The word doula comes from ancient Greek meaning “woman caregiver.” It is now used to refer to a professional labor companion who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after childbirth. You can learn more on the DONA website.
Physical support, such as massage or help finding a more comfortable position, can decrease pain and help labor progress.
Emotional support, such as encouragement, praise, and reassurance, can decrease stress. High levels of stress hormones may slow the progress of labor and increase pain.
Informational support, such as explaining to a laboring woman what to expect, providing feedback about her labor progress, or helping her understand a recommended treatment, can increase a woman’s confidence
and help her make informed, healthy decisions.
Feeling safe and cared for allows your brain to produce the hormones that help labor progress, decrease your need for risky interventions, and protect your baby from harm.
A cesarean surgery
A vacuum or forceps assisted birth
The use of pain medication, including narcotics and epidural analgesia
Negative feelings about their childbirth experience
A doula’s goal is to help you have a safe and satisfying childbirth as you define it. She learns your preferences regarding the use of pain medication. Whether or not you desire an epidural, you will benefit from good support.
A doula does not replace the important role of your baby’s father or another loved one. Having a doula will help your partner understand what is happening during birth and relieve some of the stress and nervousness he may feel. Most hospitals allow two or more support people to accompany a woman during childbirth.
During labor a doula helps you cope with the pain using various non-medical comfort measures, such as positioning, breathing techniques, birth ball, massage, and hot or cold packs.
The fee is $500 and includes:
Free Initial Consultation
Childbirth education and preparation: During two prenatal visits we will discuss your preferences for this labor and birth, create a birth plan, and practice for the big day. An optional visit with you and your medical caregiver is offered. I provide 24-hour phone and email support.
Lending library: Access to books, magazines, and DVDs about pregnancy, childbirth, and baby care.
Private prenatal yoga class: I offer each client a one-on-one yoga session where you will learn poses to ease common pregnancy related discomforts while preparing your body and mind for birth.
Labor and birth support: I will stay with you throughout your labor and birth providing continuous support and undivided attention.
Breastfeeding support: I will remain with you for at least one to two hours after birth to assist with early breastfeeding.
Postpartum Visit: We will meet again after you and baby have returned home to discuss your birth experience and to address any concerns you may
have. I will also be available to assist with any breastfeeding problems.
From Angela P.:
My husband and I both agree that hiring Samantha as our doula was one of the best decisions we made during the whole pregnancy/birthing experience. She met with us prior to our due date to talk through our fears, what we had learned from our birthing class and our desires for the delivery. She never rushed through these meetings and took the time to answer all our questions and concerns. It was more like we were friends visiting; she was genuine and took her time getting to know our wishes and us as a couple. She even took time to show me some yoga positions to help prepare my body for delivery. We ended up having to be induced. Samantha arrived at the hospital 2 hours after us, per my request. I wanted some alone time with my husband before the main event. She was very helpful in suggesting different positions. After about 3 hours I realized I couldn’t take the pain and had to have an epidural. She was supportive in that decision as well. When it came time to push she was right next to me, holding my leg and repeating encouraging phrases. Afterwards she stayed with me in my room while my husband went with our baby girl to the nursery. It was nice to have her and not be left alone. She gave some tips on breastfeeding, which was helpful. I could tell with her actions and support she gave to us that she is passionate about this work.
From Karen C.:
My experience with Samantha Brinkerhoff as my labor and delivery doula was positive and I would highly recommend her. I have had two previous births both of which were natural. I had a doula present at my first birth, but not my second. Having a doula present made all the difference and I wanted that experience again for the birth of my third child. Samantha came to my house before the birth to talk about what my desires were for the birth and any anxieties I had. Samantha was able to talk through my desires and anxieties with ease and compassion. This really did help relieve any fears I had before the birth. The day of delivery, she met us at the hospital minutes after we arrived. During labor she helped both me and my husband remain calm and assured me that I could again deliver medication free. She was able to talk me through different positions that she thought may prove helpful. Had it not been for this, I would have not tried a position that helped relieve tension and allowed me to relax during labor. She stayed with us after the delivery until after I had breastfed successfully and felt comfortable. It was an experience I would not change. I am so thankful for her emotional and physical help she offered.