WHAT IS A DOULA?
The word Doula comes from Greek, meaning woman-servant; the term was originally used to refer to a woman, typically a family member or friend, who assisted another woman during labor and birth. The practice of women helping other women in labor is as old as humanity and crosses cultures far and wide, because it is intuitive.
With advancements in modern medicine and a switch to a primarily medical-model of birth, especially in Western society, the practice of having female friends and kinfolk attending births has gone by the wayside. Nowadays, you can’t just bring six of your closest gal pals, your aunt, your mom, and grandma Ethel into the maternity ward with you and call them doulas. If you are birthing in a hospital, there are restrictions for who and how many people are allowed in the delivery room. And even if not in-hospital, most women are no longer keen on a communal birth, because that’s just not what we are used to in our modern lives. However, there is a middle-ground between an attendance of strictly medical personnel or a gaggle of your aunts. The compromise is hiring a person whose job it is to be both proficient and comforting to join you for the momentous event of giving birth. That person is a professional doula.
The word doula has changed to generally refer to a professional support person who assists people during delicate transitions in their lives. The most widely known type of doula is a labor or birth doula, but there are also doulas for other major life transitions such as: postpartum, antepartum (for high risk pregnancies), abortion, miscarriage, adoption, and death. At the core of every doula’s practice is compassion. Their purpose is to give care. They are there for their clients emotionally and physically: teaching, coaching, calming, soothing, listening, and even advocating for their clients if needed.
While doulas are very well-educated in the medical aspects of their chosen specialties, they are not medical professionals. They will not give medical advice or practice medicine in any way. However, they will help you understand medical information if you need it, and they may help you communicate with medical staff if you want them to. They are by your side to fill in the gaps between the medical staff and your loved ones. Doctors, nurses, and midwives provide you medical care, your family and friends offer you their love as always, and a doula builds a bridge between these two worlds with knowledge, empathy, consistency, and strength.
What many people don’t know is that a doula is not there only to support the person going through the transitional life event, but also to support the partner and family of that person. A birth doula spends much of their time encouraging birth partners and giving them tools to help the laboring mother. Many birth partners feel overwhelmed if they have never been by the side of a laboring woman before, and they sometimes feel helpless while seeing their partner in discomfort or pain that they can’t “fix”. Doulas help give the birth partner confidence in their ability to support as well. That may be as simple as some encouraging words, or it could be suggesting how to massage their laboring partner, recommending they help their laboring partner change positions, or reminding them to hydrate and take care of themselves as well. It can be easy to feel at a loss as a birth partner, but a doula acts as an anchor in a storm, grounding all involved so they don’t feel so out of control. A doula does not replace a birth partner, but rather complements them to create a solid support team which is the best scaffolding for a positive birth experience.
You make the World Go 'Round
Here at Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Doula Agency, we see, honor, and celebrate mothers and partners every day of the year!
We are constantly in awe of all that Mothers and birthing people go through. As mothers we are not only expected to survive, but to thrive and to raise these little people who have completely changed us on the inside and out.
No pressure, right?
Some of us go through hell and high water to get pregnant in the first place or we jump through hundreds of hoops to adopt our children. We sometimes spend years of heart ache and thousands of dollars to have a child.
We grow these little people in our hearts, minds, and in our bodies. This part is still crazy to me and I've done it several times and see it all the time.
And then, so many of us endear hours of labor, eventually pushing our babies out into the world...while others of us go through major abdominal surgery in order to meet our babies.
When it comes time to meet our baby, we literally and figuratively say, ''I'll do whatever I have to do. I just want my baby to be okay.''
And then, the real fun begins...
We love them. We lose sleep for them. We question our own existence. We often go through blood, sweat, and tears to feed them. We worry about them. We stay home with them through flu season to keep them safe. We take them places to expand their world view. We spend our money on them.
We do. We do. We do.
We love them. We love them. We love them.
And for that, we all deserve on Mother's Day and every day of the year.
A special shout-out to:
Mothers who go through hell and high water to have a baby.
Mothers who are parenting without a partner.
Mothers who adopt their children.
Mothers who've love and lost their children.
Mothers without family nearby.
Mothers who don't identify as women.
Mothers who've experienced a traumatic birth or postpartum.
Mothers who have experienced Postpartum Mood Disorder.
Mothers who are mothering without a mother.
Mothers who are just getting by.
We see, honor, and celebrate each and every one of you.
Written By: Molly Murray
Molly Murray is the owner and founder of Cincinnati Birth and Parenting. Molly has been passionately serving families as a birth and postpartum doula in Cincinnati and N. Kentucky since 2012.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
Here you will find a list of things that our doula clients and members of the Cincinnati Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting Support group (found here) have mentioned were most helpful during their births or things that they wished they had brought along!
Many have found that it is best to have a separate bag for birth and for postpartum.. or one bag for the parents and another for baby. This is helpful so that when you first go into the hospital, you can leave the baby stuff in the car until you move over to your postpartum room.
We hope you find this list useful in preparing for your big day!
Birth Plan or Preferences
A short and simple one page birth plan is good. Many birth plans include things like ''minimal pelvic exams, intermittent monitoring, a saline lock as opposed to an IV, delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin'' If you need help in knowing what your options are, find out more about our childbirth classes here.
Much of this list is applicable to both the birthing person & partner.
Comfortable Clothing for Labor and Post-Delivery
Comfort is key. The hospital does provide gowns and disposable underwear but you're welcome to wear your own clothes and some birthing people say that they feel more comfortable in their own clothes than in the hospital gown. In the same light, many people swear by those mesh underwear! You do you.
Tools for comfort in labor
These are things that some doulas keep in their doula bag but you're welcome to bring your own, especially if you're not using a doula.
Phone and Chargers Besides needing your phone for calling, texting, and updating your friends and family, you'll want to take pictures and may download apps for music in labor or a white noise app for sleeping. Don't forget the chargers.
Extra Pillows A couple extra pillows from home can help you feel a little more comfortable in labor, for husband/partner to sleep with and for nursing.
Extra bag for gifts and freebies - You will leave the hospital with more than you came with. Bring an extra bag for all the ‘freebies’ (i.e. diapers, wipes, disposable underwear, ice packs, etc.)
From Mom's Who've Been Through It...
Ditto on the energy drink (I prefer Body Armor, which they have at Target), energy chews, and healthy snacks. I brought my own hospital gown, and then switched to my button down PJs postpartum, and that’s all I wore until the day we left.
Last, but certainly not least... Don't forget to bring a doula!
Your doula can help you prenatally to know what your options are, at home, to know what stage of labor you might be in, when it's a good time to head to the hospital; she can help carry your bags, set up the lighting and music into your labor room. Overall, a doula is an extra (knowledgeable) set of hands when you need it most.
Contact us today to set up a free consultation to hear more about all that our doula group offers.
Happy First Day of April!
Just kidding about that new logo... that would be super silly.
Happy April Fool's Day from Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Network and Doula Agncy!
Happy Easter to all of our clients who celebrate Easter!
And especially a ''Happy First Day as Parents'' to our doula clients who delivered on the last day of March or will be delivering their babies into this world today!
We see, honor, and appreciate each and every one of you!!
Join Molly Murray as she interviews the very best birth and parenting professionals. Today's guest is Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Network member Amy Sullivan, a Certified Professional Counselor.
Listen in as Amy shares all about Postpartum Mood Disorders: How to identify them, where to get help, and healing your family as you recover.
A Research study for BREASTFEEDING women - Please share
Dr. Nommsen-Rivers, an IBCLC and research expert in human lactation reached out to us and asked if we would help spread the word on her current research study for breastfeeding women. If you qualify, please reach out to the UC Maternal and Child Nutrition lab office at (513) 558-7041 or if you have any questions.
Please consider this research study if:
• Your baby is between 4-10 weeks old
• You are currently exclusively breastfeeding (i.e. your baby only receives your own breast milk)
The purpose of this research study:
• To better understand why some mothers make plenty of breast milk and others struggle to make enough milk
• This research study lasts about 3 days
• You will complete 2 days in a row (48 hours) of at-home weighing of your baby before and after each feeding.
• You will come to the Cincinnati Children’s Schubert Research Clinic for a 4-5 hour visit that includes blood sugar testing and measuring your milk production
Benefits of Participation:
• You will be provided information about your baby’s growth, milk intake, and your milk production.
• You will be given a summary of your blood sugar and blood lipid levels
• You will be compensated up to $200 for your time and effort
• Please contact the UC Maternal and Child Nutrition lab office at (513) 558-7041 if you are interested in participating in this research study or if you have any questions • Principal Investigator: Dr. Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, PhD, RD, IBCLC University of Cincinnati, Department of Nutritional Sciences
Join Molly Murray as she interviews the best birth and parenting professionals in the area!
Our first show is with Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Network's Natahshia Conner, IBCLC and Health Educator.
What is the cost of a birth doula in Cincinnati or N. Kentucky?
6 years ago, when I first started looking for a birth doula, pregnant with my second child and wanting a supported birth experience different from my first, I kept hearing the word doula. I knew that I wanted to add one to my birth team. A big question I had then was, ''Will I even be able to afford a doula?''
I scoured the various doula directories looking for the most affordable but still warm and approachable looking doula. I eventually found an incredibly warm, compassionate and enthusiastic doula who was only charging a few hundred dollars.
I hired this doula right away. She spent time with me prenatally, answering a ''false alarm'' call a few weeks before my due date, and coming to the hospital for a looong birth, and then coming to my home once again after my baby and I were home.
When it was all said and done, my birth doula in 2012 made pennies on the hour.
Fast forward just a couple years and this phenomenal doula is no longer available or doing birth doula work at all. I have to wonder if the reason is that she wasn't making a fair living wage for all the work she was doing.
UpdateD Blog Post - Introducing Sally Ackerman
Meet Sally Ackerman! Sally is one of the incredible doulas that contracts with Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Doula Agency.
Sally is a professionally trained and qualified birth doula.
Sally has big goals and is ready to grow into this work full time. In doing so, Sally would like to extend a special offer to you as she gains experience. For a limited time, Sally is a Tier 1 doula at a reduced rate of $500!
Birth Doula Services Include:
- One Prenatal Visit
Our prenatal visit is an opportunity for you to get to know Sally and Sally to get to know you and what you want from her in your birth. We can go over your birth and postpartum plan, who else will be at your birth, when to call us, etc.
- Phone, Text, Email Support
Message Sally anytime with questions related to pregnancy, birth or postpartum. Your doula is here for you.
- Access to our twice monthly Meet & Greets
We have one scheduled for March 10th and another on March 22nd. This is your opportunity to meet our whole doula team and other expecting parents.
- On-call from the time of hire
Hire Sally today and go into labor tomorrow? No problem! Once your contract is signed and you've paid, Sally is your doula and available.
- Continuous and unlimited birth support
No matter how short or long your birth is, we are there for you at no extra cost to you.
- Built in back-up doula support
We all work together here at Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Doula Agency. You are working with us as a team, no matter who your primary doula is.
- One Postpartum Visit
This visit is when you are home and ready for Sally to come to your home. She can talk and process your birth with you, offer resources and information, and remind you how strong and supported you are.
For families due in 2018 only.
Retainer of $250 due upon contract signing. Full balance due by 38 weeks.
Who are we?
Cincinnati Birth and Parenting, LLC was founded by Molly Murray, a birth and postpartum doula and childbirth educator. Through this growing company, Molly connects parents with information, resources, and support while also staying committed to building up fellow professionals and connecting them with the people who need their services most.