Guiding couples as they navigate the transition to parenthood.
I discovered the concept of doulas, and individualised birth support in 2003. The following year I was pregnant with my first baby. Without any hesitation we hired a doula and went on to experience just how invaluable and beneficial this decision was. Our experience was very positive, very empowering and ultimately life changing. Soon after I began to question why every woman – and their partner – weren’t experiencing what was possible around birth, when they were all deserving of this?
It was this powerful, deeply personal experience that changed my entire concept of birth. It also kindled the beginning of a undeniable calling. I became drawn to support other women to achieve their innate potential through birth; however they personally defined that.
As a doula, my intentions are to help women birth with a deep, personal sense of satisfaction – not with a particular caregiver, in a certain setting or in a particular way. For each woman this sense of fulfillment is unique. As is every labour and birth journey, and my role amongst it. What women value and what they feel is right for them helps shape our work together. From this, I provide guidance, education, ideas, respect and support. The journey is just as exciting as the destination!
“We found you to be the one person, during our whole pregnancy, that provided the most guidance and continuity of care. We were so impressed with the way you carried yourself, explained the process and also how you associated with the medical staff during the labour.”
Kate & James, North Perth WA
“Kristin left a beautifully irreversible mark on our birth experience, from start to finish. Her knowledge and guidance proved invaluable to us because we were not very birth ‘savvy’ at the start! Kristin helped me to navigate those confusing, overwhelming, and intimidating waters! We can’t wait for round 2 with Kristin by our side again!!” Kate & Mic, Success WA
My doula experience includes:
Births at hospital (public and private), family birth centre and homebirths (with the Community Midwifery Program and private midwives); low-risk and high-risk births, inductions, NBAC Clinic, waterbirths, caesarean births, vaginal births after caesarean (VBAC), homebirth after caesarean (HBAC), first babies, second and third babies, fast labours and long labours.
By attending ongoing doula/midwifery education I remain dedicated to offer up-to-date, researched, evidence based medicine and practise for all my clients.
“When the time finally came and I was in labour, Kristin was calm and thoughtful. She arrived quickly and just fit right in – her presence was calming and reassuring. Although she hadn’t worked with my midwife before, it was as if they had been working together for years – they really complimented each other, and I felt really confident in myself and my support team.” Paula & Andrew, Bassendean WA
“The birth of my second child was challenging, but empowering. Loving and wonderful, all at the same time. Having Kristin there made such a huge difference to my sense of feeling supported and loved. I wish I had her for my first birth as well.” Huia & Pete, Scarborough WA
What is a doula?
A doula is an experienced companion who understands the emotional and physical needs of a woman and her family throughout pregnancy, birth and the early postnatal period. A doula provides continuous support (non-medical) and care for a woman throughout her whole experience.
The word ‘doula’ comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘woman’s servant’. Another translation is ‘to mother the mother’. They are specially trained to emotionally, physically and practically support a woman and her partner through this transitional period in their lives. They have extensive knowledge of the birth process, and essentially what is needed to allow the woman’s labour and birthing hormones work in the most safe and effective way.
Women have complex needs during childbirth and the weeks that follow. In addition to medical care and the love and companionship provided by their partners, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. They need individualised care based on their circumstances and preferences.
The relationship usually begins months before the birth and extends into the early weeks/months of the postnatal period. Some couples are surprised to learn that on the big day midwives do not stay with them all the time. They have other women and babies to care for, paperwork to complete and hospital policies to follow. When their shift is over, your care is handed over to another midwife. With this another relationship needs to be formed. Whereas your doula stays with you throughout and is someone who knows you, your wishes, what you value and what you want.
Throughout labour a doula aids the woman/couple by offering physical, emotional and practical support. She provides information about the birth process, the available medical assistance and the less invasive or natural alternatives. She does not take over, or get in the way. She is there to talk things over with, help you make decisions, offer suggestions and support your choices.
“Kristin was a huge part of our birth; before, during and after. She is professional, caring and deeply passionate about assisting families to achieve the birth they desire. In our case it was a VBAC, naturally without medical intervention and pain relief, and we did it!” Jude & Pete, Padbury, WA
“Kristin’s role completely altered our experience. All three of our babies were born in a private hospital, but having Kristin as our doula for our third baby helped us to achieve the most amazing and empowering natural birth. She provided valuable information that added to what was given by our obstetrician and she supported all the decisions we made.” Naomi & Matt, Fremantle WA
Why have a doula?
A growing body of research shows doulas really do make a difference. The use of a doula has clear benefits for families during childbirth and the postnatal period.
Doulas improve the overall outcome and experience of women giving birth. Studies have shown that when women use a doula during labour, there are many benefits:
- 50% decrease in caesarean sections
- 25% decrease in the length of labour
- 30% decrease in use of forceps
- 40% decrease in use of oxytocin to speed labour up
- 60% decrease in use of epidurals
- 30% decrease in use of pain medications
Marshall H.Klaus, MD, John H. Kennell, MD and Phyllis H.Klaus, CSW, MFT (2002). The Doula Book: How a trained labour companion can help you have a shorter, easier and healthier birth. Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing
Studies have also shown that women who use a doula have a lower incidence of postpartum depression, breastfeed longer and are closer with their infants. Women who use a doula are more satisfied with their birth experiences, however they birth their babies.
This is because a doula’s role is to ensure that the woman is the central active participant in her birth experience, enabling her to give birth in her own way, whatever challenges present themselves along the path.
“Your care for us throughout our journey was simply wonderful, and your knowledge and enthusiasm helped us experience the best in birthing. We will never forget what you gave us, and we will always preach for the work of doulas everywhere!” Justine & Scott, Dalkeith, WA
“When we think of the whole experience, other than meeting our baby finally, having you there was definitely one of the highlights. We cannot imagine going through the process without you and it was definitely the best investment we made.” Kate & James, North Perth WA
The BodyWise BirthWise Doula Package – $1800.00
- First meeting of 1 hour – free of charge*
- 6 – 10 hours in Prenatal visits (see below)
- Prenatal Nutrition Consultation/s (see below) plus access to ‘practitioner dispensing only’ prenatal nutritional supplements, herbal medicines and homeopathics – Available at reduced rate for clients)
- Ongoing nutritional and naturopathic advise
- The comprehensive BodyWise BirthWise Workbook (130+ pages)
- Complimentary pack** of the BodyWise BirthWise Herbal Products range
- Unlimited phone and email support throughout pregnancy & postpartum
- Holistic birth planning and preparation
- Comprehensive resource library; Books/DVD’s
- Free access to Labour TENS Machine
- Free access to Birth Pool
- Reduced fee for Placenta Encapsulation
- On call 38 – 42 weeks
- Continuous support for labour/birth
- Back-up doula in place
- Initial postnatal support for first 1-3 hours after birth
- Photography; labour/birth/baby
- 1-2 postnatal visits in early days/weeks
- Breastfeeding support ***
- Referral to other support and services as needed
- 12mth subscription to Australian Breastfeeding Association (valued at $65.00) includes “Breastfeeding, Naturally” book (RRP $34.95)
* This first meeting is a obligation-free and informal time for us to meet and answer any general questions about a doula’s role. It is very important that you and your partner are comfortable with me, and my role in the birth. My information booklet outlining the Doula Package is left with you.
*** I completed the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) ‘Peer Supporter Program’ in 2008, and have more than 5 years experience breastfeeding my own babies!
From the Dads:
“Nine months ago I had no idea what a doula was; now I don’t know how you can go through childbirth without one… and I’m the husband! Kristin became the backbone of our birthing team, supporting us through the journey and empowering us to make informed decisions and feel in control of the process. I can’t thank Kristin enough for the role that she played in the birth of our daughter.” Mic & Kate, Success, WA
“Thanks to Kristin’s support leading up to and during the birth, everyone was in just the right frame of mind, and the birth went wonderfully smooth. It was all over in just a couple of hours, completely drug-free. I was able to attend to Kathryn’s emotional needs and hold her up through contractions, encouraging her with words while Kristin provided massage/counter-pressure to relieve pain.” Tim & Kathryn, Leeming, WA
During the 1st prenatal visit, we may:
- Discuss your goals and expectations for the birth, and what’s important to you
- Debrief any prior birth experience
- Go through the BodyWise BirthWise Workbook
- Begin to prepare your birth preferences (“birth plan’)
- Discuss the importance of optimal fetal positioning
- Talk about the stages of labour, and further your understanding of possible complications or interventions you may face within a hospital setting (if relevant)
- Discuss advocacy, informed choice and consent
- Leave you with some ‘home work’
During the 2nd prenatal visit, we may:
- Work through the principles of ‘active birth’ and the optimal positions for the labour stages
- Map your pelvis and explore how to work with it for your birth
- Explore comfort techniques and relaxation methods you may like to try in labour
- Finalise your birth preferences/plan
- Discuss the birthing team’s roles and responsibilities
- Discuss the logistics of labour-day, when to call your doula
- Leave you with some ‘home work’
- Begin to chat about your postnatal expectations with your new baby
“I thought of you as our ‘guide’, you helped us ask the questions we needed to in order to make our own decisions. Your support through the long labour hours was crucial, we stayed home longer in the beginning and according to my husband, he couldn’t have supported me without you.” Leanna & Dan, North Perth, WA
Prenatal Nutrition Consultation:
I will assess your potential nutritional status before the pregnancy began (and/or your preconception plan), your current dietary habits and supplement regime, review any past or recent blood tests, any individual needs you may have (e.g. prior/current vegetarian or vegan, iron deficiency, food allergies/intolerances). From this we go on to structure an array of balanced and varied food choices, plus a pregnancy supplement regime specific to your needs.
You will read in the BodyWise BirthWise Workbook about all the essential nutrients a woman’s body needs to experience an optimal pregnancy and prepare for the best in birthing. Having been a Naturopath and Nutritionist for 17 years, I have seen firsthand (and personally experienced) the difference quality food and quality supplements can make to this vital time. As a BodyWise BirthWise client, you will also have the opportunity to purchase prenatal/nutritional supplements of the highest quality at client-only prices. These are classified as ‘practitioner-dispensing only’ products and can only be prescribed by a Naturopath. The benefit of your doula also being a Naturopath, is there are no on-going consultation fees to receive or review these supplements as needed.
“The support Kristin gave us through the whole journey was invaluable. Meeting a like-minded individual is always special and I know we made the right choice in having her as our doula.” Emma & Chris, Dianella, WA
These provide the chance to see how you and your new baby are doing, debrief the birth and answer any questions you may have. If I have encapsulated your placenta, your capsules will be returned to you at the first postnatal visit, and you’ll also receive your photos on disc.
I will help with any breastfeeding support you may need and/or offer referal to community resources for further support. I will provide suggestions for how to make the early days more comfortable for you and provide any naturopathic support I feel you may benefit from.
I am always mindful of how tiring the early weeks are with a newborn, so I aim to keep my visits brief if you prefer. If I feel you could benefit from additional postnatal support, I will suggest this to you (e.g. lactation consultant, G.P, midwife, another postnatal doula, chiropractor etc.)
“Just when you think you’ve accomplished the hard part you were there the days after, to continue your support and guidance. As you know we wanted nothing more than to be able to breastfeed and although it was difficult and unfamiliar you supported us and referred us for more support. We’re proud to say 4 months later she’s thriving beautifully.” Leanna & Dan, North Perth, WA
“Kristin was there when we needed her, anticipating needs we didn’t even know we had until she’d fulfilled them! When we didn’t need her, she was taking beautiful photos and giving us space to experience the moments ourselves. Thank you for helping us change the birth experience from one of fear, to one of fulfilment and joy.” Kathryn & Tim, Leeming, WA
“Knowing that she was going to be with us in hospital while I was in labour was very empowering as I knew that she would be able to make sure my birth preferences would be respected. Seeing as this was also my first labour (previous caesarean for breech baby), I felt more confident that I would be able to labour at home for as long as possible with an experienced doula by my side.” Emma & Chris, Dianella, WA
Understanding a doula’s fee:
Experienced doulas in around Australia) typically charge anywhere between $800 and $1500plus for a ‘standard support’ package. This ‘standard’ package often includes 2 prenatal visits, labour/birth support and 1 postnatal visit. The price range mostly depends on their level of training, experience and any other qualifications or skills that they incorporate into their work. Trainee doulas are often limited to a small renumeration only.
“You are a birth helper: you are assisting at someone else’s birth. Do good without show or fuss. Facilitate what is happening rather than you think ought to be happening.
If you must take the lead, lead so that the mother is helped, yet still free and in charge.
When the baby is born, the mother will rightly say, ‘We did it ourselves’.
Dao De Jing, 500 B.C