The term Birthkeeper can be different for everyone. Birthkeeper and doula can be exchanged as the same for some. I prefer the term Birthkeeper for myself. I view birth as a natural, beautiful, spiritual and sacred experience, and I hold your birth space as so. A Birthkeeper, in my view is someone who holds space, educates and supports women through fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum. To me, it is true traditional midwifery, not medicalized and regulated midwifery. However, I do not provide any medical assistance or prenatal care. I do offer my clients a course to educate themselves on doing their own prenatal care if they choose to do so and have tools they can use themselves.
What does Doula mean?
The term "Doula" comes from the Ancient Greek translation meaning "a woman who serves". It is used to describe a woman who supports and assists a woman during labor and birth. Today it is used to describe a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to women during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. A Doula's goal is to help women achieve a safe, memorable, positive and empowering birth experience. A Doula can also be referred to as a Birthkeeper, Birth-worker, Birth Assistant, Labor Coach, etc. I feel that many doulas are restricted by their certification organizations and restrict themselves to fully support women's choices; like many "can't" or won't attend a freebirth/ unassisted birth. I feel this is a disservice to women, and that all women should have support no matter where or how they choose to birth, and that is one reason I prefer the term Birthkeeper for myself.
What are the benefits of having a Doula?
Having a Doula not only has a positive impact on a mother, baby and family's experience, but statistics prove that a Doula improves outcomes: ~ 25-39% decrease in the risk of C-section ~ 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth ~ 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief ~41 minute average shorter labors ~ 38% decrease in the risk of newborns having low 5 minute Apgar score ~ 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
What will I do as your Birthkeeper?
As your Birthkeeper, I will provide support in many ways during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Some of these ways include: ~ holding your birth space sacred ~ encourage you to listen to your intuition ~ utilize massage therapy techniques throughout your pregnancy and during birth ~ provide you with evidence based information ~ inform you of all options, risks and benefits ~ answer any questions you may have ~ suggest ways to release your fears and concerns ~ support choices in your preferred birth plan ~ advocate for your desires to be followed ~ educate your partner in comfort measures and techniques ~ assist in preparing for recovery ~ help track your sensations to determine if/when you should call your provider ~ offer continuous support throughout your active labor and birth ~ set up your birthing pool if you are planning a water birth ~ apply a multitude of pain management and positional techniques to assist in labor progress ~ comfort you through any difficult moments ~ reassure you of your strength and ability ~ cater to your needs, whatever they are ~ occupy other children if needed ~ perform light household duties ~ follow you to the birthing facility of your choice if you are not choosing to birth at home ~ create the ambiance desired in your birthing space ~ discuss options if things don't go as planned ~ capture moments on camera if you do not have a birth photographer, and even if you do ~ guide you to initiate and establish breastfeeding ~ clean up after your home birth ~ reminisce about your birth experience with you ~ give tips on caring for your newborn ~ gift you a postpartum healing basket ~ continue to support you and offer advice throughout recovery AND SO MUCH MORE!
What I don't do:
I am not a medical provider and do not give medical advice, but I can provide evidence based information so you can make the best decision for you. I do not perform any medical procedures, but can help you to decide what procedures are necessary for you and which ones are not. I will not make any decisions for you, but can provide resources so that you understand all your options. I will not catch your baby, but will advocate for whoever you desire to do so.
Do you need additional support if you have a Midwife or Doctor/OB?
Midwives, Doctors, OB's and nurses all have a role in your birth, if you choose to have them on your birth team. They are highly trained medical professionals, are responsible for monitoring you and your baby's safety during labor and birth, and they will come and go throughout labor and delivery. I will compliment your chosen birth team by providing one on one support throughout your pregnancy, continuous support from the beginning of active labor until several hours after birth, and support during your recovery period.
Will I replace your partner?
No! I could never replace your partner. Instead, I work with your partner to provide you with the best support possible! I can help prepare your partner to be active during labor and provide them with techniques that best support and comfort you. Your partner can't be in two places at once, so I can either bring things to you during labor while your partner provides comfort or vice versa. Your partner(s) and I can take turns applying pain management techniques and support you while changing labor positions or holding you up.
What birth settings do I attend?
I attend assisted home birth, freebirth and hospital births.
What does informational advocate mean?
Do you know all the choices you have while pregnant and giving birth? Many women are unaware of all their choices and this is where a I can come in handy! I can provide you with all your choices, even when you are told you have none, or when things don't go as originally planned. Most women are only familiar with mainstream birth consisting of an OB and a hospital birth, but some women choose Birth Centers, some choose to birth in the comfort of their own homes with a midwife and some choose to freebirth. No matter where birth happens, it could be beautiful, spiritual and empowering, or it could end up being traumatic. Women are often told horror stories about birth and it's portrayal as a negative and traumatic experience. How do you ensure you have a safe and healthy delivery? How do you make your birth experience a positive one? How do you know what to prepare for? Do you have any control in what happens? How do you prepare for the most challenging day of your life? This is where education comes in. Educating yourself on the physiological process of birth, evidence and all options will give you the tools needed to be fully prepared and informed. Fully informed consent is crucial for you to make decisions that you feel are best for you. Some families are unaware that policies in a facility are not laws and don't know they have rights and choices. Fully prepare yourself by expanding your knowledge beyond the typical childbirth classes and what your rights are to achieve the birth that you deserve!
Serving The Great Smoky Mountains area in Tennessee and surrounding counties.
*Disclaimer: Due to my strong beliefs that your baby's body is made perfectly the way it is and my feelings on body autonomy, I cannot serve any families postpartum that choose to circumcise their baby without medical necessity after the procedure. If you are thinking of choosing this elective cosmetic procedure, I urge you to look further into the serious risks involved in removing a vital piece of your baby's organ. Please visit YourWholeBaby.org before you make this decision.