postpartum doulas

Midwives and Doulas

Midwives and Doulas

Gold Coast Doulas is pleased to present a guest blog from Mandi Garvey  She is a certified birth doula, Masters trained health educator, and EMT serving families in West Michigan in both clinical and non-clinical labor support roles.  When she’s not at a birth in one capacity or another, she’s napping in preparation for the next one.

Doulas and Midwives

… but if I have a midwife, why would I want a doula?

Building the perfect care team to support your upcoming labor and delivery can feel daunting.  Do I choose a midwife or a physician?  Will my partner accompany me in labor?  Should my mom be in the room?  All of these questions race by while you try to sort out the best way to meet your needs, often without knowing exactly what the needs will even be once labor begins.  As doulas, we often hear the suggestion that those being attended by midwives or those laboring outside of a hospital would not benefit as much from the presence of a doula.  We think doula support can be beneficial in all scenarios from home birth to planned surgical delivery.  Here’s why:


  1. The Research Says So

Twelve separate randomized trials comparing outcomes between labors supported by doulas and those that were not found doula support significantly reduced the length of labor and the odds of surgical or medical interventions like cesarean section, forceps delivery, oxytocin augmentation, and pharmaceutical pain relief.  People in the doula supported group also rated their labors as ‘less difficult’ and ‘less painful’ than those in the unsupported group.  Doulas were also found to reduce anxiety levels, increase positive feelings about the birth, decrease rates of postpartum depression, improve self-esteem, and increase rates of breastfeeding success.  Evaluations of partner-only or other non-doula support person labors did not see the same results.  (Scott, Klaus, & Klaus, 2009)


  1. Doulas Have Only One Job

While midwife supported labors are awesome, and we adore their dedication to supporting safe and healthy labor experiences, their primary focus is not the same as a doula’s.  Your midwife is tasked with monitoring labor for complications, managing the physical aspects of delivery, and keeping the laboring person and the baby physically safe throughout that process.  This often means their hands, eyes, and attention are on things other than the continuous non-judgmental complete emotional support of the laboring family, and rightly so!  We love midwives for the excellent work they do, but in situations when you might need the most support, they are likely going to have to focus on your physical needs and those of the imminently arriving baby.  Doulas do not have this conflict.  We are there to devote 100% of our attention to you, your partner, and y our emotional needs.


  1. Doulas Are Not Healthcare Providers

Your healthcare provider has a sense, from their experience and training, about how they think labor and delivery should go.  Based on the risks in a given situation, and always wanting to keep the health and safety of all involved in mind, even the most inclusive provider has a way s/he would like decisions made.  Your doula, by contrast, has no personal preference in what decisions you make.  We support you regardless of how you decide to proceed.  We will not try to persuade you in any particular direction.  Your provider is always motivated by safety first (as they should be!!).  Your doula is motivated by you, first and only.


  1. Doulas Are All About Relationships

When you hire doula support from Gold Coast, you’re getting two doulas dedicated to getting to know you, your family, and your needs.  We work alongside you from that first meeting through the postpartum period.  You know our names and faces.  We make it our job to know your rhythms, preferences, and fears.  As a healthcare provider myself who works separately in both capacities, as a birth attendant and as a doula, I can say the experiences are vastly different.  When I’m working as a clinical provider, I often do not meet laboring families until the last hours of their adventure, sometimes skating into the birth space only moments before your baby arrives.  When I work as a doula, we spend weeks getting to know each other.  I know you really wanted to be the first to touch your baby when it emerges.  I know you prefer constant light touch for affirmation.  I know how scared you were a month ago, and how strong you feel right now.  While choosing a small practice of midwives often gets you a similar relationship to this, hiring a doula guarantees it.


  1. Doulas Are Great Team Players

There is seriously nothing better than a having a whole team of people ready to support you through your labor and delivery.  Doulas love attending births with midwives.  We love knowing the kind of excellent care and attention our clients will receive in the midwife-led model.  We love providing a complementary service in supporting laboring families’ emotional and informational needs while the midwifery team handles the rest.  The question should not be, ‘do I hire a midwife OR a doula?’, but rather, ‘how do I get both?’.


We love midwives.  We love the work they do, the care they provide, and the positive force for change they are in the healthcare system.  We also love doulas.  Their presence improves labor outcomes, regardless of who the healthcare provider is, and creates space for positive experiences for laboring families.  We think midwives and doulas collaborating to provide the best in practice and support can be a perfect combination for laboring families.  There’s no need to choose one.  You really can have it all.

* Scott, K., Klaus, P., & Klaus, M. (2009). The obstetrical and postpartum benefits of continuous support during childbirth. Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine, 8(10), 1257-1264. doi: 10.1089/jwh.1.1999.8.1257.

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Sick Day Doulas

I could have used sick day doulas when I had the stomach bug.

I helped a friend out a couple of weeks ago and watched her babies while she was in the hospital. Her house had been hit with the stomach bug. I ended up getting it soon after I got home and my husband and son had just left to visit family out of state. I was alone with my five-year-old daughter and was sick to my stomach.
I could have used a birth doula to get me a cold washcloth as I was stuck laying on the cold bathroom floor.

I could have used a postpartum doula to run and get me saltines and Vernors.

I could have used a birth doula to remind me that this was one less vomiting session to deal with…that I could do this and that I was strong.

I could have used a postpartum doula to set up art projects for my daughter to keep her entertained.

I could have used a birth doula to bring me a warm rice sock when I got the chills.

I could have used a postpartum doula to wash my laundry and fold it afterwards.

I could have used a birth doula to hold my hair as I got sick yet again.

I could have used a postpartum doula to tuck me into my bed.

I could have used a birth doula to rub my back.

I could have used a postpartum doula to make me broth when I finally got my appetite back.

I could have used them both. I got through it and my daughter managed to stay healthy. We can get through anything, having support makes it so much better though.

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Gold Coast Doulas

We are Your Doulas!

We are your doulas!

At Gold Coast we pride ourselves on our superior service and professionalism. We aim to be your one stop shop for all things pertaining to pregnancy, birth and the postpartum time.

Looking for childbirth classes? We’ve got you covered with HypnoBirthing classes and will soon be releasing another option for Childbirth Classes.

Looking for a doula to support you during bedrest or other medical situations? Our Bedrest Doulas have got you covered in the home or hospital.

Interested in a birth doula? We have Certified and Pre-Certified partnered doulas who would love to work with you. Gold Coast Doulas support births in the home, birth center or hospitals. Our fully insured doulas attend births in the following hospitals: Gerber, Zeeland Hospital, Hackley Hospital, Metro Health Hospital, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus, Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, Holland Hospital and North Ottawa Community Hospital.

Do you need daytime postpartum care for you new baby and yourself? Our trained and certified postpartum doulas will care for your baby while you take a shower, run errands for you, do light housekeeping, light meal preparation, will listen to your birth story and to you to support you emotionally, they will play with your toddler and support you with breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

Are you sleep deprived? Our overnight postpartum doulas will give you the rest you need. Gold Coast Doulas love to bring breastfed babies to you when it is time to nurse and then take care of burping, changing and getting your baby back to sleep. If you bottle feed or pump our doulas will take care of everything so you can sleep through the night. Even one good night of sleep can make a difference.

Do you need support with twins or multiples? Our postpartum doulas are eager to help!

How can we best support you? Call us today!
We serve all of Greater Grand Rapids and West Michigan’s Gold Coast including: Saugatuck/Douglas, Holland/Zeeland, Grand Haven/Spring Lake, Muskegon, Fremont, Cedar Springs and surrounding areas


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Gold Coast Doulas

Feeding the Monkeys

We are pleased to present a guest blog on feedings from Becky Antaya. Becky is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) who has worked with women, infants and children for over 12 years. Through her experience educating moms and families about nutrition and breastfeeding she discovered a need for mothers to be nurtured and supported during the postpartum period, unlike her own first pregnancy. After struggling with undiagnosed postpartum depression and limited family support, Becky now is an advocate for mental health postpartum services. Becky is a ProDoula trained Postpartum doula through Gold Coast Doulas.

In our house when my kids were young feeding time was always referred to “Time to feed the Monkeys”. I am not totally sure why but we thought it was cute. We adore our little monkeys (even though they are big enough to feed themselves now). But looking back, feeding time at our “zoo” was anything but! There’s a lot of preparation and thought that went into it. We couldn’t just throw food at our little ones and say eat like they would at a zoo. There were burp cloths and bibs to round up, Boppy to be located, bottle to be prepared, comfy couch to clear off, etc, etc. and this was just for the BABY. So add in a busy sibling and what do you do? How do you keep a toddler/preschooler occupied while feeding your baby 8+ times a day? Here are a few tips I have discovered along the years to help tame your feeding time:

• Keep a basket or special box of toys that only come out at times when you are feeding your baby. I would recommend keeping it to more quiet items or toys that aren’t too loud. They can still make noise but nothing that would scare you or your little one during the feeding.
• Read books during feeding time that your toddler/preschooler would enjoy. Keep them only for feeding time and not bedtime since that is a special time of its own. Maybe even throw in a nutrition or food book since you are feeding someone at that moment. Head to the local library for some great ideas. A couple of our favorites were the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” series by Felicia Bond or “Muncha, Muncha, Muncha” by Candace Fleming.
• If you allow television, limit that time to feedings. Put on one of their favorite movies or shows but be sure to stop it when the feedings are complete. If the TV is on all the time then this “show time” quiet time won’t work. Same goes for using the iPad or tablet. If you always allow it, feeding time probably will not be sacred electronic time for your little one.
• Keep snacks handy. Inevitably your toddler always wants to eat or drink when you sit down to feed the baby. You could reserve a shelf in the fridge for the cup and have your child open up the fridge herself (what a big girl!). Have a water bottle nearby. Stock an easy-to-reach drawer full of pre-approved snacks. Suggestions are to choose your food (goldfish, dry cereal, grapes, or other healthier options) and pre-prepare snack size bags. Portion control is always good with little ones! Makes less mess.
• Get them involved. Is your preschooler willing to hold a bottle? Sit next to your child on the couch. Place a pillow on his/her lap, the baby on top. Show him or her how to feed the baby. This doesn’t mean you can walk away. Stay close by. Chances are your older child will be done in just a few minutes but at least they received some attention and know that these tasks are important.
• Have them learn how to burp the baby. Of course you want them to be gentle. Show him or her how to gently pat baby’s back and keep that burp cloth handy.

Finding new routines is hard with a newborn and older siblings but be patient. Eventually it will work itself out and your family zoo will learn to enjoy feeding time. And always remember to feed Mommy monkey too!

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