Birth Doula Services
As a DONA certified birth doula I provide the level of support that meets the needs of you and your partner. I have a variety of packages to meet different needs and budgets.
As a birth doula I provide:
- education about the labor process including risks and benefits of various procedures
- physical support which may include massage, acupressure, help with position changes, and counterpressure
- use of labor tools such as birth ball, rebozo, massage tools, and (with care provider’s approval) TENS unit
- informational support about procedures
- follow up support including processing of your birth experience and the gift of a timeline of your birth day events
Birth doula services do not include:
- Performance of clinical tasks: blood pressure, listening to fetal heart tones, vaginal checks, etc.
- Making decisions for you. I will help you get the information you need to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan.
- Speaking to the staff on your behalf. I will discuss concerns with you and suggest options. You or your partner will speak to the clinical staff and I will give you encouragement to share your questions, opinions, and concerns.
- Taking the place of your partner. If you have a spouse/partner, my desire is to enhance the relationship between the two of you, supporting the partner at whatever level he is comfortable to give you both the best possible birth memories. If he is unable to attend the birth, I will help you with ways to include him in the birth experience if possible or to share it with him at a later time.
Why Have a Doula?
A labor doula is a trained, experienced labor companion who provides a mom and her partner continuous emotional, physical, and informational support before, during, and just after childbirth. Studies show that the presence of a doula fosters strong emotional ties between mother and baby, helps moms to have a safe and satisfying birth experience, and may both improve birth outcomes and reduce the need for medication in labor. Moms who do opt for medications often use them later in labor if a doula is present. There is also evidence that the presence of a doula may decrease the rate of Cesarean birth.
A postpartum doula provides evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother-infant bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care. She may assist a new family with household tasks or work overnight to help soothe infants between feedings so parents can rest and recover from childbirth. As a mom of eight and “Grammie” of ten, I have extensive experience with babies. As the mother of twins, I am experienced with multiples as well. I have experience with supplementation by bottle, finger-feeding, or SNS as well as with use of breast pumps. Postpartum support is available days or nights with a two hour minimum during the day and a six hour minimum overnight.
A woman who receives doula care is
26% less likely to give birth by cesarean surgery
41% less likely to give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
28% less likely to use analgesic drugs or anesthesia
33% less likely to be dissatisfied with or negatively rate their birth experience
When I gave birth to my twin sons, my uterus stretched to 48cm at 39 weeks gestation when they arrived. Although I did not know it at the time, my abdominal muscles separated “like a zipper” spreading to as much as three finger widths at the top. Seven years and two children later, I learned that while the separation had healed over, it had never properly repaired. When I heard about postpartum belly binding I knew that this was a way to potentially spare other new moms the long-term consequences from which I still suffer as a result of my diastasis recti problem which occurred in 1993.
Postpartum belly binding honors the traditions of indigenous cultures throughout the world which give special care to the new mother to aid her in recovery from the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of labor. My belly binding instructor, Bianca Tema Mercado, learned this art from healers in her Chicana culture, one of the cultures from which we have been handed down these beautiful traditions. The supplies I use for elastic bandage belly binding come directly from Mexico so that I may give back to one of the cultures which preserved and passed down this technique.
Benefits – Belly Binding may have the following benefits:
- Restore normal digestion
- Heal diastasis recti (abdominal separation)
- Regain bladder control
- Keeps warmth in the womb
- Provides abdominal security for mother
- Allows fascia and ligaments to rest
- Relieves pelvic joint dysfunction pain
- Supports uterine and abdominal integrity
- Minimizes discomfort of uterine cramping
- Stabilizes intra-abdominal and chest cavity pressure
Benefits from “Traditional Postpartum Healing Arts from Mexico” by Bianca Tema Mercado, La Matriz Birth Services
Elastic Bandage Belly Binding – can be applied immediately (from 4 hours) after birth; disposable after 2-3 uses; lower cost; can be used by those who have a cesarean birth. I will apply one elastic binding and will leave three more for you and/or your partner to apply later.
Bengkung Belly Binding – can be applied after 1-2 weeks postpartum for vaginal birth, 3-6 weeks postpartum after cesarean birth once healing is established; washable cotton fabric; more cost effective for long-term use
For both types of bandages, a healing oil is gently massaged into the abdomen before application. You and your partner will be taught how to apply the bandages and will be left with full written instructions in order to reapply as needed and desired. If desired, I can return to your home to reapply the bindings for $30 per visit.
As a Alpha Certified Childbirth Educator I provide group and private classes using the Alpha Childbirth Curriculum. Alpha is a faith-based childbirth program which is completely evidence based. The information in the course is appropriate regardless of your faith background, but the optional homework is centered on prayer and Biblical principles for fighting fears with faith. Alpha does not teach that there is one “right” way to labor and give birth, but rather focuses on the Creator and His amazing plan for our bodies and babies. For more information and to register for classes please see my Alpha class page at http://alphachildbirth.com/locations/la-mesa-ca.
As a mom who breastfed for approximately 18 years, I have faced and overcome a wide range of issues both small and extremely daunting. Some of the issues I faced as a breastfeeding mom were:
- failure to thrive (a “happy to starve” baby who lost over a pound in the first week of life)
- breastfeeding twins
- relactating after a severe postpartum illness
- plugged ducts
- insufficient latch
- tongue tie
- cracked nipples
I attended my first La Leche League meetings before my oldest son was born and later trained as a La Leche League leader. I have also taken classes on the latest breastfeeding techniques and recommendations and am currently working toward additional certification. In addition to my familiarity with the breastfeeding process, my most important skill is knowing when to refer you to an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). These practitioners are the gold standard in diagnosis and treatment of breastfeeding problems. Having used the services of an IBCLC with three of my children (my 3rd, 6th, and 8th!), I know their value.
I offer private breastfeeding education during your pregnancy as well as lactation visits in the early postpartum period to be sure your baby is getting a great start. Of course, lactation education is a standard part of my childbirth classes and the immediate postpartum period if I serve as your birth doula.
Sibling Doula Services
As an educator with a degree in elementary education, I can provide excellent age-appropriate informational support to your older child at your birth. My sibling doula services include a one hour visit in your home with you and your child prenatally in order for your child and I to become acquainted.
Birth Plan Preparation
More than just making a birth plan! Think of this as a mini-class/prenatal visit for those who are unable to take a full childbirth class and/or those who cannot hire a doula. Tools, options, ideas!