What is a birth doula?
A birth doula is a trained, professional, non-medical childbirth assistant. Doulas provide nurturing support to growing families, in the form of emotional and physical support, as well as evidence-based information. Doulas also help parents advocate for themselves in the birth setting, and facilitate communication and support between the birthing person, partner(s), and care team.
Birth Doula Package
My complete birth doula package includes:
• Free consultation.
We’ll start by having a casual, no-obligation meet up at a convenient location to chat and see if we’re a good match.
• Unlimited email and text support.
From the time of hire until 6 weeks postpartum, you can email or text and expect a response within 24-48 hours (usually sooner.)
• Access to a carefully curated library of evidence-based information.
I’ve compiled my favorite pregnancy, birth, and postpartum resources into one convenient location, exclusively for my clients. My library includes articles from some of my favorite birthy sources, like Penny Simkin and Evidence-Based Birth, lists of helpful community resources, insights and words of wisdom from former clients, and informational handouts that I’ve written myself.
• Eight home visits.
Yes, I said eight home visits! The average birth doula does 2 prenatal visits and 1 postpartum visit, but I have found that this really isn’t enough time to accomplish my goal as a doula in a meaningful way. I believe so strongly in the value of forming a deep connection with my clients. I want you to feel fully informed, prepared, and supported for your birth and postpartum experience, as well as for us to build a trusting relationship. There are 4 home visits before birth, and 4 after. Each visit lasts 2 to 3 hours. Read more about what home visits include in my FAQ.
• 24/7 on-call availability from 37 weeks until baby is born.
During this time, you can call me when you go into labor at any time of the day or night and I will respond immediately.
• Labor and birth support.
Once you go into labor, you may call me at any time to join you. I will remain with you continuously from the time I arrive until 1-2 hours after the birth. My role is flexible, and allows you as much privacy or as much hands-on interaction as you desire. Your comfort and relaxation can be enhanced with a variety of techniques and positions that we will have practiced beforehand, and I will make sure you are well-nourished and hydrated to keep you going during the birth journey. I will be your cheerleader in those moments when the going gets tough, providing emotional encouragement and reassurance. My presence will also allow your partner or other family members to participate at their comfort level, eliminating any pressure or anxiety they may feel. I will be there to answer any questions that arise, and to help you advocate for yourself and your birth wishes. After your baby is born, I’ll help you with the first latch, and then make sure everyone is comfortable and settled in before I take my leave.
• Birth notes and photography.
There are lots of details, funny or sweet moments, and milestones that tend to get lost in that rosy post-birth mental haze. For this reason, I’ll take notes for you to help you remember the timeline of events from your baby’s birth day. I can also take photos for you during or after the birth, so you can capture the moments that matter most.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t see your question here? Contact me and ask!
Where are you located?
I am currently located in Portland, OR, and serve the greater Portland metro area. I am willing to travel approximately 1 hour away from my home. More distant locations may require an additional travel fee.
How is a doula different from a midwife or nurse?
Midwives, nurses, and doctors are all medical professionals. Their main priority is your physical health and the safety of your baby. While there are many nurses and midwives who are great at providing emotional support, they often also have other patients to care for.
As a doula, my sole focus is on supporting you and your partner. When nurses change shifts or leave to take care of another patient, I will remain by your side as a familiar, comforting presence. If your healthcare providers forget about an important detail of your birth plan, I will be there to help you remind them. If an emergency arises, your healthcare team will likely move quickly and won’t have time to provide emotional support. I will be your rock of stability during a crisis. While your midwife, doctor, or nurse addresses your physical/medical needs, I make it my duty to tend to your physical comfort, and ensure that your emotional, mental, and spiritual self is being nurtured throughout the birth journey.
Won't having a doula take away from my partner's role in supporting me?
Not at all; in fact, a doula often enhances the support you receive from your partner. You will have the benefit of having run through practice scenarios ahead of time with me, and in the moment I will be there to coach them on how best to support you. It is my goal to help your partner take on whatever role you and (s)he both desire. My presence will allow your partner to enjoy being present with you and participate at the level they are comfortable with, without feeling pressured to know everything and be your sole support. My presence will also allow your partner or other support people the opportunity to take breaks for food or sleep if necessary, without leaving you alone.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Some of the benefits of having a birth doula include:
• A shorter labor
• Less need for pain medication
• Reduced chance of having a Cesarean, Pitocin, episiotomy, forceps or vacuum assisted delivery
• Decreased risk of postpartum depression
• A healthy baby due to fewer unnecessary interventions
• Breastfeeding success
• A more satisfying birth experience
Are you a nurse or midwife?
I am not a nurse or midwife. I did attend nursing school and completed most of my midwifery training, but I am not licensed as a health care provider and any clinical or medical actions are not within my current scope of practice as a doula. Any information I provide is purely for educational purposes and is not intended as medical advice.
How many births have you done?
I have attended over 70 births as a doula and student midwife. I have been to births in birth centers, in hospitals, and at home.
What do prenatal and postpartum home visits look like?
During prenatal visits, we will cover a variety of topics and do fun, interactive activities to help prepare for birth and beyond. You will also have plenty of time to ask as many questions as you like. Research has shown improved birth outcomes when you are closely bonded with the people supporting you through the process, so I like to introduce relationship-strengthening activities and practices to enhance communication between you and your support team. Commonly discussed subjects include the third trimester, birth wishes, stages of labor, comfort techniques and positions for birth, medical interventions and when/why they may be used, potential labor and birth scenarios, lactation and nursing, newborn care, and self-care after birth. I encourage anyone who will be at the birth to attend our visits whenever possible so that we can all get to know each other well.
After the baby is born, I will come see you at around day 3 or 4, one week, two weeks, and one month. The newborn period is a difficult time for many parents, and my goal is to reduce your worry and stress so that you can fully experience the joyful moments of new parenthood. I can provide education on basic newborn care, babywearing, sleep strategies, and infant development, assist with lactation concerns, guide you through gentle movement and yoga stretches as well as other techniques to heal your post-birth body, help you with ways to prevent postpartum depression and anxiety, talk through and help you process your birth experience, lend a sympathetic ear, and provide referrals to local resources if needed.
Do you take clients who plan to give birth at home/in a birth center/in a hospital?
I accept doula clients regardless of the birth setting you choose. You should choose the place where you feel the safest giving birth – and if you’re comfortable, then I’m comfortable!
I want to give birth unassisted, without any health care professionals present, but would still like a doula for extra support. Will you accept me as a client?
For liability reasons, I am unable to accept you as a client if you choose to give birth without a licensed care provider present.
Will you speak to my health care provider(s) for me?
I cannot legally speak on your behalf. I CAN prompt you to ask the right questions and advocate for yourself when talking to medical staff, so that you can get the information you need to make empowered choices.
Will you make decisions for me regarding my birth choices?
No. I will provide you with evidence-based information, prompt you to ask questions of your midwife or doctor, and help you through the steps of the decision-making process, but ultimately all decisions are up to you. I will offer unconditional support, regardless of what decisions you make.
What happens if I have an epidural or Cesarean birth?
I will support you through any treatment or procedure that takes place during your birth experience. Sometimes, if a birth is very long and an epidural becomes part of the plan, it is a good time for everyone to get a few hours of sleep. If that is the case, I may leave the immediate area but remain nearby; you will never be abandoned. If you have a Cesarean, I may or may not be allowed in the operating room due to hospital policies. However, I will remain at the hospital and will wait until I can meet you in your recovery room.
Do you take breaks?
Depending on the timing and length of your labor, I may need to take breaks for food, rest, and bathroom. I am only human, after all! I will keep the breaks as short as possible and attempt to time them at points in your labor when I am needed less. This will ensure that I am in the best state to provide the high level of care you deserve.