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!


Doula: Why Do YOU Need One?

It is World Doula Week! World Doula Week officially began on Sunday.

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What is World Doula Week?!? “The purpose of World Doula Week (“WDW”) is to empower doulas all over the world to improve the physiological, social, emotional, and psychological health of women, newborns and families in birth and in the postpartum period.” – World Doula Week

I did not even know what a doula was when Monte was born in 2012. Since his birth, I have slowly learned what a doula is and why EVERY pregnant woman should have and deserves a doula during their birth. When I discovered I was pregnant with Amelia, I knew that this was a necessity for me. I knew I wanted to accomplish a completely different birth, then what I had with Monte. A doula is what helped me achieve those goals!

What does a doula do? 

  • A doula is your advocate when you are giving birth. A doula will make sure the birth you want is accomplished. If something does not go as plan, your doula will know what you are comfortable with and will always be their to speak for you. A doula will keep you informed at all times.
  • A doula does not take the place of your partner. A doula will help your partner feel more confident during your birth and help guide your partner with things to do.
  • A doula will help you feel comfortable. A doula will wipe your face, place a washcloth on your head, remind you to breathe, will know different massage techniques, and be knowledgable in different ways to sit, stand and move during labor.
  • A doula will help postpartum also. A doula will help you become comfortable with skin-to-skin and breastfeeding.

There are several benefits to having a doula including: 

  1. Reduces the incidences of c-section
  2. Lowers the amount of epidural and pain requests
  3. Can shorten the length of labor
  4. Increases successful breastfeeding
  5. Decreases the incidence of postpartum depression

There are several types of doulas and each may be certified in one area or multiple areas.

  1. Birth (Labor) Doula- This is the most common. The doula is available before and through out the labor and birthing process. They help with breathing, advocating for you, massaging, breastfeeding, and more.
  2. Antepartum Doula – Doulas assist with mothers who have been placed on bed rest or who are high-risk. They provide a lot of emotional support and listen. They have resources for great support groups and sometimes will help with light housework.
  3. Postpartum (Postnatal) Doula – A postpartum doula is another set of hands, after your birth, when you are adjusting to life with your baby. The provide light housework, cooking and cleaning. They also provide support and coach with breastfeeding, sleeping, calming, and much more.

I cannot wait to begin my journey as a Postpartum Doula in May. If you have not heard, a CAPPA Postpartum Doula Training is coming to Des Moines. If you have not signed up, do it soon! I am excited to support mothers and their families after birth.


Types of Doulas – How To Become A Doula 

World Doula Week


CAPPA Postpartum Doula Training

World Doula Week is fast approaching!


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I had never heard of a doula until after the birth of Monte and I definitely wish I had the support of a doula with his birth. When I discovered I was pregnant with Amelia, I knew I needed and wanted a doula. The women in the Des Moines area are very lucky with the amount of doulas that are available to help with birth.

During World Doula Week, I am looking forward to sharing with you the awesome resources we have in our area, why you need a doula for your birth, what is involved to become one and an AWESOME giveaway 🙂

For now, I want to focus and share with you an awesome opportunity coming to Des Moines.  Midwest Mom & Wife is hosting a CAPPA Postpartum Doula Training! If you are wanting to become a postpartum doula or are interested in increasing your skills and education, in this field, this is for you.

CAPPA is a pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum organization.

“Since 1998, CAPPA’s mission has been to offer comprehensive, evidence-based education, certification, professional membership and training to childbirth educators, lactation educators, labor doulas, antepartum doulas and postpartum doulas worldwide. CAPPA is proud to provide new and expectant families access to these professionals here. Cappa is a non-profit organization headquartered in the USA, with branches worldwide.”

You will learn:

  • Scope of your Doula Practice
  • How to support parents
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Baby care techniques
  • Calming & soothing techniques
  • Postpartum mood disorders
  • SIDS/Back to sleep campaigns
  • Listening & communication skills
  • Record keeping & contracts
  • Creating & Marketing your business
  • Networking soultions

This whole workshop is going to be AWESOME 🙂

The After Baby Lady, from Michigan, is a certified CAPPA instructor and will be leading our Postpartum Doula Training.

This event will be held May 30th & 31st in Des Moines, Iowa. Location is to be determined! Please share and spread the word!

Please print, post & share the flier!