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B I R T H   D O U L A S

What is a Birth Doula?

There are a variety of ways in which people define the role of a birth doula.  Read on to learn how we describe it at Boston Doula Circle!

 

Childbirth is typically the most emotion-filled event of a person’s life.  However, within our current healthcare system, no one on the medical team is designated to provide emotional care for the birthing family.

 

An experienced birth doula helps fill this role.  

 

We recognize that giving birth is, primarily, not a mechanical act focused on details such as how dilated a person’s cervix is.  Giving birth is about discovering your strength and moving beyond your own limits, and is a powerful rite of passage to your new life.  You will draw upon this strength for years to come as a parent!

 

As you and your family go through this transformation, a doula is by your side to provide emotional care.  We help you to tap into your hidden capabilities, and to be able to respond with confidence whether labor is very short or very long, complicated or straightforward.

 

In addition, doulas are experts in labor support – a role which no one else on the healthcare team is specifically designated to fill.  Research shows that parents-to-be expected their nurses to spend approximately 53 percent of their time providing labor support, yet in reality less than 10 percent of nurses’ time is spent in this way.  Most of their time is spent on medical care and charting.

 

We provide firm but gentle coaching to help you manage the powerful forces of labor, education about your body and your options, and comfort measures such as breathing, massage, relaxation, movement and positioning.

 

Finally, we serve as your advocates – a role which, again, no one on the medical team is specifically designated to fill.  We know what questions to ask the healthcare team, when to ask them, and which options to suggest that have not yet been proposed.  We help empower you to make confident, informed decisions about your birth.

 

Our society is gradually transitioning toward shared decision-making in healthcare, but most people have little experience making sure they are clearly heard during such a dramatic and vulnerable event as childbirth.  Also, research shows that families of color are even more likely to experience barriers to communication with medical providers.   Doulas are pioneers in helping to create a new culture of consent.

 

In the 1980s, Dena Carmosino became one of the first professional doulas in Boston and the U.S., and she went on to be the Founder of Boston Doula Circle.  In the 1990s, Ananda Lowe became the Assistant Director of ALACE (now ToLabor), the oldest national doula training organization.  She is now the Director of Boston Doula Circle.  

 

Doulas carry on the deep-rooted tradition of women in the community providing support to people giving birth, found in cultures around the world for centuries of human existence.  Boston Doula Circle would be honored to be part of your village!

How does your partner fit in?

The birthing person's partner plays an essential role in providing support. A doula cannot make some of the unique contributions that the partner makes, such as intimate knowledge of and love for the birthing person and their baby. The doula is there in addition to, not instead of, the partner. With a doula present the pressure on the partner is decreased so that he or she can enjoy the birthing experience.

Partners often feel relieved when they can rely on a doula for help and are able to participate at their own comfort level. For those partners who want to play an active supporting role, the doula assists and guides them in effective ways to help the person in labor. If fact, research shows that partners participate more in supporting the laboring person and during the early postpartum care of mom and baby, as a result of the presence of a trained doula.

What's Included

 

Boston Doula Circle's birth doula package includes these services and benefits:

 

–Free access to BDC-led workshops, live or on-demand (these full-length classes are 1.5-2 hours each) 

  • Be Prepared for the 5 Types of Births

  • Unmedicated Birth Workshop

  • Partner Massage for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond

  • Preparing for Baby & Postpartum

  • Preparing for Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding

  • A Mind/Body Approach to Nursing

  • Pain While Nursing

  • Nursing and Sleep Issues

 

–Free access to the 2-hour official Spinning Babies parent class on-demand, with follow-up Spinning Babies support from BDC doulas
 

–Monthly phone call with your Doula Guru (team contact person)
 

–Attendance at our Meet The Doulas event to get to know all BDC doulas who may be supporting you
 

–Assistance with creating your written birth plan
 

–One 2-hour prenatal visit in your home
 

–Unlimited email and text support
 

–We are on-call for your birth starting from the time that you sign your contract.  There are no limits to the dates of your on-call period.
 

–For a spontaneous labor, we provide telephone support in early labor, then continuous in-person support from active labor until 1-2 hours after birth
 

–For a medical induction of labor, we provide virtual support in early labor (by Zoom, Facetime or speakerphone), then continuous in-person support from active labor until 1-2 hours after birth
 

–One post-birth visit in your home
 

–DAILY postpartum check-ins to support breastfeeding for 7-14 days

Fees
Our fee for birth doula services is $2700

  • You may request a payment plan to spread out our fee.

  • Doula fees qualify for FSA/HSA reimbursement.

  • You can include doula services on your baby registry, so family and friends may contribute to the fee like so:

  • For clients who receive MassHealth, we offer a significant discount.  Please inquire with us about this option!

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