much! Saphren provided so much emotional and physical support throughout the 33 hours of labor to both me and my family. And having her around during this incredibly challenging and magical event in my life was so special. Not only that, but when I returned home she sent me over one hundred beautiful, emotional, and candid pictures of the birth to look back on. I will cherish those pictures forever! I am very grateful that I had her there and I can’t imagine having done it without her and her calm, loving presence. Thank you so much Saphren for being a part of my labor and my daughter’s birth. Your role in the process was so huge and I will never forget your support and kindness throughout the hardest, yet most rewarding experience of my life. — Ella

Saphren jumped in last as our substitute doula and was amazing! She helped my husband find ways to help me which kept him focused instead of stressed and the positions and breath guidance she gave to me were invaluable in the moment. I was lucky to have a very short labor but it was made even easier by Saphren’s calm demeanor and steady support. Thank you Saphren! — Debbie

Saphren is an incredibly calm, knowledgeable, and kind doula. She was a true rock throughout my entire labor experience — from providing support during the over 24 hours of early labor to coaching me through the final stages of active labor. Saphren taught my husband and me a wide variety of methods to help me cope with the pain — and her reassuring words are ones that I will never forget. In addition to supporting us, she also captured some beautiful images of our baby’s first moments of life and visited us at home in her first few weeks. My husband and I will be forever grateful for our wonderful doula experience with Saphren. — Kerry

Saphren is an excellent doula and I am so pleased to have chosen her to be my support throughout this journey. I can describe Saphren as kind, passionate, dedicated to her profession, reliable, and easy to communicate with. I gave birth to my baby in 2017 in a Vancouver hospital with a Midwife. Sahren played a key support role during my labor and delivery and despite the birth process itself being more difficult and complex than anticipated, it was Saphren’s experience, knowledge, calm disposition, consistent support, and ability to work well with other professionals that got me through it and helped me accomplish my personal goal of feeling empowered and not traumatized by the event. Furthermore, her support before and after the birth was very helpful and appreciated. If I ever have a second pregnancy I will most certainly choose to hire Saphren again. I highly recommend her to you. — Tracy

Saphren was recommended as a backup doula while mine was out of town on vacation. We did not have the opportunity to meet and were only introduced over text messages. Unexpectedly I went into labor on Labor Day and texted Saphren right away. She was available and open to coming to us immediately or as we wished. She made sure to be available for what our needs and requests were. We waited until the pain was quite intense and then phoned her that she was needed. When Saphren arrived she immediately brought a sense of calm. I felt as if I had known her forever and she dove right in to help. She began by discussing how I was doing with my husband and seeing what felt like a relief in my discomfort first. When I shared being on all 4’s was helpful she tried some pressure on my back and hips. What I loved was she always asked if she could try something. She kept reassuring me how well I was doing and suggested changes in my breathing. Once we all agreed on going to the hospital, having her there felt like we had our own guide. She knew her way around and ensured I did not need to think about anything. At the hospital, Saphren ensured me that I was in a safe place. Even though we didn’t have a chance to go over my birth plan, we were on the same page! I wanted to have an unmedicated birth and Saphren made sure to provide me with the strength, calmness, and reassurance that I could do it. I particularly loved the toast she gave me right after birth which gave me some energy! She also then has come to visit our little miracle Enzo, now that we are home! I strongly believe I wouldn’t have had the labor and delivery the way I did without her! — Andrea

From the first meeting with Saphren, I knew that she was the right fit and that I wanted her to be at the birth of my baby. Throughout my pregnancy, she would text/email me to see how we were doing and to ask if I had any questions about prenatal classes, labor strategies, and ways to cope with pain management. I always felt like she was thinking one step ahead and preparing us for the journey of birth that lay ahead. I was 11 days overdue. Saphren would check in every few days to see how I was doing and to offer foot & hand massages as well as a few other methods to help get my labor started naturally. She was always there to offer up suggestions as well as encouraging words to help keep my spirits up. It’s not easy being overdue. I was induced on the 11th day with cervidil. We went home to see if we could get labor started with some easy walking. Saphren was the first person we called when the contractions started to come closer together. She was quick to arrive and never left my side. She came prepared with massage techniques, lavender-scented oil, and calm energy. As labor progressed she stayed in touch with our Midwives and helped us decide when it was time to head to the hospital. At the hospital, she set the scene by dimming the lights and setting up flameless candles. She was pivotal to my comfort during labor. She massaged my back, applied pressure on my hips during contractions and continuously poured water over my stomach while I labored in the bath. After our babe was delivered there were some complications and I had to be rushed off to surgery. Saphren remained calm and assisted my husband every step of the way. After we arrived home she texted to make sure we were doing well and visited after a few days to help us decompress about our labor and delivery. She even baked the most delicious muffins. I would highly recommend Saphren to anyone looking for a great doula! — Amber

We first met Saphren after she had gotten referred to us by our Midwife. She came to our home and instantly we could tell she was a very sweet and kind person. Throughout the pregnancy, she ensured me that I was able to email or text her whenever I had a question or was worried about anything. Of course, I had taken her up on her offer and she was very responsive and helpful. She sent links to different websites for different stages of my pregnancy to let me know what I was experiencing was normal, but also what was to come. If she was unsure about something she was honest about it and informed us to go visit our Midwife instead. A week from my due date, Saphren and I kept in contact every day throughout the day. She was very attentive and when it came time, she was over at my house within half an hour! During the birth, Saphren helped me feel relaxed which made my partner feel better. She stayed during the entire labor (over 30 hours at the hospital and approx 6 hours at home) and after my baby was born. We insisted she rests or go get something to eat (we felt awful because she was with us for 2 whole days!) But she said she was prepared with snacks and was rested and not to worry about her but to focus on how I’m feeling. Saphren is an excellent doula and I would definitely love to have her again for my next one! You will not be let down. — Vicky

We had the amazing experience of having Saphren with us during the labor and birth of our son. Saphren helped us through laboring at home, utilizing a variety of relaxing techniques to help me through the pain and monitor the progress of the labor. By the time we got to the hospital, I was already 7 cm dilated. Labor can be a very intense and very painful experience and it takes someone with compassion, intuition, and instinct to help guide us through the process. All characteristics Saphren has an abundance of. — Carey

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