About Doulas
What is a DOULA?
According to DONA International, the word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother throughout pregnancy, labor, birth, and during the early post-partum period. As a doula, I accompany women in labor and their partners to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. 
Please watch the brief video below (2.5 min) for more insight into the roles of a doula!
WakeMed Doulas Labor Support Services
Doula Collective
DONA International
The three links above are to important doula organizations to which I belong. There you can find more information about doulas and important birth resources. 

A doula is for everyone!

Some moms believe that a doula is only for a "certain kind" of mom birthing under certain circumstances. In keeping with the mission of DONA International, I believe in a doula for every mother who wants one. Whether you are planning a home or hospital birth, medicated or natural, a doula can offer you necessary support throughout your pregnancy and birth. While I am personally educated in the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth and as a doula through DONA International, I am also working on training in Lamaze, Hypnobabies, and other philosophies of childbirth education. I seek to be as informed as possible so I can pass my knowledge on to my clients. I will not force any particular philosophy of birth on any client, but instead I will help you to find the resources and information to make your own informed choices about what is best for you and your family.
Doulas are for mom and her birth partner!
A doula is present at the birth for not only the birthing mother, but everyone in attendance at her birth. As a doula, I hope to help partners and loved ones to understand the normal processes of birth and to be involved in the birth as much as they desire. While it is rewarding to serve as a doula to mothers who may not have family or friends who can be present at their birth for whatever reason, a doula is not a replacement for a family member such as a the baby's father or the mom's parents or siblings. A doula should be regarded as an enrichment and an asset to your birth team. While a medical care provider is there to assure the health and safety of the mother and baby, I can give my attention to other members of the family as well, making sure they are getting the rest, sustenance, and attention they need to be helpful, aware partners during the birth and postpartum.
Here's a link to a helpful handout with more information on the important relationship between "Dads and Doulas". 
Dads and Doulas: Key Players on Mother's Labor Support Team

What can a doula DO for you?

According to DONA International, a doula's presence at a birth has many benefits, including shorter labors with fewer complications, reduced negative feelings about the childbirth experience, reduced need for pitocin, forceps or vacuum extraction, reduced rates of unplanned cesareans, and reduced requests for pain medication and/or epidurals. See informative links to research-based evidence and articles below!

Informational Support

A doula will provide your family with the resources and referrals you need to make the best choices about your birth experience and to receive the best care possible. I maintain a list of medical care providers as well as holistic care providers in the area and I also have a vast library of books, articles and web links related to chilbirth and infant care. Whether you are seeking a new doctor, an acupuncturist, chiropractor or lactation consultant, whether you need help developing your birth plan or you are trying to make a decision about inducing labor or whether to circumcise your son, I can provide you with the necessary information to help you advocate for yourself and make informed choices. 

Emotional Support

A doula is there for emotional support throughout your pregnancy and during labor and birth. When you need someone to talk to about any anxiety or pressure you are feeling as you confront the life-changing event of childbirth, your doula can be one of the people you call! I can provide you with resources for mental or emotional support or help you find the best stress-relieving practice for you whether it be prenatal yoga, massage, or guided meditations. I will be there for you throughout your pregnancy and again during your labor and birth to provide you with comfort, positivity, and words of encouragement and affirmation! 

Physical Support

A doula provides physical support to a laboring mother through physical touch such as hugs and holding, massage, acupressure and counter pressure techniques, and heat or cold therapy. I will also be there to provide physical support throughout your pregnancy, such as to offer you advice to help relieve physical discomforts you may experience or give you ideas for positioning and exercises for late pregnancy and early labor. I will be by your side, physically, from as early in labor as you need me until after the first hour postpartum. 

Research supporting the use of doulas can be found at DONA International on Childbirth Connection, Evidence Based Birth, and the journal Pediatrics, a publication of the American Association of Pediatricians. Please contact me for any further information needed to make your decision!