HowtoFindDoula

How to Find a Doula

You’ve already decided that hiring a doula to attend your birth is the right decision for you and your partner. You already know all the amazing things that doulas can do for you during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum after reading my previous article  and you’re blown away by the research supporting the use of doulas. There are many ways to find a doula….here are a few ways to get started!

Word of mouth

Consult with your friends and family in the area. Did they have a good experience with a doula? Ask your chiropractor, massage therapist, yoga teacher, childbirth educator, physical therapist, etc. Asking people whose opinion you value and trust may help narrow the field to a handful of doulas that you may like to interview and get to know on a more personal level.

Doula Groups

Doula associations, agencies, and collectives are groups of doulas in a community. These groups meet on a regular basis for continuing education, support, and networking. These doula groups often have a website with their members listed with links to their profiles or personal websites.To learn more about the different ways doulas work, check out this concise article on the topic. Here in central Iowa, the Central Iowa Doula Association, Iowa Doula Agency, and Mid-Iowa Doulas are some great options!

Websites and Doula Match pages

Most doulas and doula groups have websites, social media pages, and/or a Doula Match profile. By viewing their online content, you should get a feel for a particular doula and the services they offer. Some doulas offer services at additional cost including placenta encapsulation, photography, childbirth education classes, breastfeeding and/or postpartum support, and fitness classes. Doula fees range in price, often by several hundred dollars based on their experience and services. Look for testimonials from past clients, or ask for references. If having a doula who is certified through a professional organization is important to you, you should be able to find that information on their website or profile. Doulas of North America (DONA), Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), and Birthworks International are some of the more widely known certifying organizations.

Start early in your pregnancy and schedule interviews

Doula schedules often fill up quickly, so don’t wait! You may be able to view a doula’s schedule on their website or Doula Match profile; otherwise, email or call to check availability for your estimated due date. Plan to interview at least two to three doulas and bring your birth partner! Doulas usually offer an interview or consultation at no cost or obligation. These interviews last about one hour and are often held in a coffee shop or other public place.

The interview

One of the most important aspects of the doula interview is to see if you and your partner feel comfortable and relaxed with the doula, and if you feel a personal connection. You may decide to ask questions about:

  • the doula’s background, training, and experience with birth
  • why they became a doula and what they enjoy about doula work
  • what services the doula provides, including number, length, and topic of visits
  • the doula’s fees and payment schedules
  • if the doula has a back-up, what circumstances will one be used, and if you can meet the back-up
  • the types of comfort techniques the doula typically provides
  • experience with certain providers, birthing locations, or types of birth

Be prepared for questions from your doula! Doulas often want to know about the type of birth you envision, if you are taking childbirth education classes, and how you’d like your doula to support you and your partner. After you’ve interviewed the doulas you are interested in, think about it! Most doulas give you a few days or a week to consider your decision. Once you have chosen your doula, she will provide you with a contract to consider. This contract protects both of you by outlining fees and when they are due, back-up doula situations, expectations of both you and the doula, and more.

Now that you know how to get started, go out there and find the doula that is right for you! Because every mom deserves support, encouragement, respect, and peace on the day of her baby’s birth. You got this!

About the Author

Kelli Brus CD(DONA) is a mom of two wonderful girls and has been married to her husband since 2007. She lives in Urbandale and is currently taking a break from teaching with Des Moines Public Schools to take care of her little ones and focus on doula work. After her second birth experience, attended by a doula, she knew this was the type of work she wanted to do. She is certified through DONA International (Doulas of North America) and is part of the Central Iowa Doula Association (CIDA). Making sure all moms have support and respect during their birth experiences is so meaningful to Kelli and why she is so dedicated to doula work.

www.dsmdoula.com

dsmdoula@gmail.com

 

BirthDoula

What is a Birth Doula?

Do you want to be fully supported during your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period? Do you want someone in the birthing room solely dedicated to providing you comfort and experienced information?

Do you want to have the best possible birth experience? A doula may be right for you!!

A certified birth doula is a trained and experienced professional who is hired to assist with birth. A doula meets with her client and birth partner two to three times during pregnancy to learn their personalities, hopes and fears, and past experiences with birth. Birth plans, basic childbirth education, community resources, interventions, comfort techniques, and newborn care may be discussed during these prenatal meetings. A doula comes to the birthing woman during labor, remains until the baby is born, and stays an hour or two afterwards. Examples of the types of support a doula may provide during labor include, but are not limited to:

  • Massage and touch
  • Encouragement of mobility, motion, and vocalizations
  • Counterpressure on low back and hips
  • Position suggestions for labor and pushing
  • Assistance with breathing, relaxation, and tension release
  • Heat and/or cold to ease discomforts
  • Encouragement to use water, including shower and/or tub
  • Verbal praise and feedback
  • Reframe thoughts, fears, and feelings during labor, if needed
  • Continuous presence with main role of supporting mom
  • Assistance with decisions during labor
  • Encourage partner to take bathroom and meal breaks, and rest if possible
  • Leave the medical tasks (i.e., blood pressure, heart tones, etc) to the nurses, doctors, and midwives

Doulas support women and their partners regardless of the type of birth they are planning, whether that be in a home, hospital, or birth center, if they plan to use pain medication or not, and if they decide to bottle feed or breastfeed. In other words, doulas support you in the type of birth YOU want!  

After the baby is born, doulas visit within the first week or two to assist with basic breastfeeding concerns, discuss the mother and couple’s adaptation to a new baby, and discuss their thoughts about the birth experience. For more continuous support during the postpartum period, consider hiring a postpartum doula.

As the birth of your baby is one of the most memorable experiences of your life, consider hiring a doula to assist you with your birth! “A woman, as long as she lives, will remember how she was made to feel at her birth.” ~Anna Verwaal

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I will discuss how to find a doula!

About the Author

Kelli Brus CD(DONA) is a mom of two wonderful girls and has been married to her husband since 2007. She lives in Urbandale and is currently taking a break from teaching with Des Moines Public Schools to take care of her little ones and focus on doula work. After her second birth experience, attended by a doula, she knew this was the type of work she wanted to do. She is certified through DONA International (Doulas of North America) and is part of the Central Iowa Doula Association (CIDA). Making sure all moms have support and respect during their birth experiences is so meaningful to Kelli and why she is so dedicated to doula work.

www.dsmdoula.com

dsmdoula@gmail.com

515-210-0066

 

 

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From Belly To Birth: A Blog Created to Empower, Inform, and Amuse

I found out I was pregnant on the coldest day in January, during the particularly cold winter of 2014. I had my suspicions about being pregnant, but the test was negative that morning as I left to drive my husband to work. I got home, went to throw the test away, and saw the faintest little second line. WHaaaaa….?!? My husband (a surgery resident) was doing a rotation in electroshock anesthesia at that time, and texted me before he started his next case: “I’ll be done at 5, are you pregnant?” I responded, covertly: “Sounds great! See you then.” Phew…dodged that bullet. I’ll tell him in person tonight, I thought. Ding! “ARE YOU PREGNANT??” Not sure how else to respond I typed the three words that would change life forever: “I think so!”

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Photo credit: Studio 10101 @ www.karadunbar.com

New to the area, I had no idea who to request for an OB so I took the first available, and ended up with a doctor who would punch me lightly on the arm and say “Everything looks great, champ!” Every time he finished giving me a pelvic exam. It was awesome. Throughout the next months I scoured the internet for any and all information I could find on delivering at the University of Iowa Hospital – and other options for OB’s.

I really just wanted to know what to expect (Do they encourage skin to skin? Will I have to fight to avoid an episiotomy?) and how would it be delivering with this doctor? Luckily I had a different OB for delivery, and my experience was great. But it gave birth to the idea for my blog (sorry, I had to). I started with the vision of collecting thousands of birth stories, and with that, details of thousands of health professionals and birthing facilities. I wanted a woman to be able to find a birth story from someone who used her hospital or doctor. To be able to see how that doctor responded to a complication, what that hospital’s policies were for rooming in, or how the nurses responded when she didn’t want to breastfeed. Real life accounts are hard to find, especially for a specific practitioner or facility, and I wanted to be able to provide that.

As From Belly To Birth has grown and evolved, the birth stories coming in have ebbed and flowed. So I started sharing more of my own journey (and mishaps) as a mother and young woman navigating these years that so often revolve around babies. I definitely don’t have any accreditation as a mom, but I love sharing what works for me, and more often what doesn’t. Because it turns out, we’re all in a more similar place than we realize. I also love posting stuff that might make you smirk, or at least roll your eyes, because I feel like so often the stuff I scroll through makes me feel like I’m not good enough, life is hard, and the world is evil. So I hope I can make you to feel like you’re not alone in your shortcomings, life is pretty damn funny, and the world is good.

You’ll find birth stories from around the Midwest (and beyond), my favorite Pinterest recipe board, Friday Funnies every week, updates on things like Zika, and much more.  I’d love it if you’d consider sharing your story to help empower women in your community. I think we all have more to give than we realize and what better place to start than with our stories of loss and birth, of heartache and life’s miracles.

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Empowering Moms With Yoga

I started practicing yoga in 2009 when I lived in Green Bay, WI. Shortly after, I found out that I was expecting my first child and continued in the same yoga class throughout my pregnancy. My instructor helped me with modifications as my belly grew, but he was not prenatal certified. During this time, I was also working toward becoming a certified birth doula (DONA). After the birth of my daughter, it became clear that these experiences could come together in a beautiful potion to empower, strengthen, and educate expecting women.

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In 2012, my husband, daughter and I moved back home to central Iowa (Ankeny), and shortly after I was introduced to Sandi Hoover, owner of The Family Tree (Des Moines) and founder of Roots Prenatal YogaTM. I took her Roots Prenatal Yoga Certification course (80 hours) in February 2013 and have been passionately sharing prenatal yoga with expecting women since.

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In January 2016, I began teaching my prenatal yoga classes in Ankeny! In my classes, I empower women to tune into their bodies, breath, and babies. Each class begins with time to chat with the other expecting women in class about a topic related to pregnancy, birth, or motherhood. We move through gentle yoga poses and end class with a few minutes of relaxation. EVERY (pregnant) BODY can benefit from participating in my prenatal yoga classes.

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I hear from many of the women in my classes after their babies are born. They thank me for the classes and say they felt more prepared physically and mentally for labor/birth. My Ankeny classes are held on Sunday evenings from 6:30 – 7:45 PM. Each 6-week series is $100 (less than $17/class)! To inquire or sign-up for the series that begins on September 11, 2016, please e-mail me at doulamel13@gmail.com.

Check Melissa’s website for current classes, dates and times here!

Follow her on Facebook here!

About the Author

Head shot 2Melissa Schnurr, PhD, CD(DONA):

Melissa is the mother of two daughters born in October 2010 and November 2014, an early childhood consultant for the State of Iowa, DONA certified birth doula, and a prenatal yoga certified instructor. Also the owner of Empowered Pregnancy & Birth LLC, Melissa has a passion for supporting women and their families during pregnancy and birth.

Titles and Professions to Know While Pregnant

Titles and Professions to Know When Pregnant

When you become pregnant everything is a little overwhelming, or way overwhelming! You are making sure your eating healthy, taking the right supplements, creating a birth plan, looking for a postpartum doula 🙂 and so on!

While doing your research, you will come across a lot of professions and  titles that are important. It gets confusing. What’s the difference between a lactation consultant and a lactation educator? Which one do I need? Why?

Titles and Professions to Know While Pregnant

I have done some research and created a guide for you. This is here to help you know who is who and who does what!

Birth

Midwife – A midwife is a traditional care provider for mothers and infants. They are trained professionals that support a mother, so they can receive the optimum personalization of care. With a midwife you receive personal, woman-centered care.

OB/GYN – An OB/GYN is a gynecologist and obstetrician. A gynecologist is someone who specializes in women’s reproductive health. An obstetrician cares for women during their pregnancy and after the baby is born.

Doula – A doula is a trained individual to provide support to the mother and partner during childbirth. A doula is someone who you meet before your birth and you create a personal relationship. They take note of your wishes while you are in labor and make sure you have confidence to express your wishes and concerns. They also may support before birth and shortly after birth. Doulas do not do any medical procedures.

Labor & Delivery Nurse – A lot of women, who are new to pregnancy, think that they may not need a doula because their nurses will be present. Nurses can be great coaches and support, but one major drawback is you never know who will be your labor and delivery nurse. You do not create a special bond with your nurse before you go into labor, like you do with your doula. Nurses are not only coaching you, but also assisting the doctors.

Breastfeeding

Lactation Consultant – Lactation consultants are professionally trained, breastfeeding specialists. They are specialists who teach mothers how to feed their baby. They help in all areas of breastfeeding whether it be poor latch, painful nursing, low milk production and more. It is important to know that when looking for a certified lactation consultant, they will have IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) after their name. This means they have sat for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Exam (IBLCE), which is the only certifying body that can award this credential.

Lactation Counselor – A certified lactation counselor (CLC) can help with issues such as helping a baby latch, counseling mothers, they have knowledge of milk production, prevention and management of sore nipples, and a lot of other various issues. A CLC is not required to sit for the IBLCE. They are required to have a lot of hands on hours and to complete a program, to become certified.

Lactation Educator – A certified lactation educator (CLE), is usually a nurse, doula or other type of birth profession that have taken a course to gain more experience and knowledge in breastfeeding. They provide encouragement, guidance, referrals (to a lactation consultant), education, and support. When searching for a doula or provider, checking if they are a CLE may be beneficial.

Other

Postpartum Doula – A postpartum doula provides emotional, physical, and evidence-based informational support after birth. A postpartum doula is an individual that allows the mother and newborn to create a special bond, without having to worry about everything else. They may do light housekeeping, listen and answer questions, make light meals, watch the baby while mom sleeps, and much more.

Prenatal/Postpartum Fitness Instructor – A prenatal and postpartum fitness instructor is trained specifically to instruct fitness classes to pregnant women and postpartum women. They are knowledgable about the pregnant and postpartum body anatomy.

Childbirth Educator – A childbirth educator is trained to be able to provide education and support to pregnant women and their families. They prepare women and families on what to expect before labor and after.

What profession or title am I missing? Feel free to ask below and I will get it added!

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Bump Day 2016

Come out to Iowa Family Chiropractic on April 9th, 2016!

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From 9 am until 11 am there will be around 20 vendors sharing their business, goods, and services for new and expecting parents/caregivers and for families trying to get pregnant! Such as local midwives, doulas, photographers, places to shop, acupuncture, massage, and much more.

List of vendors include:

1. Acupunture Wellness Center
2. Farm Baby Foods
3. Willowsong
4. Roots Prenatal Yoga
5. Little Padded Seats
6. Iowa Doula Agency
7. Basking Babies LLC
8. Hy-vee Nutrition
9. Fadeaway Flotation
10. Little Children’s Boutique
11. Babydale Diaper Service
12. Central Iowa Placenta
13. Mercy Midwives
14. It Works
15. Food4Thought
16. Iowa Birth Organization
17. Kiwi Marie Photography
18. Sams Club
19. Ankeny Dog Training Academy

AND Midwest Mom & Wife and Des Moines Parent!! 🙂

Not only will the be an educational event for families to see what Central Iowa has to offer, but there will be some fun stuff too! Bring some cash & prepare to shop! 🙂

Bump Bags full of free goodies for the first 50 families, plus door prizes and giveaways.

This event is also sponsored by Fadeaway Floatation! Check out the great experience I had!

Make sure you join the Facebook event to keep track of everything!

Why I am the

Why I am the Postpartum Doula For You!

You may have already heard the exciting news! I am working with the Iowa Doula Agency as a postpartum doula!

Why I am theI am so excited to support mothers after birth. My dream is for every mother to have that one BEST friend after they birth their child. An individual who will be there to support them emotionally, physically and give evidence-based support for the mother and family.

It is wonderful to have your spouse, family and friends around to help; but it is so beneficial to have an educated individual to assist. A postpartum doula’s focus is the mother.

You can be extremely prepared to have a baby. You can have freezer meals made, washed all the babies clothes, shopped for essentials, baby room prepped, and so on. Each birth and each postpartum period is different. There will be questions that need to be answered about your newborn or yourself. A postpartum doula will bring comfort and ease stresses.

I will (just a few and not limited to!):

  • Encourage mother-baby bonding
    • Help with skin-to-skin
  • Provide basic newborn care
    • Swaddle
    • Bathe
    • Change diapers
  • Provide physical help so mother can recover
    • Rest and sleep for mother
    • Healthy snacks
    • Ice packs
  • Basic household care
    • Light house cleaning
    • Errand running
    • Folding laundry
    • Meal preparation
  • Help provide sibling care

As a postpartum doula, I do not dispense medical advice, diagnose medical conditions, interpret medical diagnosis, perform medical clinical procedures, or prescribe/administer medications or treatment.

I am a resource tool! If you are concerned about breastfeeding and need to find a lactation consultation or need to find a mom’s group to socialize, I have many resources for you! If I cannot do something you need, I will help you find the perfect person to help you.

There is always a free consultation. At our consultation we will chat about what your concerns are and what you feel you may need the most assistance with. If you feel that I am the right fit, we will create a plan that we both are comfortable with!

I want to help every mother create and enjoy a special bond with their newborn. 

Have questions? Want to meet? Feel free to e-mail me at Erin@iowadoulas.com

Local Doula Spotlight: Blessed Bean Birth & Belly

In celebration of World Doula Week I had the privilege to interview one of the many doulas, in Central Iowa, Michelle Conkling. Michelle’s doula business is Blessed Bean Birth & Belly and has been a doula for almost two years. Below, you will find some basic questions of why she became a doula, her education, and why she enjoys it so much!

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Why did you want to become a doula?

“Before my daughter was born, I didn’t even know what a doula was. After she was born, I started to read a lot because my birth did not go as planned and ended in a c-section. I joined a local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) group and doulas kept coming up. The more I read about doulas, the more passionate I became about the idea. I wanted to support women through this very important time.”

What program did you use to become a certified doula? How long did it take you?

“I certified through the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA). There are many organizations now that certify doulas but I felt that ICEA and DONA had the most name recognition. I also liked that I could go back and certify as a post partum doula, a childbirth educator, and a prenatal and postpartum fitness educator all under one umbrella. There are eight books you need to read through ICEA on topics of birth to breastfeeding to postpartum depression. After I completed the reading, I attended a doula training workshop – this was an intense, hands on, two days full of information, workshop. I also attended a childbirth education class. And then I jumped in to attending births. You need three births to get certified – I am a volunteer doula through Mercy West so that helped a lot. I have subsequently attended additional training on VBAC’s and on utilizing a rebozo for labor support (a rebozo is a traditional Mexican shawl that can be used to apply pressure to the hips or support the belly.”

What is your favorite part of being a doula?

“I am continually amazed at the strength and power that women have during birth. And there is always the part when the mother gets to see her baby for the first time. It is a privilege to be a witness to both.”

Why should every pregnant woman hire a doula?

“We spend so much time and money planning our weddings but often we don’t give equal consideration to planning our births. Now granted, there are many things you can’t control during birth. But it is worth the time to educate yourself not only about the birth process but creating a support team around you – that support team includes your medical providers. One in three births in this country end in a c-section and those stats are very true in Iowa. We need to start asking our medical care providers tough questions about evidence based care long before we are in the middle of labor – questions about inductions and c-section rates. Having the continuous support of a doula has been shown in numerous clinical studies to result in shorter labors, reduces the need for Pitocin and c-sections, and reduces the mother’s need for pain meds and epidurals. The continuous support that a doula provides is invaluable!”

Do you have children and did you use a doula for your birth?

‘I will absolutely be using a doula for my next birth!”

What differentiates you from other doulas in the area?

There are many great women offering doula services in the Des Moines area. I really think it’s important for women (and their partners) to meet with several doulas to find the best fit for them. My role is to not only support the expecting mother but if she has a partner, help him or her best support the mother.

How many births have you attended?

“I have attended 15 births.”

How much do you charge? What type of packages do you offer?

“My fee is $600. I don’t offer different packages – I do offer a bellycast to clients if they are interested in that. I can work with people on payment plans and take Paypal.”

To celebrate even more Michelle has been gracious enough to give away one FREE belly cast! A belly cast is a plaster cast of a pregnant woman’s belly. It is a beautiful keepsake you can keep for years to come and show your children. This is one, of the many, unique things Michelle offers to all her clients.

Follow these rules to be enter into winning a FREE belly cast! I will announce a winner Sunday, March 29th on my Facebook page.

Belly Cast Giveaway

 Happy World Doula Week!

Awesome resource for YOU!

I am really excited to share something new I have added to the Midwest Mom & Wife blog! If you look at the tab options at the top, there is a new tab titled ‘Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond’. After a lot of time and compiling all my resources, I created this resource for YOU.

When I created Midwest Mom & Wife,  one of my many goals, was to share with you my experiences and passions about: pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, and attachment parenting. Every now and then, I blog and mention these categories. If you follow my Facebook page, you know that I have a passion for these topics! I did not become familiar with these topics until after I had my son, Monte. I sure wished that there was a resource, that compiled all of these articles, book titles, local groups, local resources, etc. in one spot.

Over the past three years, I have bookmarked favorite sites and articles that have helped me make decisions regarding my pregnancy, birthing, and parenting. I have broken down the ‘Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond’ tab into six topics:

  1. Pregnancy & Birth
  2. Breastfeeding
  3. Attachment Parenting
  4. Cloth Diapering
  5. Babywearing
  6. Co-Sleeping

In each of these topics I have compiled links and resources for you to learn more about the topic. Some may include my own blog posts, resources, memberships, services, articles and websites.

Please remember, that these articles and resources, are just information for you to gather your own opinions and decisions. When it comes to these topics there is no right or wrong. The most important thing is that you have done your research and you are informed. I hope these articles and resources, help you do that!

Please feel free to contact me if you provide a service, have a great article and/or resource you think should be included. I would love to add it! I will also be adding as I learn and read more 🙂

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