Birth Doula Support
As defined by DONA International, the largest and most respected doula certifying organization, “a doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.” Samantha is a DONA certified birth doula who not only provides support during your labor and delivery, but is a constant resource throughout your pregnancy. As a certifed birth doula, Samantha will provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, suggest various ways to cope with labor, translate “hospital speak”, help with relaxation, and support you with any decision you make for your birth. The word “doula” comes from the Greek meaning of “a woman who serves.”
Evidence shows that birthing parents who had continuous support during their labor and delivery were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have pain medication, vacuum or forceps assisted births, negative feelings about their birth, and cesarean sections. According to a 2012 Cochrane Review, the continuous support of a doula means moms experience a…
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin (a synthetic hormone used to start labor)
- 28% decrease in the risk of a cesarean section
- 12% increase of the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of pain medication, such as an epidural
- 14% decrease in the risk of a newborn being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
For more information on “The Evidence for Doulas” click here (you will also see a picture of Samantha at work!)
A doula does not…
- Perform clinical tasks such as taking blood pressure, fetal heart checks or vaginal exams.
- Give medical advice or make a diagnosis
- Deliver your baby
- Speak to your care provider or hospital on your behalf (I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, as well as encourage you to voice your opinions, questions and concerns to the staff.)
- Make decisions for you
- Take over the role of your partner
Hospital, home or birth center. Unmedicated or medicated. Obstetrician or midwife. Single parents or birth teams. We attend your birth, however you choose to birth.
Yes! Doulas are available to support people giving birth in any way they choose. We support those who want a completely natural birth and we support those who choose an epidural at any stage of their labor. In most hospital births, epidural anesthesia is administered only after you’ve progressed to a certain point in labor. If you choose to have an epidural before you go into labor or during your labor, we will…
- Discuss the risks and benefits of an epidural with you and your partner
- Provide comfort measures during your labor pre-epidural
- Stay with you while your epidural is administered (if permitted by the hospital)
- Help you change positions throughout your labor
- Be judgement free
Absolutely not. A doula offers guidance, reassurance and encouragement for the partner. We often “doula” the partner during birth, as well. Birth happens to the entire family.
Samantha is certified through the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York (CEA/MNY), an organization that upholds birth as a normal physiological process and seeks to provide evidence-based information so people can make informed and confident choices in their maternal/infant care. CEA/MNY is based on “cooperative”, otherwise known as “family-centered”, maternity care, a model that focuses on the priorities and needs of mothers, infants and partners. Classes focus on the process of birth rather than a particular “method” like Lamaze or Bradley (although, you might notice some similar concepts and ideas). Students explore a variety of pain-coping and labor-coping strategies in order to identify the ones most instinctive to them. Classes prepare couples for natural and medicated births, including cesarean sections. Classes also cover postpartum care, newborn care, and breastfeeding. These classes help prepare couples for the birth they desire as well as the one that might unfold. Samantha draws on her extensive education through CEA/MNY and also her experience as a birth doula. Certification through CEA/MNY is a two-year process, similar to receiving an associate degree in childbirth education.
“If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.” We believe that knowledge is power and the more informed you are about your body, your options, your rights and your birth, the more positively you will remember this major life experience. Because few of us have been around labor and birth before, childbirth education classes will inform couples of what to expect and what they can do to best prepare for their labor and birth. When birth is presented as a normal process and not an illness, it can help dispel fear and anxiety. Additionally, group classes provide an opportunity to ask questions, hear questions from other couples, and develop a community of other first or second-time parents.
Childbirth classes are for everyone. If there is one thing we know about birth, it’s that it is completely unknowable. Classes prepare you for a variety of different circumstances and support the idea of “birth preferences” versus “birth plans.” The overall goal of a childbirth class is to equip students with the necessary knowledge to make informed choices throughout their pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum experience.
Yes! Partners are strongly encouraged to attend as this is an experience happening to the family. For single parents, the birth partner of your choosing is also encouraged to attend classes.
The quality of a childbirth class depends on two things: the effectiveness of the instructor and the scope of information provided. Hospital classes are often taught by nurses who might or might not have extensive childbirth education training. Many hospital-based classes are large, brief sessions geared toward preparing clients for the routines and procedures at a particular institution. Lavender Learning classes are small and personal, cover an extensive array of pain-coping techniques and hands-on practice, and provide information on a wide range of topic. Also, many hospital courses do not include breastfeeding and newborn care into their childbirth education class but offer it separately, so it can end up costing you more money.
It’s never too late to take a childbirth class. We recommend taking a class series that will conclude by your 36th week of pregnancy. However, students are welcome to take classes at any point in their second or third trimester.
Yes. While we strongly recommend group classes, we realize this doesn’t work for everyone. Please contact Samantha for her private teaching availability.