“When looking for a doula, We were looking for someone we envisioned as a close friend. Among the twenty plus doulas we met with were Julia and Christy. The two of them were at the top of our list before we even knew they worked together. We had a hard time deciding who was more wonderful. Fortunately We have had two babies and each had a turn helping us through our journey. Most importantly, we are so lucky to have such wonderful friends in Our lives. If you are looking for support, compassion, knowledge and humor in a doula; look no further.”
~ Julia Anello
In Person Birth Doula Support:
Given the Governor’s approval of NYS COVID-19 Maternity Task Force’s Initial Recommendations, doulas are considered an essential part of the support care team for laboring persons. BBC is honored to offer in-person doula support on an on-going basis. Virtual doula support is also an option for those who need or desire it.
What is a doula?
The doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a birthing parent and their partner who are expecting, preparing for or experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. Their purpose is to help individuals and families have a safe, memorable and empowering birthing experience.
What does a birth doula do?
Most doula-client relationships begin a few months before the baby is due. During this period, we develop a relationship in which we hope you feel free to ask questions, express your fears and concerns, and take an active role in helping to creating a birth plan. Most doulas make themselves available to the you by phone in order to respond to you questions or address any concerns that might arise during the course of the pregnancy. Please understand that we do not provide any type of medical care. We help our clients gain a better understanding of the procedures and possible complications in late pregnancy or delivery. Our goal is to help facilitate conversations with your providers so you can make informed choices.
During labor and birth, birth doulas are in constant and close proximity to the birthing parent.
We have the ability to provide comfort with pain-relief techniques including breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, massage, and laboring positions. As a doulas, we also encourage participation from the primary support person and offer reassurance.
As a doula, we acts as an advocate for the birthing parent and family, encouraging and helping you to fulfill specific desires that you might have for your birth. The goal of a doula is to help the birth parent experience a positive and safe birth, whether you desire an unmedicated birth, a medicated birth or a planned or unplanned cesarean.
After birth during the immediate postpartum period, we will spend time helping you to begin the feeding process (whether breast or bottle) and encouraging bonding between your new baby.
What are the benefits of having a birth doula?
Numerous studies have documented the benefits of having a doula present during labor. A recent Cochrane Review, Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth, showed a very high number of positive birth outcomes when a doula was present. With their support, the birthing person was less likely to have pain-relief medications administered and less likely to have a cesarean birth. Birthing persons also reported having a more positive childbirth experience.
Other studies have shown that having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, and requests for an epidural by 60%.2
Doulas often use the power of touch to reduce stress and anxiety during labor. According to physicians Marshal Klaus and John Kennell, comforting touch helps stimulate the production of natural oxytocin. The pituitary gland secretes natural oxytocin to the bloodstream (causing uterine contractions) and to the brain (resulting in feelings of well-being and drowsiness, along with a higher pain threshold).
What about the primary support person’s role when using a birth doula?
The role of the doula is never to take the place of a primary support person in labor, but rather to complement and enhance their experience. However, some support people prefer to enjoy the labor/birth without having to stand in as the labor coach.
By having a doula as a part of the birth team, they are free to do whatever they choose. We can encourage them to use comfort techniques and can step in if they want/need a break. Having a doula allows them to support you emotionally during labor and birth and to also enjoy the experience without the added pressure of trying to remember everything they learned in childbirth class!
Are birth doulas only useful if planning an unmedicated birth?
The presence of a doula can be beneficial no matter what type of birth you are planning. Many women report needing fewer interventions when they have one. But be aware that the primary role of the doula is to help families have a safe and pleasant birth–not to help them choose the type of birth.
For those who have decided to have a medicated birth, the we will provide emotional, informational, and physical support through labor and the administration of medications. We work alongside medicated birthing parents to help them deal with potential side effects. Doulas may also help with other needs where medication may be inadequate because even with medication, there is likely to be some degree of discomfort.
Finding a Birth Doula:
Once you let us know when your estimated due date and what level of experienced doula (Co-Owner, Senior or Associate) you would like to work with, we will do our best to match you with one of our amazing doulas. You can make an appointment with them to have a conversation and see if you feel like they are a good fit for your birth team.
Birth Doula Levels of Education and Experience
Our Co-Owners at Beautiful Birth Choices include Julia Sittig, Christy Muscato, and Alison Spath. They not only co-own and lead BBC, they are active doulas in the birth community. All three of these doulas have a wealth of experience, training, and education behind them that inform their work and support of clients. While their client calendar has limited availability due to their small business leadership responsibilities and schedules, they have a passion for working closely with their doula clients and staying actively involved with their team.
Senior Level Birth Doulas include those doulas who either have several years or more of experience in their doula background, have worked and attended at least a dozen or more births across that timeframe, and/or have completed their training and certification as a birth doula. These doulas are typically very active in their work, engaging with between one and four clients per month. Many of our Senior Level Doulas are also actively working in other roles at BBC and in the birth community at large, including teaching, yoga, lactation, group facilitation and postpartum support.
BBC’s Associate Level Birth Doulas are those who have either begun their role in birth work recently, or who intentionally take limited clients due to availability in this season of their lives. All of our Associate Doulas are fully trained through BBC and through our certifying organization, DONA International, and are being mentored by our Senior Doulas and Co-Owners. They are exceptional doulas who are actively and purposefully building experience through connection and support of clients in the birth community.
If you are interested in doula support through Beautiful Birth Choices or would like to learn more, please fill out this form below. We will always do our best to match you with a doula according to your preferences, approximate due date, and doula availability: