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Doula the birthworker
What is a doula?
The Greek word doula means “a woman’s servant”. Today, a doula is trained to support you physically and emotionally through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
Ok, but what exactly does a birth doula do?
The job of a birth doula is to support in many ways, including providing the client with emotional support, evidenced-based information about pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. A birth doula also provides logistical support through checklists and resource guides to help you prepare well for the baby. While also, of course, providing physical support during labor. Doulas are not medical providers and do not replace doctors or midwives. We are additional members to your birth team.
Will a doula replace my partner?
Of course not! Our relationship will grow closer after the birth, but your partner will still be your number one! As a doula I come to also help equip your partner to be your BEST support, by providing them with instructions, techniques and strategies. At the end of the day, your partner knows you and doulas know birth. Making us a well-rounded support team!
I have a midwife, do I need a doula?
You should bring this question to your next midwife appointment! Midwives and doulas are a great bridge of care and will have you supported on every side. Similar to doctors/OBs, midwives are not available to answer your questions or provide hands-on care around the clock. When you have your first contraction, and you are laboring, your midwife typically won’t join the birth till closer to pushing; while your doula generally joins you sooner to provide physical comfort measures and emotional support you need to make it to the end! Immediately postpartum your midwife is monitoring you and baby's vitals; while the doula helps with initial latch/breastfeeding and makes sure your next meal is on the way.
What types of births do doula’s support?
As a doula I support you in all the birth spaces. I am equipped to support at-home births, hospitals and birth center settings. While the support may look unique to each setting, the goal of having your birth experience personalized to be the best for you still remains the same! Personally, I am a sucker for an out of hospital birth and a hospital births are my jam ! I have a knack for navigating the hospital setting and letting my clients know what to expect to ease their anxiety.
Why would I want to have a doula? I can just bring my mom/sister/friend for free.
Your family support is a great asset and I am happy to work alongside them too! As a doula we are professionally trained in comfort measures, evidence-based research and all things birth. A doula also will be able to provide physical and informational support that a non-trained person often does not have. Doulas have experience with being comfortable in the labor and birth environment and won’t be phased by how quickly things are changing. As a neutral third party, a doula won’t bring emotions or bias into your pregnancy, birth experience or choices the way that a friend/ family member often does. Together we will make a well-rounded support team for you; both bringing different skill sets to the table.
Sanyika the Doula, LLC
When do we start our journey together?
The sooner the better! As your doula I want to build on our relationship and rapport as much as possible before the baby decides it is time! I generally suggest that you should hire your doula by 20 weeks. Also note that the longer you wait there is a chance that the doula of your choice will not be available. Don’t delay doula up today! :)
Can you take pictures?
Birth is one of the most beautiful experiences. It is for that reason that I offer birth photography in some packages and also a la cart to build into your package. There are a lot of opportunities for me as a doula to take pictures. When my hands are free I am usually snapping pictures. These photos are edited and released to you for your personal use. Don’t leave to chance missing photos of one the biggest days of your life. Don’t give your partner the task as they may be just as emotional as you when the baby arrives (I’ve seen it happen many times). Plus it’s great to capture their expressions as well. Learn more about my birth photography offering here.
What happens at our prenatal visits?
Generally speaking it is a time to discuss any pregnancy/birth concerns, address any issues or fears, and define a loose plan of how you envision your birth will go. At these appointments I will also do light birth/labor education, and inform you of when to call me. Along with that there will be techniques to practice with your partner and I also show you some birthy tools from my birth bag!
What is the on-call 24/7 period?
This period starts at 38 weeks and is the time that officially means you can have your baby at any moment! This period looks like you calling me ANYTIME and I will answer. During this time I will not go out of town, on long vacations out of the state or turn off my phone! If your due date happens to coincide with a previously important engagement a back-up doula will be at your service. My goal during this time is to ease your mind in “the waiting”, remind you of what is normal, and be on standby for early and active labor, birth and postpartum support!
Will you help me with breastfeeding?
YES! I am very passionate about breastfeeding! As your doula I will assist with initiation of breastfeeding/first latch within an hour or two after birth, as long as everything has gone smoothly. Also postpartum I am also available for questions or concerns about all things breastfeeding. I breastfed both my children for at least 20 month each. I have lived and learned experience and am happy to help in any way during your breastfeeding journey! From 1st latch to weaning I’ve been through and supported it all!
Next Steps and Investments
How do I book you?
The best way to book is click the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page and schedule your free doula consultation today! Or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any concerns or questions about birth and doula services.
How do I pay? What type of payment methods are accepted?
A retainer/deposit fee is required and that puts your due date on my calendar and the remaining balance is due by 36 weeks to ensure I am on call for your birth. Payment plans are also available depending on how far out your date is. There are a couple of different payment options as well! We accept debit, credit, Health Spending Account (H.S.A.), Flexible Spending Account (F.S.A.) payments and Zelle.
What if I change my mind or no longer need a doula? Do I get a refund?
No. Contrary to belief your fee is not paying just for me to attend your birth; in reality, doula fees compensate me being on-call, the rapport that is being built during pregnancy, my texting support and advice throughout our contract, and being available to rearrange my schedule at any given moment to support you on your big day! If you decide to part ways during your pregnancy all payments paid are non-refundable.
What does virtual doula support look like during COVID-19?
As your doula I am here to support you in the best way possible. Due to COVID hospital restrictions that are constantly evolving/ changing, each birth is unique. I will still provide prenatal and postpartum visits virtual or face-to-face. While the birth, depending on the circumstances will be accompanied with at home physical support and virtual hospital support, if the hospital is not allowing doulas. Virtual hospital support can be via text, phone calls, and video; depending on the clients needs and wishes. I will still be available to you 24/7 during your labor, birth and immediately postpartum the best way I can!