Women who have continuous support through pregnancy and delivery are less likely to undergo a C-section, or need medications to induce labor or ease pain during the birthing process. They also are more likely to be satisfied with the overall process.
Shannon Johns points to these findings – from a 2012 Cochrane review on the use of continuous support for women during childbirth – to make the case that women should consider hiring a doula as they go through such an important part of life.
Johns, mother of six, is a birth doula and childbirth educator who made a splash this month with a new nonprofit business, the Calming Nature Doula Center.
She and three fellow doulas launched the new business, and work closely with several other specialists to give moms-to-be and new moms more tools to address challenges that come with pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care.
These baby experts will host Brunch for Bumps from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 21 at the Hotel @ The Lafayette, 391 Washington St. Register at calmingnaturedoula.com. The $20 cost includes brunch.
Information will be provided for moms who are pregnant, who already have newborns and infants, or who look to become pregnant. There will be presentations about infant sleep therapy, prenatal yoga, prenatal and postpartum massage therapy, holistic midwifery care and self-care. Dr. Jonathon Daniels, a pediatrician, also will be on hand.
“Someone who takes advantage of these services is more likely to have a better birth experience,” Johns said.
Johns and her husband, Adam, who works in the Buffalo Public Schools, live in North Buffalo with their family. She left a credit union job three years ago to become a doula. She is certified by the Doulas of North America.
“This has a different sense of happiness,” Johns said. “You’re helping and supporting women and families. You’re empowering them, and you’re giving them that mental strength that they need to get through pregnancy, labor and childbirth. That’s a fantastic feeling to have, knowing that you helped someone accomplish this magnificent goal.”
Doulas generally meet with clients in their homes. They do not deliver babies, as do midwives and physicians. They provide comfort, education and reassurance – including in-person support during delivery at home, or in a birthing center or hospital. They are available to clients almost anytime to answer questions and provide resources.
Their rates, depending on services they provide, cost about $650 to $850. Johns also charges $175 for six two-hour childbirth education classes at Buffalo Midwifery Services.
Johns said Calming Nature Doula Center is expected to move into its own space sometime later this year. She and her fellow birthing specialists also hope to make their services available at reduced costs in the future for those who meet eligibility guidelines. Meanwhile, she said, some related pregnancy services, including infant massage, already are covered through some health insurance plans.
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