Doula & Monitrice Services
What is a doula?
A doula is a nonmedical assistant who provides people with emotional and physical support. I like to joke that if you’ve ever held someone’s hair back while they’ve thrown up, you’ve been a doula; it’s that same energy of patience, care and support that I bring to my clients. I also have specialized training and many years of experience that contribute to how I care for people. I have experience with water birth, suggestions for pain management, repositioning a breech or posterior baby, nutritional counseling, VBAC, PTSD and trauma, and more.
The benefits of having a doula are well documented, and include 50% reduced cesarean rates, 25% shorter labor, 60% reduction in epidural requests, 30% reduction in analgesia use, and 40% reduction in forceps delivery (source). All of that in mind, I will say that having a doula is only one piece of the puzzle. It's up to you to hire the care provider who best supports your desires and meets your expectations, and to birth in an environment where you feel safe and supported and which has a proven record of excellent care. And, these are all things that we can explore in our conversations together.
“She knew that I wanted to have as natural of a birth as possible and her unconditional support of my choices played a large role in my ability to give birth without pain medication.” - Allison P.
What is a monitrice?
A monitrice is something halfway between a doula and a midwife; I provide the physical and emotional support that I would as a doula, but I add in a number of obstetric skills that I use as a midwife, which can be useful for people who want to labor at home for as long as possible. These can include palpating your belly to determine the position of the baby, listening to the baby in labor, providing vaginal exams if desired, and more. I do not take the place of a midwife or obstetrician, but I can provide important information and exceptional support.
Does a doula/monitrice take the place of my partner?
This is probably the most common question I get, and no, definitely not. In my doula care, I work with someone’s partner to support them in labor. Your partner knows you and provides you with unparalleled love and emotional support. I know birth. What I bring is the accumulated wisdom of my knowledge of pregnancy, labor, and birth; of the different models of care and the options available to you in pregnancy; of years of teaching childbirth education; of my training in doula support, midwifery care, herbalism, and aromatherapy; of techniques for supporting very fast or very long labors, or a posterior baby, or a breech baby; of supporting people through cesarean and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), and so on.
There are all sorts of families and couples with all sorts of expectations about how involved a partner will be, and all are okay. Practically speaking, I model physical support techniques for partners, offer a chance for them to rest, sleep, or go get a bite to eat, answer their questions, and most of all, I reinforce the normalcy of a situation. It can be very overwhelming to witness birth, and if you’ve never seen it before, then being able to ask questions in real time, or even to just look at someone’s calm smile, can significantly reduce anxiety about what’s happening.
Partners sometimes can have a hard time allowing a birthing parent to labor, wanting to step in, “do something,” and take away their “suffering” by suggesting (or even insisting on) medical interventions. I can help keep you grounded by reinforcing normalcy, by referring to your birth preferences, and by fully exploring all of the risks and benefits of the options available to you.
Can you help me with natural remedies in pregnancy and birth?
Yes absolutely! I am always delighted to share herbal, homeopathic, dietary, and other remedies and treatments for common pregnancy and labor challenges. The remedies I use are safe and effective for pregnancy, and typically don’t have the side effects associated with medical treatments. Common complaints include: nausea, anemia, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, achiness, a breech baby, HSV, and others.