Birth Doulas

"If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."

~John H. Kennell, MD

Very simply, doulas make birth better.


We are trained to offer a wide range of support to birthing moms and their families. Doulas can help with information, physical comfort and positioning, and emotional support. We lift you up to support you in advocating for yourself, reminding you that your voice matters. We understand the ins and outs of the birth world and we can help you negotiate the system. Having a doula is a lot like bringing along your personal tour guide in a foreign country -- we help you understand the lay of the land and make the most of your journey.


Having a birth doula is more than just a luxury. Research tell us that women remember the intimate details of their births for all their lives. Our goal is to help you create your best birth, whatever that looks like for you. Women who hire doulas actually have better birth outcomes, including:


  • 26% reduction in c-sections (some studies show even bigger impact)
  • 41% fewer vacuum extractions and forceps deliveries
  • 28% reduction in the use of pain medication
  • shorter labors, higher satisfaction with birth outcomes, less fear
  • more success with breastfeeding
  • higher APGAR scores for their babies
  • less postpartum depression


    Our clients sometimes ask us exactly *how* doulas impact outcomes. That's a complicated answer, but one that's firmly rooted in science! Birth Kalamazoo's owner, Jessica English, was invited by DONA International to write about how doulas have a positive impact on lowering cesarean rates. Check out the infographic below, and if you really like research and detailed information, read Jessica's DONA International blog post on the topic.



















    Exactly how a birth doula can help depends on your particular needs, and how your birth unfolds. Some of our common services include:


  • Sharing our knowledge about birth and the local birth culture
     
  • Suggesting and loaning books and DVDs from our library
     
  • Providing information and suggestions during pregnancy to address discomforts, hopes and concerns
     
  • Sharing information about pregnancy, birth and parenting resources in Southwest Michigan
     
  • Meeting you at home to labor with you there and, if you are having a hospital birth, helping with the transition to the hospital
     
  • Making suggestions for labor to progress, as well as providing reassurance and perspective
     
  • Helping with relaxation, massage, positioning and other comfort measures

      

  • Working closely with your husband or partner... doulas help loved ones know how to best support the mother

     

  • Helping you understand your options, both before labor begins and during the birthing process

     

  • Offering suggestions on how to communicate most effectively with your birth team, as well as facilitating those interactions

     

  • Taking photos during and/or after your birth

     

  • Providing a written timeline of your birth

     

  • Visiting you postpartum to discuss the birth and answer any questions about being a new parent



    Kind words

    “I had never heard of a doula before, but now, I would never go into birth without one.  The support was indescribable. It meant so much to have someone who had a clear head about my birth plan to keep me on the right track.  If Beth would not have been there, my husband would have talked me into having an epidural. It was hard for him to see me in pain. My husband was great, but to have another women in the room who had been through birth before was wonderful. She never left my side for over 19 hours of labor. I thank Beth everyday for all the love and support, she is amazing!”
    - Jennifer, mom to Owen, born at Bronson Hospital


    "Eric's and my decision to hire Jessica as our doula was unanimous. It was important to us that we have as many advocates at our home birth as possible. We were both so pleased with the outcome! I cannot imagine not having her calm presence there. Whether it was to apply counter-pressure to my lower back, give suggestions on a position to try next, or simply knowing when to leave me alone, I was thoroughly impressed with her insight, advice and warmth. Our friendship has been set in stone through the experience of my daughter's birth. We've seen each other several times since, and she will always have a special place in our family."
    - Kaitlin, mom to Ella, born at home