BIRTH WITH A DOULA
Doulas nurture and support the birthing mother throughout labor and birth. Their role is to provide continuous labor support to the mother, no matter what she decides or how or where she gives birth. Labor support is defined as the therapeutic presence of another person, in which human-to-human interaction with caring behaviors is practiced (Jordan, 2013).
Unlike many other countries where you have your own Ob-Gyn present at the time of your birth, in Switzerland births are typically attended by midwives. In most cases, you will only get to meet your midwife when you arrive at the hospital for delivery. Doctors will be available as well, but just like the midwives, they often have several patients to attend to and they work on shifts, so it is possible they will not be able to give you continuous, one-on-one support, care and guidance. This is the role of your doula.
A doula does not have any clinical responsibility during the birth, as that rests with your midwife and/or doctor. But your doula knows you and your partner, having established a relationship of trust during pregnancy. She understands your values and preferences, and will support them so that the birth is the best possible experience for mother, baby and their family.
A doula is
“a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.” -dona.org
BENEFITS OF HAVING A DOULA
Many studies have validated the benefits of having an experienced woman accompany and support the mother before, during and after birth. A 2017 Cochrane review published by Bohren et al. compiled data from 26 trials totaling more than 15,000 women whose birth experiences included women who had different kinds of support during labor, or no support at all. It found that mothers who had continuous support from someone outside their social network, and who was not a member of the hospital staff, had much better birth outcomes. Mothers with doula support:
were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births, and less likely to use any pain medication.
experienced less interventions such as epidurals, vacuum or forceps to extract the baby, were less likely to require C-sections, or to have negative feelings about childbirth.
reported were shorter labor times, an increase in positive childbirth experiences, better baby Apgar scores at birth, higher breastfeeding success rate, and higher maternal self-esteem.
There is no evidence for negative consequences to continuous labor support. The results of this review show that when a mother has continuous labor support (someone who will not leave their side), both mothers and babies benefit!
DOULAS & PARTNERS
Many couples feel that they don’t need a doula because the father or mother’s partner will be present throughout labor. Some may feel like a doula could also interfere with a very private moment.
While it is true that your partner knows you intimately, they probably have very little if any experience with the birthing process. Also, they are having their own emotional journey regarding the birth, and they will eventually need breaks to eat and use the bathroom... Dads or partners also require nurturing and support. They often will have limited knowledge about birth and hospital procedures, and will need information and guidance on what they can do to help effectively. Working together with doulas, they can form a team to give the birthing mom their support so she has the best birth possible. With a doula present, your partner can also take breaks as needed without feeling like they are leaving you without any support.
Sometimes interventions are medically necessary and inevitable. If this happens, your doula can help support you so your birth experience will still be positive even with these changes. She can also find ways to make you feel you are still at the center of the birth despite the interventions.
Having a positive birth experience is something that extends well beyond the hours of labor and delivery. It will gift you with positive memories that will reflect on your bonding with your baby, your health and well-being, and the spirit you bring to your growing family.
Non-binding initial meet-and-greet meeting. This is a 1-hour meeting for both parents and Doula to meet and see if there is chemistry. We will meet in a mutually agreed location (usually a quiet cafe) or at your home if you prefer. If the decision is made to hire the doula after this meeting, a non-refundable 50% fee deposit is due. This deposit is included in the 1200 CHF total fee.
One to two prenatal meetings.
On-call 2 weeks before until 2 weeks after your expected due date.
Continuous support during the whole birth, at the place of birth of your choice.
A follow-up visit and birth reflection.
Contact by mail, telephone or message.
The remaining 50% will be paid to the doula at week 38 of your pregnancy.
Price: 1200 CHF
*Excluding travel costs outside BS/BL, parking fees (with receipt).
Enjoy this time to breathe, connect with your baby and stretch and strengthen mindfully preparing for birth.
Price: 25 CHF per group class | 65 CHF per private class
Postnatal Yoga Classes
Bring baby along to class! Come back to your practice in a gentle way, feeling for the changes present after pregnancy and gradually regain your strength and rebuild your pelvic floor.
Price: 65 CHF per private class
*Group classes may become available, and will be posted here. Please check back another time.
Help with planning and organizing a Blessingway for the expectant mother. Before the arrival of baby, let’s plan a special time to honor and bless the mother! Friends, female relatives and your doula come together to bless the expectant mother and bathe her in love in preparation for the upcoming birth. Every Blessingway is unique, as each mother and each birth is unique.
Price: 216 CHF
If you would like additional preparation before your birth, in addition to the prenatal meetings on the standard package.
Price: 108 CHF per hour
Postpartum Accompaniment & Support
If you would like additional support and attention, or an extra pair of hands during the postpartum days.
Price: 216 CHF for two hours
Closing of the Bones Ceremony
A tradition received from traditional midwives in Mexico and Guatemala, the Closing of the Bones ceremony is a beautiful way to acknowledge the mother and support her recovery after childbirth, celebrating the wonderful abilities of her body. The ceremony usually takes place 40 days after the birth. It is a postnatal ritual that creates a space for gratitude and stillness that allows the mother to physically and emotionally close the circle of pregnancy and birth and come back to her own body.
Price: 150 CHF
The fee for the comprehensive labor support service I provide is 1200 CHF. A 600 CHF non-refundable deposit is due upon confirmation of our agreement to work together and after my contract is signed. The deposit is included in the 1200 CHF total fee. My fee includes everything listed as the Doula Package under my Services.
I believe all women who want a Doula should be able to have one, and I am open to working on a sliding scale or do installment payment when needed. Also, if you have a skill or a product that you would like to barter for part or all of my fee, please let me know.
I can arrange to have a back-up doula if you are interested. You would have a complementary phone or Skype consultation with her during your pregnancy so that you have a chance to become acquainted. If you would like an in-person prenatal visit with the back-up doula, there is an additional 108 CHF fee paid directly to her. If for an unforeseen reason, I am unable to attend the birth of your baby, she will be there for you and you will pay her the remainder of my fee and any additional expenses.
“We decided to work with Lara for the birth of our second child. Lara
was also my prenatal yoga instructor. At the birth she instinctively knew how to best support me during the labour. My husband really appreciated the help too! We felt at ease and the pre- and post-labour support she provided was really valuable. Our heartfelt thanks to Lara.”
-Becca, mom of two boys
“I had the pleasure to have Lara both as my prenatal yoga instructor and doula when we were getting ready to welcome our third baby. It was really nice for me to be able to take the time to exercise and connect with my baby from the very beginning with Lara as my guide. We come from Argentina, and having a child in a foreign country, although we already had two children, was a challenge. It was reassuring to have a familiar face to turn to, somebody who held our hand through the whole process. And the best part is we made a friend (and auntie) for life! ”
-Rafaela, third-time mom
“In our first meeting, Lara told us that she would provide us with emotional and practical support before, during, and after the birth. We quickly felt the warmth of her words and sincerity of her intentions. At the time, I had some insecurities about my role at the birth (...) but Lara’s energy and reassurance opened up and held a space for me to find confidence in myself and trust in the process. Simply knowing she would be present during the birth strengthened my resolve incredibly.
Lara helped Bettina and I to have conviction in formulating our own personal birth plan and made us confront difficult topics that we were avoiding. I am so thankful that she brought the possibility of a cesarean section into our consciousness, as this was ultimately how our daughter Marni came into the world. Sadly, due to hospital protocol, Lara was unable to be present at the birth but her calm handling of a stressful situation meant that Bettina and I could experience the birth together, fully present and in support of one another. Thank you Lara. You are forever in our hearts!”
-Bettina and Steve, first-time parents
Here are some of the books and readings related to childbirth that I find particularly helpful and/or enlightening. Some are in English and others in Spanish.
“Let choice murmur in you ear and love murmur in your heart.
here comes life!”
- Maya Angelou