What is a birth doula and why should I have one?
A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
- tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
- reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
- reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
- reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans
I have a supportive partner that plans to be an active participant during childbirth. Why would we still want to hire a doula?
A doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable. Choosing to hire a doula that is a good fit for your family will increase your network of support, which has the capacity to decrease overall stress and allows for a greater ability for partners to bond with each other and their new family member(s). Partners can often feel overwhelmed, nervous or unsure of the birth experience. A doula will help to educate your partner so that any fears or anxieties can be addressed, and he/she can fit into a role that feels comfortable.
Does a doula replace medical or nursing staff?
Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
Does a doula make decisions on my behalf?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.
Are doulas only for women planning unmedicated births?
No, in fact, medicated and cesarean births often call for more support. As with any birth, complications can arise, but a cesarean birth is a major surgery and will require more emotional and physical preparation from the birthing mother, before during and after birth. A supportive doula can help decrease the risk of postpartum depression and can ease the physical and emotional transitions that a new mom might be experiencing, while taking pressure off of the partner to excel in all of these roles. Regardless of your choices involving your birth setting or birth philosophy there is always room to create a more positive experience.
What is my goal as your doula?
My goal is to support you at your birth, using education and empowerment so that you can make informed decisions, resulting in a more positive birth experience.
What is your training as a doula?
I completed my DONA (Doula’s of North America) birth doula training at Birthwise Midwifery School in August of 2013, followed by additional study in October 2013 under the tutelage of Michelle L’Esperance, home birth midwife and doula.
What do your clients value most about your doula services?
My clients feel happy that they are supported in a wide array of birth, cultural and religious settings. I feel that it is important to facilitate educational growth and awareness, while simultaneously being able to support my clients in their wishes and desires in regard to the birth.
How will a doula change my birthing experience?
A doula will be a support person at your birth that will help you to understand your birth setting and will help you to advocate for your needs. The more educated and prepared a woman is for the birth, the more likely she is to be confident and empowered about the process that is taking place, thus having more control over her birthing experience. Education allows us to become better advocates for ourselves, which can result in a more positive birthing experience, which will be facilitated by your doula that has professional training in the topic of birth. With that said, it is important for clients to understand that there are many external factors and variables that may occur during birth that are outside the scope of a doula as a non-medical support person. As the client, it is highly encouraged that you have open communication with your primary medical care provider, before, during and after your birth to discuss your needs, fears and challenges you may face that may be dependent on factors such as your current state of health and your birth setting.
As a doula, what is your hope for this generation of birthing women?
Birth has the power to be the most empowering and transformational experience in a women’s life or the most traumatic. It is important for women to understand that they have much more control in the outcome of their birth experiences than they may have previously thought. Statistically speaking, in the United States, the more educated a women is, the less likely she is to seek out any formal childbirth education or preparation prior to her birth. It is common that we frequently prepare the material supplies needed to support this new life, often times ignoring the impact and physiological power this experience will have not just on our own bodies, but, in the long term, on the emotional and physical well-being of the child. I have seen many women feel traumatized by their birth experiences, but they are unable to know what went wrong in the process. We don’t know what we don’t know and it is impossible to make informed decisions without preparation. A woman’s birth experience will stay with her for life and I’d like to hope that women are seriously considering that the ramifications of not preparing the body and mind for this life changing event can have long lasting effects. As a culture, we need to shift this attitude and regain faith in our ability to birth.
What are the benefits of Reiki?
Reiki promotes physical and emotional balance within the body, along with a greater sense of well-being. Reiki promotes a reduction in anxiety, muscle tension and pain. Reiki may also help accelerate wound healing. Often times these benefits are experienced during or shortly after a Reiki session, but clients may also experience these benefits and sensations in the days or weeks to follow as the body takes time to process the session.
What does Reiki feel like?
Reiki is administered through a gentle touch. During a Reiki session you are seated or lying down, fully clothed, while the practitioner's hands are lightly placed around energy centers and pathways on your head, neck, shoulders, upper chest, abdomen, legs and feet. During the session, clients usually shut their eyes and practice relaxed breathing. Some clients stay restfully awake, while others choose to sleep. Reiki sessions can be conducted in the presence of calming music or in complete silence. Limiting stressful external stimulus and noise is helpful in promoting the body’s ability to rest and rejuvenate. As energy is transferred into the pathways, you may feel warmth, coolness, gentle tingling and a sense of deep relaxation. For people in the final stage of life, Reiki can provide a more peaceful “transition.”
What is your training and experience as a Reiki practitioner?
Elizabeth completed her Level 1 Reiki Practitioner Certification in April 2013 under the tutelage of Reiki Master, Alice Moore, RN, the Reiki Program and Education Coordinator for Hartford Hospital’s Integrative Medicine Department. Elizabeth has been providing Reiki to community members in the greater Hartford Area, along with patients of Hartford Hospital’s Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center since April 2013.
Where do you provide Reiki Services?
Reiki services are provided in the comfort of your own home, hospital or hospice center. This model of support allows us to meet the needs of clients who are at various stages of wellness. Whether a client is feeling unwell, short on time or transportation, nearing the end of life, or simply feels more comfortable at home, we are happy to bring our Reiki services to you!
I am feeling healthy and balanced. Can I still benefit from a Reiki session?
Similar to a car, our bodies also benefit from an occasional tune-up. Taking time for self-care as a regular practice can promote a more sustainable approach to wellness, allowing for longevity of physical and mental health. If we engage in regular self-care practices, such as Reiki, we are often able to recover much quicker when we are faced with emotional and physical challenges in life. Reiki can also be beneficial as a preventative self-care practice. Clients often inquire about Reiki when they know they are about to face a difficult emotional or physical challenge, such as surgery or the loss of a loved one. And remember, Reiki feels good!
What are some questions to ask myself to know if I might benefit from an Ayurvedic Mindful Eating services?
Are you bloated, tired, crampy, gassy or sluggish after you eat a meal?
Are you confused and discouraged because you are eating whole foods and green smoothies but you are still lacking vitality?
Are you hungry all of the time or completely lacking an appetite?
Are you chronically constipated or having loose bowels?
Have you tried fad diets or cleanses that leave you craving foods, and feeling emotionally stressed?
What are some of the benefits clients have experienced from your Ayurvedic Mindful Eating consultation and services?
Mindful eating has enabled clients to experience a wide array of changes in their physical and emotional bodies, which include, but are not limited to, more stable moods, healthy weight loss and gain, increased energy, decrease in feelings of depression, regular bowel movements, elimination of lethargy, bloating and cramping after a meal.
How does my environment affect my appetite?
Imagine that you’ve sat down to eat a warm, nourishing meal that you prepared for lunch today, when a loud and negative co-worker sits down next to you and starts telling you stories about all of the bad things that have happened during the week. Your heart may begin to race and you might even feel emotions of frustration, sadness and anger arise as the conversation proceeds. Your hunger starts to fade as you become distracted by this negative external stimulus. You hurry to finish your meal, so that you can find reprieve from this environment, but you are left feeling tired, sluggish and bloated for the rest of the day. You are discouraged that you do not feel well after spending time preparing such a nutritious, wholesome meal. The fact that our bodies have the capacity to elicit physical responses based on an emotional state is profound and yet simple. When it comes to how we eat, it is imperative that we engage in a relaxing and positive environment so that our bodies can properly digest and utilize the nutrients that we offer them.
I’ve had such poor eating habits for so long. Can I really be helped?
Our bodies crave to be in a state of balance. The good news is that small changes in regard to the way we eat have the potential to produce significant benefits for our mental and physical health. The practice of eating can be a vulnerable experience for you as you begin to address emotional and physical habits surrounding your food. We will provide you a safe environment that supports you at a pace that feels comfortable for you as you begin to explore your history with food.