"She was at my side before, during, and after delivery of my child, and I thank my lucky stars I got Liz. She is warm, intuitive, knowledgeable, and highly dedicated to help in exactly the ways that I needed. Liz was meant to be a doula, and you would be very lucky to have her at your side for one of the most difficult and important experiences of a lifetime." - Rachel S., Birth Client, September, 2016
What is a birth doula?
In ancient Greece the word doula meant "A woman who serves". Today it is used to describe a person who provides physical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy, labor, and the immediate postpartum period. As your birth doula, I will be there throughout your labor and delivery to offer consistent, compassionate, and non-judgemental support, whatever that looks like for you and your partner. Among other things, this includes encouragement, reassurance, comfort measures such as breathing and massage, and assistance in gathering information about the course of your labor and your options. This is your birth, and you and your partner set the tone; my job as a doula is to listen and my goal is help you and your partner have a safe and satisfying childbirth as you define it for yourselves.
Continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants. In 2013, Cochrane published a report on the use of continuous support for women during childbirth based on the birth experiences of over 15,000 women. When continuous support was provided by a doula, women experienced a:
31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
28% decrease in the risk of C-section
12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to the NICU
34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
To read more about the evidence for doulas, here is a great article from "Evidence Based Birth".
I decided to become a doula as soon as I realized I could actually nurture people for a living - what a revelation! Although I am an independent birth doula, since 2016 I have had the honor of serving as a member of the Swedish Doula Program at Swedish Medical Center. Although I work outside of Swedish and attend home births as well, this affiliation has given me the gift of an amazing team of doula colleagues from whom I am able to learn as we share our knowledge and practice skills with each other. For more about me and what led me to becoming a doula click here. For details about my birth doula services and fees, please click here. And here is a handout that goes into more detailed specifics of what it means when you hire me as your birth doula.
"Labor can be short, long, easy, hard, early or late...the variations are infinite and nature writes the script. While you can't predict the path of your baby's birth, you can stack the deck in favor of having a satisfying experience: Remain open to all possibilities of how labor might unfold; Prepare your body and mind for the hard work of labor and becoming a parent; Gather close around you those you love; and ... Always have continuous support!"
- Kim James