A birth doula can provide a range of support during labor. Her primary goal is to provide comfort and support for the laboring mother and her partner. Since every laboring mother has different needs, doulas offer many different kinds of advice on topics such as laboring positions, breathing, hospital practices and medication. They generally have experience providing support in multiple capacities including maternal massage and newborn care. Having a doula with you while you labor can lengthen the time you stay at home if you plan to deliver at a hospital. She can act as an advocate for you while you’re in the care of medical professionals to increase the likelihood of creating the birth experience you’re looking for.
Some of the other proven advantages of having a doula:
Labors tend to be shorter with fewer complications
Reduces the need for pitocin, forceps or vacuum extraction
Reduces the incidence of cesareans
Reduces negative feelings about the childbirth experience
Shortens the hospital stay
Increases breastfeeding success and initial bonding
The comfort and support offered by a doula is not to replace your partner but to enhance the birth experience for you both. Together you are a team assisting and guiding one another to create the best birthing environment possible.
Postpartum doulas share a wealth of knowledge in order to dissolve some of the fears and doubts around newborns. Whether it’s their experience, education or an innate sense, doulas can inform parents on everything from useful breastfeeding positions to infant care issues. The first few weeks home with a new infant can be full of ‘first times’, guidance from an experienced hand can reassure parents and create a more confidant space for you to grow in.
Postpartum doulas can also help you find local resources including support groups. Support systems for new moms can prevent or assist moms with postpartum depression or mommy blues. Doulas are trained in learning the signs and symptoms of any of the postpartum mood disorder.
Some doulas prefer to work at night offering new parents a chance to get more sleep. Working at night provides an opportunity for them to assist with sleep techniques and infant feeding. A night doula can also provide extra support if one parent needs to be away from home overnight.
SF BAY AREA DOULAS
Constance Williams, CD (DONA) LCCE
Certified Birth Doula
Childbirth and Newborn Care Educator
Constance comes to her role as a birth and postpartum doula and childbirth preparation and newborn educator from a rich tapestry of life experience. Her first exposure to natural birth was in 1969 in a home setting and has formed her fascination with the birth process and the mother, baby partner interactions as they unfold into a family.
As a birth theorist, guide, teacher and writer, her main objectives are to support the evolution of our understanding of natural birth and promote healthy birth practice. Her focus is in helping the mother and father achieve a fear free labor and birth for the benefit of the baby.
As a student of midwifery, her two-year apprenticeship at the Birth Home in Pleasanton under the mentorship of Dr Michael Bleecker and Midwife Beah Haber she was able to add her store of valuable skills, experience and insights into the midwifery model of care.
In addition, Constance also works with families of newborn twins and triplets assisting new parents adjust to living with multiples with support for breastfeeding and newborn care and mother’s postpartum recovery.
Kathy Woo, MS, CHT
Certified Hypnotherapist – Depth Hypnosis Practitioner
Kathy Woo is a Birth Doula, trained Postpartum Doula, Certified Hypnotherapist, HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator and holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco State University. She received her birth and postpartum doula training from Natural Resources in San Francisco. Kathy also completed the Heart & Hands Midwifery Intensive Course and continues to further her knowledge by attending the Midwifery Study Group.
Kathy also practices Depth Hypnosis™, a form of hypnotherapy that incorporates principles from Buddhist Psychology, Shamanism, Transpersonal Psychology and Hypnotherapy. She received training from Dr. Isa Gucciardi, at The Foundation of the Sacred Stream, and her other studies include Shamanism, Buddhism and Integrated Energy Medicine. She teaches HypnoBirthing Childbirth Preparation courses in Berkeley and San Francisco.
Prior to her path as a birthworker, Kathy spent many years working in various San Francisco Community Mental Health programs as a counselor and social worker. This time gave her the opportunity to work with people from different cultural backgrounds and learn about imbalances on a mental, physical, spiritual and emotional level.
Kathy is committed to supporting her clients to birth and parent in their own unique way. She supports new families birthing at home, birth centers & hospitals. Her approach focuses on deepening her clients connection to their own intuition and strengths. She also provides information to assist her clients in making informed choices. In her spare time, Kathy likes to sew, practice yoga, watch movies and eat.