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Brenda Shumway 
- a Doula serving Women!



Research shows that childbirth goes more smoothly with a doula present!

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Doulas decrease: Doulas increase:
  • the number of cesareans by 50%
  • length of labor by 25%
  • Pitocin use by 40%
  • use of narcotics by 30%
  • requests for epidurals by 60%
  • the need for forceps/vacuum extractor by 40%
  • the number of neonatal problems and the incidence of postpartum depression
  • A recent study also shows improved bonding between mothers and infants when a doula is present for labor and delivery. 
  • the level of maternal satisfaction with her birth experience
  • the partner’s confidence and participation level
  • the number of mothers breastfeeding their babies
    the rate of successful breastfeeding at 3 months
  • the intensity of mother/infant bonding
  • maternal self-esteem

"Doula" refers to a supportive companion (other than a friend or loved one) who is professionally trained to provide labor support. She performs no clinical tasks.

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A Childbirth Doula provides:
Continual physical, emotional, and informational support to women and their partners during labor and birth. Doulas help and advise on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, massage and positioning. They provide assistance to families in gathering information about labor and their individual options. Doulas give continuous emotional reassurance and comfort. They practice non-pharmacological pain relief measures, and assist partners who want to play an active support role. A doula's purpose is to protect the positive memory of this birth and actively support the mother so that she has a safe and satisfying childbirth as she herself defines it.
Does a doula take over the father's role?
Absolutely Not! Even with the assistance of a doula, the woman's partner continues to play an essential and irreplaceable role in providing support for the laboring woman. The partner's intimate knowledge of the woman and love for the unborn child, in combination with the doula's training and experience, make a perfect support team for the laboring mother. Also, no matter how good the childbirth preparation class, most fathers have little or no experience with birth. The doula can help reassure, support and guide the father, too. In fact, the doula can enable the partner to participate at a level at which he feels comfortable.

But, what if I want an epidural?
A common misperception about doulas is that they discourage the use of pain medication. While most doulas value the benefits of natural childbirth, they do not project their values or judgments onto the laboring woman. It is not the role of the doula to discourage the mother from her choices. While many women feel less need for pain medications when a doula is present, a doula can also help maximize the benefits of pain medications while minimizing some of the undesirable side effects. The doula's primary goal is to help the woman have a safe and satisfying birth.

Do I need a Doula if I'm having a planned cesarean?
Having a cesarean is having a baby, with all the accompanying emotions, and a few extra tossed in. A mother having a cesarean may need much more support than someone planning a vaginal delivery. A surgical delivery can sometimes be sterile and impersonal; a doula can give the parents reassurance, make them aware of their options, and cast a positive glow on their experience. She can help the mother prepare emotionally for the procedure, keep her informed during the birth, and stay with her if her partner goes to the nursery with the baby. She can also aid in processing the experience after the birth.

Click "My Services" below to learn more specifically how I can help you.
Brenda Shumway, Doula Services Beautiful Belly Casting

Newborn Massage Classes
Labor Doula Service Postpartum Doula Service Doula Photos - Birth Stories
All About Brenda Recommended Reading & Sites Contact Brenda
  Doula Training