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"D" is for Doula

Sorry, we couldn't resist. This is, after all, what we do!

Fun fact: Richmond Birth and Baby was originally just Kristi Ramey, Birth Doula.

While we have grown and learned so much, it's always good to look back and appreciate where you started!'

What is a doula?

A person whose primary focus is to the meet the emotional and physical needs of a laboring or newly postpartum mother. She provides support, comfort, and knowledge, before, during, and after labor. She is trained to work around medical professionals and partners, but her focus will always be on the mother, and on her needs and desires.

In short, our job is to mimic what women in the family and community would have done for you, hundreds of years ago. To be *your* village.

What can you expect when you hire a birth doula?

(This will vary somewhat from client to client, and can be entirely tailored to your unique needs. These are just basics, so you have an idea to how we can serve you.)

- A meeting (or multiple meetings) before labor, where we can discuss your birth plan and goals, any questions, concerns, or fears you may have.

- Coverage during your entire laboring process, from the time you call to after you deliver. We usually stick around for 2-3 hours after birth, unless otherwise requested.

- Advice and support immediately after birth, including basic breastfeeding help, comfort measures for you, a few tips to dad if he isn't sure what to do next, snapping pics, etc.

- Typically, a meeting within the first 2 weeks after birth. This gives you a chance to discuss your birth, a debrief if you will. A safe place to share, cry, and process. We check in with you about your mental state, how breastfeeding/pumping/bottle feeds are going, and postpartum issues (normal or otherwise) you may be facing!

What are some of the things we do not do as a doula?

- We do not make medical decisions on your behalf (though we can certainly remind others of your stated preferences and goals!)

- We do not perform medical procedures or exams.

- We do not seek to replace the spouse/mom/friend that may be there. We work alongside any other members of your birth team.

What should you consider when hiring a doula?

- This person will be with you in a very vulnerable state, so it should go without saying that you trust this person to be ethical, as well as considerate of your particular religious observances or cultural norms, and discrete.

- We always recommend hiring someone with both experience and honesty when something is outside their scope of expertise.

- A good working knowledge of local area hospitals and how to best work with their providers and guidelines.

- Someone that you trust to aid you in advocating for yourself.

- If their "on call" schedule fits your needs, and if they have a back-up system in place in case of emergency. One of the main reasons Richmond Birth and Baby utilizes a "team" model is to ensure our clients always have someone when they call. All our doulas have a back-up on the schedule, just in case something comes up!

Are there any stats or studies to back up the claims about doula care?

Yes, in fact! Several studies in the last decade have shown the following (possible) benefits of having "continuous support during labor"*:

-Lower rates of cesarean section deliveries (up to 39% in some areas)

-Less low APGAR scores at the 5 minute mark

-Higher rates of satisfaction with the labor and delivery process overall

-Lower rates of pain medication needed

-Higher rates of vaginal deliveries (without need for induction)

-Lower costs for hospital deliveries

Are you pregnant and think a doula might be a good choice for you?

While we may not be the perfect fit for everyone, we would love the opportunity to meet you and discuss your options. Contact us at or book us directly at

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