The word doula comes from the Ancient Greek, and means "a woman of service." She assists the mother in numerous ways during the childbirth year. An overview of the things doulas do include helping the mother determine her personal birth philosophy, helping her write a birth plan, suggesting prenatal exercises and relaxation techniques, providing continuous physical, emotional, and spiritual support during labor, birth, and the early postpartum period, and providing breastfeeding support. Simply put, doulas are there to support the mother in any way that will help her have the most satisfying birth possible.

What does a doula do?

The doulas at Blessed Birth provide a number of services throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and the early postpartum period. If contacted early in your pregnancy, we can provide information about the different birthing options available to you – such as where to give birth (at home, in a birth center, or at a hospital) and how to choose the best midwife or physician to meet your needs - as well as offering information on dietary considerations during pregnancy. We can also show you a variety of stretches, exercises, and relaxation techniques that, when practiced throughout your pregnancy, can help you achieve a more relaxed and comfortable birth.

It is important that you feel comfortable with everyone on your birth team, so Blessed Birth provides a free consultation to give you a chance to get to know us and learn about our services. If you decide that you would like us to be a part of your birth experience, our doulas will:

• Meet with you 2-3 times prenatally to discuss your birth plan, your expectations for the role we will play in your birth, an overview of the types of natural pain management and relaxation techniques available to you, and other information that will help us help you have your ideal birth.

• Provide unlimited phone support.

• Remain on call 24/7 beginning at 37 weeks gestation and lasting until your baby is born.

• Provide continuous physical, emotional, spiritual, and informational support throughout your labor and birth. Our doulas are trained to help you manage labor pain naturally using a variety of pain management and relaxation techniques including massage, heat/cold therapy, changing positions, aromatherapy, etc.

• Make sure that you and your partner stay well fed and hydrated during your labor. We will remain with you to offer support if your partner needs to step away to visit the bathroom, eat, or make phone calls.

• Remain with you for 1-2 hours after the birth to make sure you and your partner have something to eat, make sure breastfeeding is off to a good start, and help clean up after the birth (for homebirths).

• Make sure that everything is within your arm's reach.

• Provide postpartum phone calls and/or visits as needed to address any questions and concerns about breastfeeding, newborn care, and family adjustment.