So, what exactly does a doula do?
Birth is an intense, personal, unique experience: no one can go through this particular process and give birth to your particular baby/ies except for you. You're the only one who can decide what's best for your body and your child/ren.
In short, birth is an inside job.
So, what do you need me for?
Pregnancy and birth are normal, natural processes, but at times they may feel isolating and uncertain. Often, this may be the first time a person is being admitted to a hospital - ever! Wouldn’t it feel great to have a childbirth expert, who understands the process and the system, at your side to help guide you? Doulas are childbirth experts that do just that! I have supported births at home, in birthing centers and in most NYC area hospitals - I know how to help you navigate the system and help you prepare so that you and your partner feel supported, empowered and protected. Also, it’s a big day and a big job for your partner, too! I love working with partners, to help them, help you.
The current state of maternity care in the United States leaves so many gaps. I believe doulas are the experts who fill in those cracks, so that new parents don’t fall through. We help you with evidence based information and non-judgemental support, so you can make decisions about what is best for you, and your family. We provide the compassionate and personalized support that a larger system cannot provide so that you feel completely held and can relax into your own version of parenthood.
Having a third party present at your birth in the form of an advocate, coach, and intermediary means you (and your partner!) don't have to wonder if you have all the information, or worry about whether you're making the right choices for you during stressful situations, or whether your wishes will be respected while you're vulnerable. You can only do one thing while in labor - and that is whatever your body requires to have your baby. I will be by your side—at times literally—throughout this process, guiding both you and your partner to make sure it's as close as possible to the experience you most want.
I don't want to (and won't) make choices for you, because they're choices that belong only to you, and, more importantly, I know that you can do this. I believe in you, and in the empowerment that comes from owning your birth experience. I will help you find the space to ask questions and to make your own decisions, together. No matter how your baby is born, I want to make sure that you feel heard and have had a choice in every step along the way.
Beyond all of this, since I also love science - statistically, using a doula improves outcomes. Research shows that people who have continuous labor support (a doula) during childbirth experience a:
25% decrease in the risk of cesarean birth
8% higher likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal delivery (without vacuum/forceps or episiotomy)
10% decrease in the use of pain medications
Shorter labor by 41 minutes on average
31% decrease in being dissatisfied with your birth experience
Doulas make a difference in your experience, no matter what happens.
Maybe you're not feeling supported in the decisions you're making or would like to make surrounding your pregnancy and upcoming birth. Maybe you're feeling isolated and overwhelmed during this time in your life. Maybe you're worried you can't do this, or that your wishes for your birth experience won't be carried out. Maybe you love your provider and know they will support your desires, but you just wish you had someone to help you and your partner when they can’t be with you. Or maybe, you know you can do this but just want some extra hands on board to make your vision come to life. I can help!
As you progress through your pregnancy, we will develop a unique relationship: one where we share goals, information, plans, hopes, wishes, and alllll of the gory details (spoiler: it's not gory to me!). The way we do this is through conversation, information, and education. I want to know what you want out of this experience, and why it's important to you to take control of your birth and your body. In turn, I am here to answer your questions (big and small) with evidence based information and my years of experience, assuage some of your fears, and guide you through this process. In labor, I’ll do whatever it takes to help you find your way - from massage and acupressure to verbal coaching, to supporting your partner and family to helping you find space to make decisions. Whether this is your first baby of your fifteenth, it will be a new experience.
So many clients ask if we can be friends after everything is said and done. The truth is - you couldn’t get rid of me if you tried! We are family!