What is a doula?
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth. The doula can also provide emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
As a vital member of the team, a birth doula from Portsmouth Regional Hospital's Seacoast Family Care Services can help the mother with the following:
- Prepare mother and partner for the birth experience, carrying out the birth plan
- Recognizing that birth is a key experience that a mother will remember all her life
- Providing emotional support and physical comfort measures during labor and birth
- Providing non-medical pain and stress management tools including massage, mindful breathing and visualization
- Attending to the mother with the sole purpose of caring for her emotional well-being helping her through the transition to motherhood
Families will have an opportunity to meet our doula team during our monthly “doula teas”. Contact the number below for more information about our doula teas as well as other integrative modalities available for you during your stay at PRH.
Mothers who know that they will be delivering by cesarean section can have the benefit of a doula that will help them have an experience that can be as rewarding as a vaginal birth. Your doula will meet you in the hospital during the admission process and then will accompany you into the operating room. After your baby is born, your doula will help to facilitate skin to skin contact in the operating room as long as your baby is healthy after birth. Your doula will then go back to your room while you recover to continue to support you and your new family.
Labor and Delivery Only
Your doula will arrive to labor and delivery once you have been admitted and it has been determined that you are in active labor. Your birth doulas will stay with you for your entire labor and delivery including the two hours of recovery following delivery. During this time your doula will assist in maintaining your comfort as well as facilitating skin to skin contact and breastfeeding.
Family Care Package
You will have one prenatal visit with your doula and your labor partner. This will allow you, your partner and doula to discuss any plans that you may have for your stay in the hospital. Your doula will also attend your labor, birth, recovery as well as a postpartum visit while you are at PRH. This will allow you to opportunity to have your doula support your birth plan as well as your plans for postpartum including feedings methods and discharge planning.
Insurance companies may reimburse for doula services. Call your insurance company to inquire.
If you are interested in participating in the doula program, call Nora at 603-559-4172.
Get to Know Our Birth Doulas
Gabriela is a certified birth doula who received her training from Paradama Doula in Argentina in 2012.
“As a doula, I see my role as primarily providing important emotional, physical, and spiritual preparation for birth. I am also a resource to the women and families I work with by helping navigate all their options, while inspiring trust in a woman’s ability to birth. I provide diplomatic communication skills with hospital staff and nurturing hands to mothers. Perhaps most importantly, I embrace each mother’s vision for birth. I believe that pregnancy and birth is a sacred time to be cherished and protected. It would be a privilege to serve you as you become a new family.”
In addition to being a doula and prenatal counselor, Gabby is a Health Counselor, Prenatal Yoga Instructor, and she has a Master’s in Music Therapy, Body Awareness and Psychology.
Holly offers continuous informational, physical, and emotional support throughout labor and delivery, making your birth experience better, no matter how you deliver. She has been providing birth doula services since 2009. She trained with Doulas of North America and ToLabor and is certified with the International Association of Professional Doulas.
“I have been a doula for 5 years now and am very fortunate to work with families during such an intimate time. I also teach childbirth education and newborn care classes. My husband and I have two children who keep us on our toes and bring wonder to our lives.”
Krystina is a certified childbirth doula and certified HypnoBirthing childbirth educator. She began her practice in 2011 in Boston, and has since attended dozens of births in hospitals, birth centers and homes in the greater Boston and Seacoast area. Companioning women and families through the childbirth cycle is her calling and a true honor. Her other interests include botanical medicine, spending time in the woods, travel, and seeing the world through her toddler’s eyes.