There really is no substitute for in-person Comprehensive Doula Care, let's start right there. Comprehensive Doula Care is hands-on physical, emotional and mental support from your doula, and it's priceless.
Taking that into consideration, for some people it's not an option that suits their needs. For this reason, I'm now offering Distance Doula Care, an alternative to Comprehensive Doula Care.
What can you expect from me as your Distance Doula? With Distance Doula Care, I support women during their pregnancy and labor, from a distance. I’m literally just a phone call away! Distance Doula Care includes prenatal consultation, emotional support and practical information via text, phone and email, as well as support from a distance during your birth. I'll consult with you and your partner on issues that can arise during late pregnancy (sometimes earlier), and labor. This is where you benefit immeasurably from having a Certified Birth Mentor and Doula on your team!
Ideally, a Distance Doula will enhance, not replace, in-person support. Distance Doula Care might be ideal for you if you:
• have a friend and/or partner supporting your birth and want the reassurance and experience of a Certified Mentor and Doula available and on-call for consult.
• have taken my Birthing From Within childbirth education class and want additional support during late pregnancy and labor.
• desire my presence on your birth team even if Comprehensive Doula Care is full/unavailable.
• have given birth before and want the insurance of a doula at your fingertips to help manage the unexpected.
I am a Certified Birth Mentor through Birthing From Within (2014) and Certified Doula (2011) and will provide prenatal support as your Distance Doula and Birth Mentor via text, phone, email and even Facebook. My role during pregnancy is to help answer your questions, discuss your birth plans and preferences, and navigate the birth system. When you're not sure what to do, whose advice to take, what is normal or where to turn for information, I can help! We might talk about your birth place and if your provider is right for you, or discuss your options if you are approaching or have passed your EDD; maybe you have questions about getting your baby into the best position for birth, or maybe you want to help your partner learn a few pointers before the big day. I can point you towards information and community resources, and so much more, as you define it.
I am an independent contractor and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not for your caregiver or the hospital. This is a critical point, as you plan and prepare for your upcoming birth and form your birth team.
What Does Distance Doula Care Actually Look Like During Pregnancy?
So, what does Distance Doula Care actually look like? Distance Doula Care includes a phone interview where you’ll have the chance to ask questions, discuss your priorities and any fears or concerns, birth preferences, and plan how we might best work together. We also schedule a more formal 37-week Prenatal Phone/Skype Consultation to talk in detail about your preferences regarding your birth. You'll tell me your own personal ways of coping with pain, fatigue and difficult situations, and what internal resources we can draw upon to assist you with the birthing experience. You'll tell me how you and your partner foresee working together, and the roles of others who may be attending the birth. We can discuss together what fears and concerns you have regarding your birth. We can review your preferences regarding the use of pain medications and other medical support. My role is to help you have a satisfying birth as you define it.
If you are local to SWFL, you are invited and encouraged to attend the Birthing From Within group classes which I facilitate. During this 4-week series you and your partner will learn directly from and with me as your Distance Doula. I find that this greatly increases the trust that is formed between us, and allows time for questions, answers, insights, and to speak the same “birth language” at the time of the birth. These classes are especially valuable to partners. Register for classes directly through the website.
You'll have unlimited text/email questions from your 36th week of pregnancy through your birth, and I encourage you to call/text/email with questions and updates after your provider appointments. I answer texts and emails within 24 hours (though typically much sooner; we'll discuss boundaries and expectations during our phone interview) and I encourage you to check in with me during late pregnancy to let me know how you’re doing and if there are any physical or emotional changes to explore. I can provide information about optimal fetal positioning and suggestions on how to get your baby in the best position for your labor. When you think labor has begun, you can call me to let me know, and I can help you determine what to do next.
What Does Distance Doula Care Look Like During Labor?
When you are in labor you'll get phone and text support from me as your Distance Doula. I can help your birth partner by offering ideas and suggestions via text or phone to help you with position changes, comfort measures, or any other questions that come up during your labor. I can consult with you as you navigate any medical support your provider suggests, or any other decisions that you are facing during your pregnancy or labor. I can offer help and advice with comfort measures such as guiding your breathing, encouraging movement, suggesting effective positions for labor progress, providing suggestions to your partner such as massage, counter-pressure for back labor, visualizations, and generally whatever the moment calls for. I can assist with gathering information about the progress of labor and help guide your questions to your care providers so you can make informed decisions about your birth. My most critical role is providing calm, emotional reassurance and comfort as your Birth Mentor. From a distance, I can help you draw on tools to stay calm and comfortable, and connect to your inner resources to have a more satisfying birth experience.
I provide support for ALL births, including planned and emergency cesarean births. In the event that your birth is an unexpected cesarean, or if in late pregnancy your birth requires a scheduled cesarean, I will continue to support your labor and birth. If the situation and time allows, I will provide a “Having a Cesarean in Awareness” phone session with you and your partner prior to the birth. I’ll be available to help you navigate the journey as you ask questions prior to the birth, and I’ll be available for phone support when you are out of the recovery room.
After your birth, I'm available to answer questions and point you to local resources for additional assistance. I can provide information on breastfeeding, baby care tips, referrals to community resources, and a chance to discuss and process your birth experience.
This is what Distance Doula Care looks like, and so much more.