WHAT IS A BIRTH DOULA?
A birth doula is a trained childbirth expert, offering emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, labor & delivery, and the immediate postpartum period. She has expertise in a variety of coping strategies for the different stages of labor, utilizes different laboring positions to help facilitate labor progress, has familiarity with the common medical interventions and pain-medication options, and is often knowledgeable about natural alternatives, such as acupressure, aromatherapy, rebozo techniques, etc. To understand the full stope of what doulas do, have a look at the blog post: 20 Things A Doula Does.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BIRTH DOULA & A MIDWIFE?
Many people confuse doulas with midwives. A doula does not have formal medical training and is not responsible for the health and safety of mother and baby, which frees her up to meet the mother’s non-medical needs which are often left unmet by our current maternity model (including midwifery care), specifically continuous emotional and physical support. A doula only has one client at a time, so she can provide her client with 100% of her attention and care. On the contrary, a midwife has extensive medical training and experience, and is responsible for the health and safety of both the mother and the baby; therefore, she often does not have the time or energy to offer extensive emotional or physical support and comfort to the mother. Midwives are often managing multiple patients at a time, similar to OB’s.
WHY HIRE A BIRTH DOULA?
There are so many benefits to having a doula. Evidence shows that doula support significantly reduces the risk of complications during labor & delivery and increases the mother’s satisfaction with her birthing experience. A doula fills in the gap left by our maternity care system, staying with the woman and her partner throughout the duration of labor & delivery (hospital staff and providers come and go, often leaving a mother and partner alone for long stretches of time), can help couples understand options available to them so they can make fully informed decisions about their care, and ensures that a couples birth wishes and preferences are honored and respected. To learn more about the benefits of doula care, check out this site: Evidence for Doulas.
WHAT’S MY PARTNER’S ROLE?
The most common misconception about doula support is that a doula replaces a partner’s role. Every doula has a different approach and philosophy, but most doulas believe in the importance of the partner’s role and working together as the mother’s primary support team. The best doulas will support both the mother and the partner, empowering and guiding the partner to best support the mother. To learn more about how a doula and a partner work together, have a look at the blog post: Doulas Are for Partners, Too!
WHAT DOES BIRTH DOULA SUPPORT INCLUDE AT JOYFUL BIRTHING?
Our standard birth doula package includes one free phone consultation and interview; 24/7 phone, text, and email support from the time of hire; one prenatal meeting at your home to go over your birth preferences and help to prepare you for the big day; attendance at the birth and immediate postpartum & breastfeeding support; one postpartum visit within 2 weeks of delivery; and one month of unlimited newborn & breastfeeding consultations via the phone.
VIRTUAL DOULA SUPPORT NOW AVAILABLE!
Due to the impact of Covid-19, Joyful Birthing is now offering virtual doula support when preferred or when in-person support is not an option. This support includes the same package items listed above but via a virtual platform, such as Zoom, Hangouts, Skype or FaceTime. It’s amazing what we can accomplish via video! Your virtual doula will be there for you via video through every contraction until your baby is safely in your arms. She will talk you through your contractions, offer suggestions for position and activity changes, help to ensure your birth preferences are honored, and guide you through any decision that may need to be made- she will be a source of continuous comfort and guidance throughout the birthing process. Please reach out for more information!
JOYFUL BIRTHING'S DOULAS
The doulas at Joyful Birthing share the philosophy of supporting couples to achieve a positive, empowering birthing and postpartum experience, on their own terms as they define it. We believe that every woman deserves the compassionate support of a doula, regardless of her hopes for the birth. Our practice is focused providing evidence-based guidance, respectful support, and staying current with best practices for supporting couples through pregnancy, labor & delivery, and early parenthood. We serve the greater Boston area, including the South Shore, North Shore, seacoast New Hampshire, and surrounding areas.
Ellie is a certified DONA International Birth Doula, HypnoBirthing® Practitioner, Childbirth Educator, Certified Lactation Counselor, Certified Sleep Consultant, and mother of two with over six years of experience as a birth worker. After working as a high school English teacher for 10 years, the birth of her two children prompted her to found Joyful Birthing in 2014. She has since attended over 90 births across the greater Boston and North Shore area at over 15 area hospitals and taught over 200 couples the HypnoBirthing method. Ellie has completed extensive training, including Gena Kirby Rebozo, Spinning Babies®, Evidence-Based Birth, American Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice, and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. Ellie brings her heart and soul to each and every birth and is committed to providing couples with the unique support, guidance, and encouragement that they need in order to have the most empowering experience possible.
Trained as a Birth Doula in 2003 by Penny Simkin, noted author and co-founder of DONA International, Joy brings a wealth of experience in birth work and has attended over 100 births. She has always had an interest in pregnancy and childbirth, but it wasn’t until birthing her own babies that the passion for helping others navigate their births was sparked. From 2004-2006 Joy completed her training in the art of homebirth through WomanCraft Midwifery School and gained further birth experience through her subsequent apprenticeship. Joy’s belief that emotional preparation is the key to a positive birth experience inspired her to become a Childbirth Mentor under the Birthing From Within philosophy so that she could compassionately guide parents on their unique birth journey. In 2014 Joy added to her birth work by becoming a Level II Reiki Practitioner and now enjoys bringing this gentle healing art form to pregnancy, birth and all who can benefit from physical and emotional healing. Joy is a mother to five amazing children, “Nani” to a sweet grandson, and a passionate homeschooler.
Lucia is a DONA International-trained doula, marketing professional and mother to Margie, the feisty love whose birth changed her life. Her intense curiosity about birth, the impact it has on mothers, families and our world at large grew into a deep desire to support women and their families in this important work as a professional birth doula. Lucia’s deep hope is for birthing mothers to feel cared for, respected, safe and informed as they journey through birth. It is her passion to help nurture those key elements and to hold space for a positive and profoundly empowering birthing experience. Lucia is a great fit for those seeking evidence-based care and a deeply peaceful birthing experience
Kathleen has been doing birth work since 2011 and has attended over 100 births. The birth of her daughter, Satya (age 18), remains to be the most empowering event of her life. It is this experience and her commitment to empowering women that led her to become a professional birth, a postpartum doula and a certified lactation counselor. In addition to her work in birth, Kathleen also has a career in healing as a Certified Reiki Practitioner and a Holistic Health Educator. As a doula, Kathleen is known for creating a team at the hospital, with your choices leading the way. It is Kathleen’s intention that your childbirth experience works for you. Kathleen considers childbirth to be a “right of passage” for every woman and is honored and privileged to be present to support and guide women and families during this miracle of life.