Sherpa: “The term sherpa is also used to refer to local people, typically men, who are employed as guides for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas, particularly Mt. Everest. They are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local terrain, as well as having good physical endurance and resilience to high altitude conditions.”

At my last birth, (my 400th as a doula!) the dad said that just as they had used me for their first birth, they would not consider having a baby without a doula. In fact he sings my praises to many pregnant couples. His sister was present during the labor and just after the birth and she was told by both the mom and the dad of this baby, that they need to hire me when they have their first child!

But a comment that the dad said resonated with me. He said just as you would not climb the Himalayas without a Sherpa, you should not give birth without a doula! I loved the statement. It made me feel like smiling! It was great because I consider myself a birth guide.

If the dad or the woman’s mother or sister want an active part in the labor and birth, I am more than willing to step back and only offer suggestions along the way. But when the other support people need or want to step back, I am there to offer any support needed. But considering myself a labor sherpa is kinda sweet! Thanks Trey!

What does Doula mean?

  • The most favored female slave in the Greek household of yesteryear.
  • A servant to meet your needs and your partner’s in labor and birth and the time just after the birth.

Who is a Doula?

  • A companion who knows the road you are about to travel in pregnancy, labor, birth and in the journey of bringing home the new baby to your family.
  • A friend who is there to provide continuity of care- by your side throughout labor, no matter how long.
  • A “birth guru” of sorts who knows what your options are for pain management and relaxation methods, well versed in these ideas.
  • A support person who is there to help you have the birth of your choice without any hidden agendas on how your birth should be. (more…)
A doula is a professional birth guide. Her role is one of non-intervention and non-clinical in nature. She gently guides through her words, suggestions, and knowledge of birth to assist a couple in having a birth that is in line with their birth desires. Many doulas will come to your home in labor to assist before you leave to go to the hospital, for hospital-planned births. The question that arises in labor is when should I have my doula come.
The idea of coaching the woman in labor is one I am uncomfortable with. The birth guide and partner should be there to support the woman but not direct her. If a woman is walking the path of her labor and doing well, I do not think someone should tell her how to do things differently. If she begins to fall off the path and needs assistance- encouragements, affirmations, suggestions, that is when the birth guide should offer to gently guide her back onto the path. Listening to her body and what it tells her to do is paramount. (more…)

Sometimes women think if they are considering an epidural they don’t need a doula.

As doulas it is not about us and what type of birth we want. Or what kind of birth we had personally. We are there to support women and help them to make informed decisions that are right for them as individuals. But, I tell moms if they would be sorely disappointed if they don’t get an epidural then I am probably not a good doula choice for them. The reason I say that is that many women who have considered an epidural an option, find that they don’t need one once I am there offering many other options in pain relief. It is not the doula’s roll to insure you get your epidural if you are not asking for pain relief and are coping well with the contractions. Many moms are wonderfully surprised when they find that they can manage without an epidural after all. Much of the pain experienced in childbirth is related to fear. The doulas support and presence can enable a mom to let go of her fears and enter a safe haven to birth.
If you have a doula, does that insure that your labor will be one that an epidural won’t be used? (more…)

Having a doula be with a mom in labor has many values. The initial value, if you are able to do so prior to the labor, begins during pregnancy with a relationship building that will encourage the mom’s ability to relax with the doulas help based on a relationship of trust that has been built and established during this time .During this time, the doula can point the mother in the direction for obtaining more information in order to better educate herself as to what her options will be for this upcoming birth. I am available via the phone to answer questions that arise during the pregnancy. In labor the doula can act as an advocate for the couple. She can also be the clear mind that will help the couple achieve the birth that has been planned for, if at all possible. The woman will need mothering during labor and birth, a doula can act as this mother without the emotional entanglements that sometimes occur when it is actually your own mother. After the birth, a doula can assist in helping the bonding time to go smoothly and offer assistance with breastfeeding, if it is needed.

Women don’t need to be “delivered” if they are allowed to give birth. (more…)