Providing Professional Doula Services to Families in Greenwich, Westchester and NYC

Doula Training

Doula, a Greek word used to describe a non-medical support person for laboring women.

Registered Nurse RN, a medical professional who has graduated from a nursing program and has passed a national licensing exam to obtain a nursing license. 

Obviously... total opposites! One IS medical, one IS NOT medical.

As if introducing the term “Doula” to someone unfamiliar with it, isn’t confusing enough, some women are adding a new layer of confusion by combining their RN credentials with their certification as a Doula. They are creating a role that falls into neither category and it’s causing concern for professional doulas.

As many people know, not all doulas are certified. Many are practicing without the possibilty of being held accountable by a doula certification organization. They are free to practice any way they wish, with no worry of repercussion… other than a client filing a lawsuit against them.  

As seasoned professional doulas, many of us have worked diligently to teach our communities EXACTLY what doula care is, NON-medical physical, educational and emotional support for women during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

With doulas that practice without certification and RN-Doulas providing medical support to women, the confusion about exactly what a doula is will grow exponentially.  

Ask yourself this...

How can someone possibly provide non-medical...Read more

 

The bartender says to the activist, “what can I get you?”

The activist replies, “Water. I don’t drink anything but water. Soda, juice… all bad! They’re full of sugar. Alcohol is poisonous to the body, mind and spirit. It erodes the liver, its addictive, it deteriorates the skin, decreases your response time in emergency situations… And do I even have to mention driving while under the influence of alcohol?!? Drinking is BAD! No, I would never drink alcohol AND no one else should either!”

The Doula, looks at the Activist ands says, “Wow, I am so impressed by you. You have such strong convictions about this. Clearly you are a woman who knows what’s important to you. It is rare to see someone so true to themselves. You are a strong lady if I’ve ever seen one!”

The activist smiles, folds her arms and gives the bartender a “see, I told ya so” kind of smirk…

The Doula looks at the bartender and says, “I’ll have a rum and coke!”

Only being supportive of those you agree with is severely closed-minded.

There seems to be a bit of confusion in the Doula world surrounding our role of support. If you are reading this blog, I am sure you know the answer to questions like…

What is a Doula?

Should I hire a Doula?

Why do I need a Doula?

How much does a Doula cost?

How do I find a...Read more

 

There are many reasons why women come to doula work.

Most people find birth to be either absolutely awe inspiringly, fascinating and beautiful OR completely terrifying and the thought of it makes them throw up in their mouth a little bit.

Some women are called to this work because they are natural “support people”.

They just live to give!

They want to help people and nurture people and birth is a wonderful time to fulfill that role in a woman’s life.

Some women are called to doula work on the path to other work. They might be on the path to becoming a midwife or a labor and delivery nurse and want to get a “feel” for this work first, so they become a doula.

Some women come to doula work through a friend. Maybe they have a friend who is working as a doula and that friend ignites something in them. They see the joy that this work brings to their friend and want the same for themselves.

Some women want to be doulas because they learn about the support that doulas offer and they think to themselves, wow… I wish I had a doula! Those people become doulas to help elevate the experience that a woman has during birth and the postpartum period.

BUT… the women who worry me, are the women that I call, The Birth Avengers! The birth avenger (as I have named her) is a woman who becomes a doula to avenge her own bad birth experience. Perhaps her own experience left her feeling violated or manipulated or “...Read more

 

On Thursday September 26, I had the honor of visiting with a group of obstetricians from China as well as the president of the China Doula Corporation.

I was contacted about a month ago by the teams NY friend, Certified Nurse Midfife, Dewan Duan.

The group was being led by Dr. Ruyan Pang, who is the Vice President of China Maternal & Child Health Association (CMCHA). They were traveling to the United States to study the benefits of Doula care during labor in relation to lowering their very high cesarean section rates. In various parts of China the c-section rate ranges from 46%-80%!

I was so excited about this opportunity and called our friends at Hudson Valley Hospital Center to set up a tour of labor and delivery as well. (Thanks HVHC for use of the conference room and the refreshments you provided!)

Dr. Ruyan Pang and her team were thrilled to see the birth tubs in the labor rooms and asked tons of questionsDr. Sheila Pongnon and CNM, Joanne Mazzio of Westchester Medical Practice and Sabrina Nitkowski-Keever, Director of Maternal Child Health at HVHC, were on hand to answer their questions. Meanwhile, Debbie was in the room next door, doula-ing one of our wonderful clients. The team got a brief meet and greet with her and...Read more

This is a question that new Doulas often ask of seasoned Doulas, but clients rarely ask.

The answer is simple! What’s in the bag is

                       CONFIDENCE!

Well, not in the form of “confidence” as you may know it.

In the beginning of a Doula’s career, she looks for “things” to put in her Doula bag. Things that will make her feel like she brings value to her client’s birth.

That Doula has not yet learned the secret.

In her Doula bag are things like massage tools, rolling pins, tennis balls, rebozos (a long piece of fabric used in a variety of ways to help support and comfort a laboring woman) various massage oils, essential oils in a variety of flavors, heat packs, ice packs, flickering battery operated candles, an ipod/iphone dock and other things of that nature.

Many Doulas keep this bag near their front door for quick and easy access or even in the car for fear of getting called to a birth and not having time to get home and get the bag before heading to the birth.

The truth is…. Most of the stuff in the bag is absolutely UN-necessary. Typically the majority of that stuff… never even comes out of the bag, with the exception of her granola bar and bottle of water for when the Doula takes a quick “break” while her client is peeing.

In fact, I challenge the new Doulas that I mentor, with full Doula bags, to take one item out of the bag that she didn’t use after every birth she attends. When the bag...Read more

Mentoring other Doulas has been a long time passion for me.

Northeast Doulas over the past 12 years has perfected their business model and started sharing it with other like minded Doula/business women. In fact, ProDoula, A Doula Certification Agency For The Modern Woman was founded to give women looking to become a Doula the opportunity to create financial freedom for her family as well, something other certification organizations neglect to give much focus to.

It is my belief that when Doulas behave professionally and operate their businesses as real and legal businesses, the Doula industry will earn the credibility that it deserves. 

Carrie Johnsen and Julie Morris of Doula Partners in Charlotte North Carolina have done just that!

Northeast Doulas has been mentoring these two phenomenol Doulas/Businesswomen for about a year and a half now and we are so proud of all of their accomplishments! 

Take a moment and get to know these "Doula-entrepreneurs" 

These ladies are experiencing so much growth that they are looking to add to their team of amazing Labor and Postpartum Doulas.

Who better to facilitate a training for them then... ProDoula!

On October 3, 4 and 5 ProDoula will be in North Carolina facilitating a Labor and Postpartum Doula...Read more

I often hear about women choosing where they will give birth, based on the level of the NICU at a particular hospital.

I understand precaution. I am cautious and I take precautions. But I also know that the level of NICU care your baby may need is closely related to the amount of weeks’ gestation you are when you go into labor.

If you are healthy and experiencing a low risk pregnancy, choose a hospital where your birthing philosophy is accepted and will be supported.

Know that if you go into preterm labor and the facility you have chosen does not have a NICU that can support your newborn’s possible needs, you will be transferred to a hospital with a higher level NICU before you give birth.

Most people don’t understand what the different level NICU ratings mean.

The following is an explanation of the breakdown of each level:

Level 1 NICU: Basic Neonatal Care (Must be 35 weeks gestation to give birth at a level 1 facility)

·      Patients who are scheduled to deliver at a level 1 hospital that go into labor prior to 35 weeks gestation will NOT be admitted and will be transferred to a higher level facility.

·      Capable of providing neonatal resuscitation at delivery to babies born after 35 weeks gestation.

·      Able to evaluate and care for healthy newborns.

·      Capable of stabilizing infants born after 35 weeks who are ill while arranging for transfer....Read more

 

My favorite acronym!

This is one of the most useful tools in my “life bag” as well as my “Doula Bag”. It is a reminder for me to slow down and think it through!

By nature, I make quick decisions.

This character trait works both to my benefit and my detriment. I often react rather than respond and B.R.A.I.N. helps to prevent that from happening for me.

So, here is the breakdown:

B ~ Benefits. Ask yourself, what is the benefit to choosing to do this?I

R ~ Risk. Ask yourself, what are the risks involved in doing this?

A ~ Alternatives. Ask yourself, are there any alternatives to doing this?

I ~ Instincts (my personal favorite). Ask yourself, what is your instinct telling you to do?

N ~ Nothing. Ask yourself, what if you do nothing right now and revisit the idea later or another day.

It is helpful to have a friend to discuss this with. Use them as a sounding board. This is one of the many important roles that your Doula plays! Remember, you are not looking for the other person’s advice, so make that clear to them. You are only seeking the answers to each of the 5 questions…

Benefits? Risks? Alternatives? Instincts? And Nothing?

Here is an example of how it relates to birth....Read more

The Breath…

Take a deep breath in through your nose and a looooong slooooow exhale out your mouth.

Birth and Breath seem to go hand in hand, right? We take a childbirth class and we’re “taught” to breathe. But why? How will it help us? What is the value of breathing (other than keeping us alive)?

When we are hit with pain, our instant physical reaction is a quick breath in and a holding of our breath, which is quickly followed by some foul language. Usually just one or two words that might include one that starts with an F.

But it sends no relief to what is hurting us. It’s as though for a moment, our mind disconnects from our body and leaves our body to fend for itself.

Quickly they seem to reunite, we pull ourselves back together and our mind and body attack that pain as a team but in those moments in between, the pain is insane.

Research performed by a scientist at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center has shown that controlled breathing at a slowed rate can significantly reduce feelings of pain.

So let’s bring this information to labor and birth with us.

·      How do I breath during contractions?

·      What is the best way to breath during labor?

Take a deep breath in through your nose and a looooong slooooow exhale out your mouth. As labor...Read more

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