A London business is giving an ancient practice new life, and it's a labour of love for the owner.

Babeez Doula Centre, which provides doulas for moms-to-be, is expanding quickly.

According to Ontario non-profit Doula C.A.R.E., a doula "provides non-clinical support and care to a woman (and her partner) during childbirth and the postpartum period."

Anna Foat used a doula during her pregnancy, she explains it's "Someone with a ton of knowledge, kind of like your sister, your mom, your aunt, your best friend all kind of rolled up into one person."

She is among a growing number of women enlisting the help of a doula in the months before and after birth - and during the delivery.

Jill Ritchie runs Babeez Doula Centre and is a doula herself.

"Traditionally we used to have our family and friends, our mothers - these types of people would be in our lives - now times have changed. That's what a doula brings, she brings that knowlege, that support, that caring...We're part of the support team. They still need to have a primary care provider which is their midwife, or their OB or their family doctor. The beauty is we get to be with all these different caregivers."

The concept of a doula is very old, dating back to the time of the ancient greeks. The word doula means to serve.

Because of the popularity of doulas, Babeez is opening another location in St. Thomas.

Parents can expect to pay in the neighbourhood of $700 to $1,000 for the service, but many believe it is worth it.

Ritchie says it typically means fewer interventions during labour and delivery, "Perhaps a 60 per cent reduction in interventions. That would be pain medications, any kind of intervention that isn't part of the normal physiological part of birth."

Rachelle Vanderheyden, had a doula by her side for the birth of her son, two-week-old Aristotle.

"It's very hard times. You deliver him and it's all new to you. She's kind of like a mom with all this experience, and she would come and give you a couple of tips. Everything just was so much easier with her," she says.

For Foat, five-month-old Dylan is her second child, and she adds "It's such an important day in your life, you want it to go well, and if you can stack the deck a little bit in your favour and have someone in your corner, it's fabulous."