Categories
Birth Doulas Postpartum Doulas Pregnancy UDA Membership Uncategorized World Doula Week

World Doula Week

By Dezarae Weyburn

Lindsay Dougal, doula, offers laboring mother support.
(Photo by: Mandy Hawkes)

The term “doula” is a relatively new one. Although the Greeks used the term “doula” to mean a female slave, or handmaid, it wasn’t until 1969 that the term was first applied to birth work.

In the half-century that followed, doulas went from completely unknown to a household name. With the formation of DONA in 1992, Ricki Lake’s documentary, “The Business of Being Born” in 2008, and the Facebook series, “Romper’s Doula Diaries“, people were exposed to a new part of the birthing world.  There are now hundreds of doula certifying bodies and organizations. In addition to birth support there are antenatal/prenatal, postpartum, bereavement, abortion, adoption/surrogacy, and even death/end of life doulas.

Raquel Alfaro, postpartum doula, cares for baby while parents rest and recover after cesarean birth.

Although doulas provide strictly non-medical support, science backs their efficacy. Studies show consistently better birth outcomes with doulas than without including shorter labors, less reported pain, fewer interventions and a higher rate of satisfaction with the birth experience. While serving prenatally or in the postpartum period, doulas are perfectly positioned to notice and provide resources for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders such as postpartum depression and anxiety.

Doulas help bridge the gap by providing a unique support to their clients. Here’s what some local parents had to say about their experience working with a doula:

“For me I felt like a doula was a big support for the role of my spouse. As a woman you read and study a lot about labor and delivery, but I feel like my husband just wasn’t prepared. So having a doula out there to help him and help him to feel part of the labor and delivery was awesome. I also think an acting voice for when you are in full labor was super helpful along with the different types of calming and soothing techniques”. (Thompson)

“I don’t know how we did it last time. I really don’t think we could have done it without a doula. Why doesn’t everyone get a doula?” (Orton)

“Having a doula at my birth gave me the fortitude to push through all the opposition I felt. The thoughts that frequently come up of, ‘I can’t do this’ were negated immediately by the female companionship of an amazing supportive doula.” (VBAC mom, Nance)

“Having a doula brought a needed calm and supportive presence into my labor. Her attention to detail was spot-on and she came prepared with ideas and tools that eased my labor and made the experience one to remember.” (Zitto)

The Utah Doula Association (UDA) has over 150 members consisting of doulas and local community partners. The non-profit strives to provide a community of support, opportunity, and education to both doulas and families seeking a doula. Happy World Doula Week to its members and all doulas who are changing the world one family at a time!

UDA Annual Conference
(Photo by: Nathan Caulford)

Need a doula? Find one now.

Learn more about the role of a doula here: What is a doula?

About Dezerae:

Dezerae found her interest in birth while pregnant with her oldest. She attended her first birth as a doula in 2013. In addition to being a birth doula, Dezarae is also a trained bereavement doula helping parents during miscarriage and stillbirths. In 2015, she took a breastfeeding training through the World Health Organization and found a second passion in supporting parents in their chosen feeding method.  Dezarae loves cheering for parents, especially when they feel like they can’t do it, and is honored to witness the birth of mothers, fathers, grandparents, and babies!

Categories
Birth Doulas Business ThrowBack Thursday UDA Membership Uncategorized

ThrowBack Thursday

By: Andrea Lythgoe, BS, LCCE

Bill Clinton began his first term as president, Sleepless in Seattle was packing the movie theaters, Whitney Houston crooned that she would Always Love You, and Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears & Christina Aguilera were all Mouseketeers. It was 1993.

The Utah Association of Childbirth Companions, founded by Kristi Ridd the year before, began publishing a newsletter. Some things that were happening in this group that would eventually become to be the Utah Doula Association:

Donna Peterson and Jan Black were congratulated on becoming the first Certified Childbirth Companions by the organization. Other members were encouraged to take the certification exam in October.

An article encouraged members to sign up for a pager service so they could lead active lives while on call. The association had arranged for discounts on paging service as well.  

The semi annual membership meeting would be held at a pavilion at Sugarhouse Park, and members were to bring their own dinner and come prepared to learn more about second stage. At that meeting, the 1994 board was elected, with Alisa Dudley as president, 6 area reps, a newsletter editor, and a DONA representative. Annual membership cost $25 and included membership in Doulas of North America (DONA)

Members were invited to use their personal computers and modem to join “Birth” – the first world-wide computerized forum about childbearing. The instructions to access the forum:

“To connect with BIRTH for the first time, call channel 1 in Cambridge, Massachusetts at (phone number) You will be asked online to give your name and select a password. Then you’ll see a menu. Type J-BIRTH, then leave a message. The next time you phone, you’ll receive a response online with the telephone number of a board in your area.”

Members were invited to join in the local ICEA conference. It was held on a Saturday afternoon, with Holly Richardson and Kristi Ridd speaking and a panel of care providers and parents. Cost was $5.

Can you imagine trying to do doula work without a cell phone? How would you go about marketing and connecting with potential clients without a web site, social media, texting or email? Or connecting with other doulas to find backup and community without the internet?

Categories
Birth Doulas Diversity UDA Membership

Better Together: A Message From the New UDA Board President and Vice President

Karina Robinson, UDA President CAD(MCU), CHD, AAHCC, PES

Hi everyone! I’m Karina and I’m excited to serve as the UDA President this year alongside the brilliant Bonnie Baker!

Our theme for this year is “Better Together”. We want to create unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation. We believe we are better together than we are separate and that many hands make light work. We hope that we can help new doulas connect and find their tribe to lift them up to success and that seasoned doulas will allow us all to glean from them to better our skill-sets and to form good relationships with providers.

Our goal for the UDA this year is to support our sisters with whom we have been working side by side and strengthen our connections to each other and the community where we work.

We want to be a resource for doulas, new or experienced, that if you need support with anything, help is only a request away!

My journey to become a Birth Doula started as I prepared to become pregnant with my first baby. I knew that I wanted to have an unmedicated birth, and I have Type 1 Diabetes which could make it harder to achieve. During my research I realized that many women don’t know their options during childbirth and many don’t even realize they HAVE options. After having my eyes opened to this magical world of birth I could not close them again, nor did I want to. I want to help every birthing woman feel empowered, supported, educated, and excited for the birth of her baby.

I am a Certified Advanced Birth Doula, HypnoDoula, The Bradley Method instructor, Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, Mother’s Blessing Coordinator, Moxibustion Practitioner, and Bengkung Belly Binding Practitioner. When I’m not doing one of those things, I am loving on and caring for my 3 children, binge watching Netflix shows, gaming with my husband, or screen printing shirts.

I look forward to  working together with each of you this year as we build relationships with each other and the care providers and nurses we work with, because we are Better Together. 

Bonnie Baker, UDA Vice President HCHI, HCHD, PES

Hi everyone! I’m Bonnie and I’m excited to serve as the UDA Vice President this year!

I came to love all things birth related through the birth of my children.  I am a mother, wife, yogi, bookworm, and wanna-be world traveler who is working hard to expand my passport. I also remodel houses from time to time and I’ve noticed that construction is like pregnancy, birth, and transition, it’s hard work but the pay off is so worth it! I am also a Birth Doula, Hypnobabies Instructor, Happiest Baby on the Block New Parent Educator, Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, and Bengkung Belly Binding Practitioner.

I love nutrition, cooking, green living, and making new friends. I want the Utah Doula Association to be a place where doulas feel safe to reach out with questions, advice or ideas, to make connections that further their passions, and to provide a space to process the hard things that come with our role in birth. I’m excited to walk alongside Karina, who is organized, driven, and all around good at whatever she does.  Our mission is to take what years past have established and build upon it to continue to make the Utah Doula Association great! We have a strong board and amazing members in this group.

We welcome your advice and suggestions through our feedback form so that your voice counts this year.

Categories
Birth Doulas Business Events Outreach Committee UDA Membership

February Mentor Meeting Highlights

Last night was our very first mentor meeting of 2017 and boy was it good! The topic was “Social Media and Your Doula Business,” something I’m sure we all can appreciate. It is basically impossible to have a successful business these days without a strong online presence, and this can no longer be accomplished with just a website. Social media has given marketing and advertising a whole new face and it’s imperative to understand at least the basics.

I, for one, am grateful that the Utah Doula Association shows how much it values its members by having monthly mentor meetings. The UDA wants to support you as you build and grow your doula business. These meetings are a fabulous opportunity to learn from the more seasoned doulas and – in this month’s case – learn  from Social Marketing pro April de Haan.

With her adorable Australian accent April explained how she actually knew very little about what a doula is and what we do. But you would never know that with how beautifully she presented information to us on branding, best times to post, how many characters are recommended and even how many hashtags are appropriate. Who knew it was such a science? After studying and working in social marketing for 12 years, April certainly knows the ins and outs of social media.

She made us great little pamphlets to take home. The first few pages went through Instagram and Twitter. (Did you know retweeting too often can be a bad thing? Yea, neither did I.) Image sizes are crucial to your posts as well, which was well covered in the Best Practice table. This table featured Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Image size, text length, frequency of posts, links/hashtags and videos were all covered in one convenient little page to reference.

Clearly, in order to post anything you must have content: something to talk about and engage your followers. It’s not always easy to be creative, but taking time each week to brainstorm is so important to always have new data. Your followers and potential clients want to see that you are active. They want to see you posting, informing, creating dialogue and engaging.

With this in mind, April outlined the content pyramid for us. The base of your pyramid is information. You want to be posting in this category about 3 times/week. Next is conversation; aim to start discussions 2 times/week. The third tier is entertainment, which should be done weekly. Funny videos or memes are perfectly acceptable and encouraged! The fourth tier is sales. Limit this to 1 or 2 times a month. Let potential clients know about any specials you’re offering, but don’t bog them down. And finally, at the top of the pyramid is teaching. Are you in a position to teach a monthly class? Can you give a presentation at an expo or Positive Birth meetup? These are great ways to let people know you are active and passionate in your field.

All of the social media channels offer insights into your page. How many views are you getting? Who is the majority of your audience? How many clicks to your website? Learning how to use these tools can be invaluable when it comes to attracting the right clients for you.

Ask any of the doulas who attended this meeting and I am sure they will all tell you how excited they were to go home and work on some of the things we learned. Be sure to join us at our next mentor meeting on Saturday, March 4 where we will have an experienced doula panel to answer all your questions about doula work! Learn more here. 

If you are interested in getting in touch with April de Haan:

(435) 640-5030                                                                                                                         dehaan.april@gmail.com                                                                                                                                   Twitter: @apesicles                                                                                                                                          LinkedIn: au.linkedin.com/in/aprildehaan

Melissa Olson-                                                                                                                               Birth Doula                                                                                                                                Bundles of Joy                                                                                                                              Doula Services