I’ve wanted to share some local resources for a while that I believe women who are looking for newborn photography might also find helpful. Well today is the day! I have many clients and friends that are not 100% clear on exactly what a doula is and why they might need one. I figured the best way to educate others would be to interview a local Richmond, VA doula.
I reached out to Sara with MotherBaby Doula Services who is a Certified Professional Birth Doula. So you might ask… what exactly is a doula?
According to Dona International “a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.”
My first child was one day late and I was induced. I went to the hospital at 4 cm and was sure he would be here in no time. After almost 23 hours of labor and being at 9cm for over 4 hours, I ended up with a c-section. I play the “what if” game a lot. What if I had not been induced would I have not needed a c-section? What if I had not had an epidural and had the ability to move around during labor would that have stopped it? What if I had a trained support professional to coach me along the way? The “what if” game could go on and on, but I have learned after 4 years, its not worth it. I have a healthy son and that is what matters.
I hope this blog post is encouraging to the “mom to be” regardless of which kind of birth you decide to have and sheds the light on the wonderful world of being a Doula.
Sara has been a doula since 2001 and serves families all over the Richmond Virginia area. She is originally from the Tidewater area, but she and her husband moved here in 2000. Sara’s first birth was similar to mine, induced and ultimately ended up having a c-section. She had a hard recovery, harder time nursing, and made the transition into parenthood not as smooth as expected. At the time doulas were not as common as they are today, but she really felt like that support would have helped her during that time. She knew with her second she wanted a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and started researching and found a doula CAN help with a successful VBAC. She started doula training with ALACE now ToLabor and the rest is history!
Below are some questions I asked Sara during our interview.
How long have you worked in the birth profession?
Over 15 years
How many births have you attended?
Over 215. I typically have 2-3 births a month
What is your philosophy about birth and how do you most often support women in labor?
A big part is about education before hand. I offer two prenatal visits before the couple’s due date that are 2 hours long. We spend time learning; sounds the that women make, positions for comfort, way to help with turning baby, helping baby descend, recommendations such as the birth ball, laboring in water, massage, acupressure, music, aromatherapy. I work to reassure both mom and partner during this time that they are strong and able to give birth as a team.
At what point in labor do you meet your mom to be?
A typical point in labor when extra support is needed is when contractions are about 5 minutes apart. I prepare the couple during the prenatal visit on what early labor looks like, what to eat, how you will act during that time, and to check in by phone with me during different times. A second or third time mom tends to have less labor support at home and we typically meet at the hospital since those labors tend to happen faster.
Why do you love being a doula?
I love building confidence in a couple. When I first meet them they are excited/nervous about what is to come. After childbirth classes, our prenatals, matching them with a care provider (if needed) I see excitement and a couple who is prepared and feel they can do it. I love seeing how solid couples are and just how strong women are.
What makes you different than other doulas?
A lot of doulas are very similar, we all have similar philosophies on birth. I believe my experience is a huge asset. With over 15 years of experience and my own very different births such as; an induction, a cesarean, VBAC, an epidural, and an unmedicated birth makes me able to empathize with women and understand all different types of labors and births.
How can people reach you?