If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.

John H. Kennell, MD

What is a Doula?

“When my daughter was three, she asked me what the difference was between a midwife and a doula. I replied, “The midwife catches the baby and the doula holds the mama’s hand. In all her three year old wisdom she replied, “Oh, so the mama won’t be afraid.”  Kyle Maclean

 

In Greek, the word Doula means Servant.  That is the key role of a doula.  However, serving a mother in labor comes in many different forms. Doulas have been around for many years in the form of mothers, aunts, sisters and even friends.  It wasn’t until the past couple of decades that a formal education as a doula became available.  The word doula in present tense refers to a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and after childbirth.

How is a Doula Trained?

There are many different ways to become a certified doula.  We chose to get our certification through Charis for a number of reasons.  First, we wanted to become certified in both doula services AND childbirth education.  Second, the curriculum, when compared to others, was the most strenuous in the requirements (this specific education is the first half in midwifery training to becoming a Certified Practicing Midwife.)  We were required to read 13 books, complete 4 projects, attend 2 workshops, write 3 essays and 1 research paper.  We attended 2 births WITH a senior doula and several AS the senior doula.  We audited a childbirth education series and then taught one (while being evaluated.)  We had bi-monthly coaching appointments which held us accountable for learning the material.  Our curriculum covered anatomy, physiology, labor, birth, nutrition, obstetrical procedures/tests, emotional health, postpartum care, newborn, breastfeeding and teaching skills. In these coaching appointments we had invaluable conversations with an experienced  woman who has attended over 250 births.  At the conclusion of our 15 months of study we passed an extensive 3 hour exam.  The third reason we choose Charis, and perhaps most important, we wanted a certification program that acknowledges God’s perfect design for pregnancy, labor, and birth.

Do I Want a Doula?

There are many advantages to having a doula present at your birth.  A doula, while caring, is also objective.  She knows your labor desires prior to labor and will encourage you through every stage of labor.  A doula always comes to your labor ready to serve and protect you.  She is not hired by the hospital, therefore her concern is you (however she should have a good relationship with the staff).  She is an accessible resource, you do not have to remember everything you have read about labor or all of the information from your childbirth class.  She is able to answer questions concerning your labor’s progress and give unemotional, informed options if you are presented with choices during labor.  Birth InSight doulas have experienced labor and can look you in the eyes and know where you are.  A good doula sets the room (with tricks in her bag) to allow you to feel safe and free to find your labor rhythm.  Her constant presence reminds you that labor is a natural process that you have been designed (and are able) to do.  You will remember your labor day for the rest of your life.  Women who hire doulas know that they have done everything they can to set themselves up to ensure this memory is one they will treasure.  Additionally, doulas attending labors have reduced the duration of labor (up to 50%), reduced the c-section rate (up to 10% difference), reduced epidural or other painkiller use, reduced the use of forceps and vacuum extraction, reduce episiotomies, reduce perineal tears, reduce the instance of post-partum depression.  Mothers who hire doulas have fewer complications with breastfeeding and breastfeed longer.

Visit ICAN for more information.

Does Having a Doula Replace the Father’s Role?

Absolutely not!  It is the doula’s job to enhance the relationship of the husband and wife throughout the labor. She does this by providing guidance and making suggestions.  Fathers report feeling more relaxed during the labor because of the doula’s constant support.  They are able to be a part of the experience rather than shouldering the weight of the experience.  With a doula, dad’s primary concern is to nurture and protect his family.  The laboring mother will have both loving care and support, paired with the expertise and guidance, she deserves at this blessed event.

Sources

Klaus MH, Kennell JK, The doula: an essential ingredient of childbirth rediscovered. Acta Paediatr 1997 Oct 86:10 1034-6.

Nolan M. Supporting Women in Labour: the Doula’s Role. Mod Midwife 1995 Mar 5-3 12-5

Scott KD, Klaus PH, Klaus MH, The Obstetrical and Postpartum Benefits of Continuous Support During Childbirth.  J Women’s Health Gender Based Med. 1999 Dec; 8:1257-64.

Classes

Class Dates:
Weekly Series: 250.00/couple
October 23-December 4 (skipping Thanksgiving) 7:00-9:00 (full)
January 8-February 12, Thursdays 7:00-9:00
February 26-April 2, Thursdays 7:00-9:00
April 16-May 21, Thursdays 7:00-9:00
May 28-July 2, Thursdays 7:00-9:00
July 30-September 3, Thursdays 7:00-9:00
September 24-October 29, Thursdays 7:00-9:00
November 5-December 17 (Skipping Thanksgiving) Thursdays 7:00-9:00
Weekend Series: 250.00/couple
November 7 & 8 (6:30-9:30) and (9:00-3:30)
February 20 & 21 (6:30-9:30) and (9:00-3:30)
Eat Right Now Workshop:
no class scheduled at this time
Live Right Now Workshop:
no class scheduled at this time
Weekly Series:
Ideal for first time parents.  Learn how to create a healthy womb environment for your baby.  Familiarize yourself with simple exercises and stretches to relieve stress and increase the likelihood of an easier delivery and faster recovery.  Prepare for the emotional, hormonal and physical changes your body will experience during your pregnancy, labor and postpartum.  Study all of the stages of labor and understand what to “do” during each stage.  Gain information to become informed decision makers for yourself and baby.  The last class is a special class where just moms attend, we dig into breastfeeding and EVERY unanswered question…  Our class is interactive with a 1:5 instructor to mom ratio.  Christi and Aimee team teach each class, which encourages  everyone to be engaged and remain involved.
From 7:00-9:00pm.
Weekly Series

Weekend Intensive:
This class is a great “refresher” for those who have had a baby before.  This class is also good for those whose work schedule does not permit attending a weekly series.  A large amount of information is covered in a short amount of time.  Come ready to learn, absorb, and apply.  Aimee and Christi teach this class together, this style of teaching keeps the students engaged, and allows for a low teacher to student ratio.  Friday from 6:30-9:30 & Saturday from 9:00-3:30.  Lunch is included.
Weekend Series

Eat Right Now Workshop:
This class will teach you how to, simply, incorporate healthy eating into your life.  Your baby will greatly benefit from “whole food” eating while in utero and while breastfeeding.  In addition, you will learn what foods you need to eat more of and what foods to avoid.  Best of all, you will learn practical strategies for making these beneficial eating habits a long-lasting part of your family’s life.  Additionally, you will bring home a wonderful book, written by Dr. Sears, simply explaining the “need to knows” of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, iron, and water.
http://www.drsearslean.com/


Live Right Now Workshop:
Make a smooth transition from pregnancy to motherhood.  It takes nine months to grow a baby, but only seconds to become a parent -are you ready?  Learn about how to create a strong and lasting bond with your new baby.  Examine decisions that are most important to make early on (finding the rhythm of breastfeeding, where should my baby sleep, how do I distinguish between my baby’s cries, can I have balance and boundaries?).  Learn ways to nurture relationships and reconnect with your spouse.  Understand why TLC for new moms is so important.  This class is perfect for pregnant moms, in their third trimester, or new moms with a baby 3 months or younger. (Created by well known pediatrician, Dr. Sears)
http://www.drsearslean.com/

Doula Services

24 Hour On-Call Availability
Beginning with your 36th week, we will be available by phone. Call any time you think you may be in labor.  We are also available through email to help answer any questions you may have about pregnancy, labor, delivery, breastfeeding and infant care.
Support Throughout Your Birth
We offer early labor support by phone.  Active labor support at home and/or hospital.  We will suggest positions and activities to help your labor progress, while protecting the rhythm of your labor.  We will offer comfort measures, massage and acupressure for relaxation.  We provide explanation of medical terms and procedures.  Depending on your labor, we may give a visual record of your laboring journey through taking pictures (optional).
Immediately Postpartum
We will stay with you immediately after your baby is born to ensure that you both are heading in a good direction with breastfeeding.  We will discuss any questions you may have.  Once you feel comfortable, up to 1 hour postpartum, we will leave you to bond with your baby.
Postpartum Time
We will be available for continuous phone support with the family for up to 3 weeks post-partum.  During this time we will discuss breastfeeding progress and newborn care.  We will review the labor/birth and will provide a documented birth story of your labor journey.
Cost for Birth Attendance:
$800.00- for doula services
If you live a distance that is 20 miles or more from the Town Center area of Virginia Beach, please let us know–**Because we fill up quickly, please do not pay the deposit until you have contacted us  and made sure that we have availability.  Please use this online inquiry, and we will get right back to you. We will then send you a contract and you can pay the deposit or the full amount.**
Doula Services

We have a secret in our culture, and it\'s not that birth is painful. It\'s that women are strong. Laura Stavoe Harm Learn More