28 May

How Birth Doulas Help Moms Push Through

Birth is the unknown. That can seem scary to some people, but it’s true. Every birth and every momma is different. Of course, we all know what the end result will be…a baby! But how mommas all get to that end result is a different road. The unknown can also be exciting. The unknown is what many doulas love about their job! Putting together a wonderful birth support team is key in helping a mother to navigate anything and everything that happens during childbirth. Consider adding a doula to your birth team, because she (or he) has been there and done that. A lot. She’s excited with you or helps keep you (and your partner) calm, collected and informed if things get a little ‘hinky’. She often instinctively knows what you need during this emotion-filled time in your life. Her services may even be financially covered by your Flexible Health Spending Account! Score!

imagesN141KVY3Birth doulas, also known as labor doulas, work with you prior to having the baby so she can learn how to best support you and your partner during the labor. Doulas work with all types of families desiring all types of births – from planned cesareans in the hospital to non-medicated homebirths, women who want an epidural or other pain medications to women who definitely do not. Depending on what your birth wishes are, your doula has lots of local resources for you to help you along the way during your pregnancy and even after the baby is born. We’ll hook you up with some great pre-natal massage therapists, chiropractors, yoga instructors, mommy groups, placenta encapsulators, postpartum doulas and more!

One of a birth doula’s main responsibilities is to offer continuous support! That’s right – no shift change, no other patients to worry about, and no charting to handle. The focus is helping to make you, the mother, as comfortable as possible and to assist you and your partner to learn how to advocate for yourselves. In a 2013 study from Evidence Based Birth, with more than 15K participants, the best birth results occurred when women had continuous labor support from a doula. In other words, just having a doula present in the room contributed to an overall 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience.

20141223_Wade_IMG_9742I’ve heard countless moms tell me they felt pressured or overwhelmed in the moment when it came to making a decision about the course of their care during labor. Doulas work to change that dynamic. They work to eliminate the rush, the fear, the pressure and oppositely create serenity. Serenity might sound like an oxy-moron when in labor, but doulas help you accept the process and truly know what’s happening so you feel more at ease. We. Get. You. Doulas do this by offering unbiased evidence-based information, various comfort and support measures, by reassuring you of the birth process, and by striving to facilitate clear communication between you and your care providers. It’s important to mention that the doula works alongside the healthcare team. A doula should not advise a mother to go against what a provider has said or offer her own opinion about a procedure. Instead, she will help you clarify all available options, risks and benefits and typically encourage the providers to give you a moment to process. Bottom line: You and your partner feel comfortable with the actions and procedures that are happening given your unique birth circumstances.

Having the presence of a doula shows a 28% decrease in the risk of C-section. Whether the baby is in an incorrect position, a mother is tired or has an emotional block…or a plethora of other reasons a cesarean is suggested, the doula not only helps you to explore all of your options, but is often skilled in many relaxation, breathing, movement and positioning techniques that can encourage the baby to settle into a more favorable birthing position. A doula helps you work through your emotions and aims to reinvigorate you to literally push through. She’s your cheerleader. She provides reassurance and praise through it all.

A doula does not, however, take the place of your partner. As previously mentioned, a doula is only a part of your birth support team. Each person plays an important role in the success of your birth. As with healthcare providers, doulas work alongside your partner, too. Specific maternal support is discussed prenatally so everyone’s roles are well-defined ahead of time. Doulas will offer your partner a break, look out for their well-being and give them tasks or strategies to help comfort you, if desired. To learn more about how partners and doulas work together, check out this article.

For more information about doulas or the next Doula Information Session date, visit www.baybeebirthservices.com or contact Jenny Bare, MPH, CLD, CHES at baybeebirthservices@gmail.com.

19 May

Do Doulas Need to be Certified?

01 CAPPA Certified ProudToBeDo Doulas Need to be Certified?

Do doulas need to be certified? The short answer is, no. Truthfully, anyone can say they are a doula. At this time, there is not a governing body that oversees certification requirements and ensures doulas follow a universal standard (but there is legislation in place working to change this!). This can contribute to why some hospitals are hesitant to have doulas in the room. Some “so-called” doulas may challenge the staff, speak on behalf of the patient, encourage patients to do things that go against medical advice, etc. I’m shaking my head because this is NOT what professional/certified doulas do at all. To learn more about what our role is, click here!

What are the benefits of hiring a certified doula? This depends, but to put it simply, the doula is required to maintain the Code of Conduct, Scope of Practice, etc., and complete an intense education and practical learning process of her (or his) governing organization, before being granted certification. In other words, you can be assured that your certified doula has been trained in a serious way! There are many training organizations for birth professionals. When pursuing training, a doula often selects an organization that most similarly aligns with her philosophy of offering services and maintaining her private practice. As a perspective client looking to hire a doula, you may ask the doula which organization she trained with and look into her program if you are curious.

On the flip side…There are many fabulous doulas who are not certified! *gasp* That’s right, some AMAZING doulas are not certified. Your doula may have been a doula for years and has more tangible experience than that of a professionally certified doula. Or, it’s possible the doula completed the professional training and did not go on to become officially certified. Or maybe your doula is in the process of becoming certified…it can take awhile.

In my case, I chose to pursue certification. I love that I am part of an organization of birth professionals that uphold very high standards and offer quality services for clients. To learn more about my certifying organization, visit: www.cappa.net. Furthermore, your momma instinct is going to tell you if you’ve found YOUR doula, certified or not!


Today, I received word that I am now an officially CAPPA Certified Labor Doula!!! I’ll add the fancy letters, CLD, behind my name. Throughout my journey as a doula, I have been so blessed to work with beautiful families as they bring their little ones into the world. I am grateful for each experience as it has contributed to the long road that has lead to me pursuing and completing this professional certification. THANK YOU to all of you who’ve contributed along the way!!! BIG hugs!!! – Doula Jenny