Doula is an ancient Greek word meaning "woman's servant". Today, it refers to a woman who
supports another woman or couple before, during and immediately following childbirth. A doula
provides the woman or couple with physical, emotional and informational support during those
such as vaginal exams, blood pressure readings, etc. Recent studies have shown that, when a
doula is present at a birth, babies are healthier and breastfeed more easily, labors are shorter,
there are fewer cesareans, less pain medication is needed, and the mother and her partner are
more comfortable and happier with the experience.
A quality doula does not replace the partner, but instead helps to bring together and enhance
the labor team. Having a doula present allows the partner to breathe a sigh of relief. He or she
no longer has to know everything and remember it all at such an intense time in his or her
life. Even couples who have attended quality childbirth classes have expressed relief that a
doula was present so that they could relax a bit more knowing the doula would remind them of
what they learned in childbirth class. Having a doula present allows the partner to support the
woman in the best way - with lots of love. The combined efforts of a loving partner,
knowledgeable and caring doula, and competent and considerate health care providers give
the woman and baby the best chance for an optimal outcome.
In the hospital - Midwives in hospitals are primarily responsible for the medical health and
safety of several laboring women and their babies. Therefore, even if you get a fabulous
midwife with whom you immediately connect, she most likely will not be with you from
beginning to end. She will have other moms to care for and there may be a shift change. A
doula stays with you from the time you both agree for her to come until Mother and Baby are
happily nursing and immediate needs have been met. The doula's primary focus is your
physical and emotional comfort and helping you get the information you need to make informed
decisions regarding your medical care. She helps ensure you and you alone have the birth
experience you want. In addition to the benefits to the mother, most midwives and labor &
delivery nurses welcome the presence of another knowledgeable care provider to lighten their
sometimes overwhelming responsibilities. Birthing Baby loves working with midwives!!
Out of the hospital - Even if you are the only laboring woman your midwife is caring for, you
may still want to have a doula present. As stated above, the primary concern of your midwife
will be ensuring the health and safety of you and your baby. You may appreciate having doula
support as well, especially if this will be your first birth or a HBAC.
Absolutely. A doula can help you manage your labor longer, reducing the amount of
medications to which you and your baby are exposed. She can help you deal with the side
effects of medications used in labor. Often, after an epidural is given, hospital staff and even
loved ones pay more attention to the monitors and less attention to the laboring woman. When
the signs of physical discomfort are gone, they may feel that all of her needs are being met.
This is not the case. A laboring woman still needs strong emotional support. In addition to
providing this emotional support and encouraging loved ones to stay involved, the doula
continues to provide informational support so that the couple can make informed decisions.
A doula can have a tremendous effect on how a woman feels about her cesarean birth
experience, regardless of whether it was planned or unexpected. If a woman is informed,
well supported, and cared for throughout the birth, she is more likely to come away from it with
a positive feeling. A doula can help explain hospital procedures and she can narrate the birth
to the mother if the partner prefers to be by the mother's face rather than watch the operation.
She can stay with the mother while the partner accompanies the baby to the observation area.
After the cesarean, the new mother may require extra assistance in getting her baby latched
onto her breast. At a postpartum meeting, the doula reviews the birth with the mother and
helps to clear up any misunderstandings that may have occurred. The doula is an
understanding, trusted confidant with whom the mother can freely express ANY feelings
regarding her birth experience without fear of being judged or belittled.
Most doulas only accept a certain number of clients per month. It is best to find a doula you like
early, so she can add your due date to her calendar.
In 2003, as a prerequisite to midwifery school, I attended Seattle Midwifery School’s Labor
Support Course for Birth Doulas. I had the privilege to study under Penny Simkin, P.T., CD
(DONA), one of the founders of Doulas Of North America (DONA), author of several birth
related books, and a legend in the birthing community. I was so inspired by the course that I
continued my doula training and became a DONA certified doula. Some of the continuing
education workshops I have completed include:
* Acupressure and Jin Shin Jyutzu for pregnancy and childbirth
* Helping Women after a Traumatic or Negative Birth
* Supporting Women through Perinatal Loss
* Supporting Survivors of Abuse
* Use of TENS During Labor
* Spinning Babies
* Hypno-doula training and more!!!
Other certifications I have obtained include:
* Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers
* Neonatal Resuscitation
* La Leche League Breastfeeding Peer Counselor
* Certified Lactation Educator... not to mention 7 total years of breastfeeding exp. (:
A listing of my training would not be complete without mentioning how much I've learned about
supporting the natural process from attending home births as a Midwife Assistant and now a
Student Midwife. Attending hospital births as a doula has been invaluable in teaching me
about how the hospital system works and how to make the best of what the hospital has to
offer. See About Me for more information.
Initial Contact and Meeting - When you contact me regarding doula services, we will set up a
time for the three of us to meet. This is just to get to know each other a little and discuss your
needs and my services. I do not charge for this meeting and there is no obligation to hire me.
Prenatal Contact - In addition to being available to you 24/7 for phone consultation, emails,
and texting, I will meet with you again at least once (often more depending on how close your
due date is) before your birth to further explore your priorities and any fears or concerns you
may have. We will discuss your preferences regarding pain medication and I will give you a
worksheet for you to use in formulating a birth plan if you don't already have one. We will
discuss how you and your partner foresee working together and what you will be expecting of
me. We may also schedule an additional meeting(s). At a second meeting or by e-mail we will
need to finalize your birth plan and make sure everyone is as prepared as possible for your
birth. Doula clients are welcome to attend one of Birthing Baby's Complete Childbirth
Education Series at no additional cost as long as room is available.
Labor and Birth - I will ask that you call/text me as soon as you think you are in labor. Even if
you do not need me to be with you yet. I can answer questions, make suggestions, and make
whatever arrangements I need to make to ensure I can join you when you do need me. If I join
you at home, I can help you labor as comfortably as possible there and assist with the move to
the place of birth if you are not planning a home birth. Throughout your labor and birth I will
draw on my training, personal experience, and professional experience to provide caring,
emotional support. I will assist your partner in participating as much as he/she is comfortable. I
can provide reassurance to you and your partner on what is considered normal behavior for a
laboring woman. I can provide an educated and independent perspective, make suggestions
for labor progress, help with relaxation, massage, positioning, and other techniques for
comfort. I can help preserve your birth plan by making every effort to be sure you are aware of
and agree to deviations from your birth plan. If needed, I can communicate with your medical
team to help you obtain information needed to make informed decisions. After you have given
birth, if you wish, I can assist you in getting your baby properly latched on and breastfeeding
comfortably. When you and your new family are settled in, I will leave you to get to know each
other better and to rest. I am usually present for 1 to 2 hours after the birth.
Postpartum Contact - You can expect me to call you daily after the birth to check in on how
you and Baby are doing. At minimum, I will want to visit you at around 2 weeks after the birth.
This gives us a chance to go over your birth experience and answer any questions you may
have. I can also give you contact information for different mom's groups and/or support groups
in your area.
"Sherry Rumsey was our doula for the birth of our first child, Audrey (12-13-03). It was a
nervous, anxious time for us and Sherry made us calm, confident, and empowered us to make
some of the difficult decisions that we had to make...Sherry guided us, but we were always in
control...The experience was wonderful and Sherry was a big part of our experience...Sherry
was throughout our pregnancy a great asset. She conducted herself in a very professional
manner and she has considerable insight about pregnancy and child birth. She is a kind,
warm, person and was really there for us when we needed her. We would recommend Sherry
to our friends, and already have.
-Stuart & Justine Palomino von Wolffradt"
Doula fees in the Greater Houston area vary greatly depending primarily on the doula's
experience and education. I am currently charging $1200 for my doula services. Current and
former Birthing Baby students may deduct $250 from my doula fee, making their cost $950 per
birth. Former doula clients are "grandmothered in" to their previous doula fee (with a $900
minimum). I only accept up to 3 doula births per month in order to maintain my quality
A $300 non-refundable deposit is due when you hire me as your doula and I put your birth on
my calendar. The remaining balance should be paid by your 37th week of pregnancy.
I accept cash, check, money order, credit and debit card payments.
|Birth Doula Services • Complete Childbirth Classes
email@example.com Katy, Sugar Land, Houston, Texas (818) 4•My•Baby
Copyright © 2004 Sherry S. Rumsey All rights reserved.
If you are interested in my doula services, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can
also be reached at 818-469-2229. If emailing or leaving a message on voicemail, please be
sure to let me know which services you're interested in and your estimated due date so I can
check my availability. I look forward to hearing from you!