What’s a doula? Doula is a Greek word, which means “woman caregiver.” However, the word is now used to describe someone who is formally trained and experienced in supporting a woman, and her partner (if applicable), through pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This includes, but is not limited to, education, emotional support and physical comfort measures. When researching continuous labor support, authors have found that there are only benefits; no known harm. Compared to women who didn’t have continuous support, those that do are less likely to:
have an epidural
use any type of pain medication
give birth by cesarean section
give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
give birth to a baby with a low Apgar score five minutes after birth
be dissatisfied with, or negatively rate, their childbirth experience
What if the birthing woman’s partner wants to be a major source of support? That’s amazing- so happy to hear that! At this point, Karissa has only been to births where the partner is there and involved to some extent. Karissa provides knowledge on the process e.g. What’s normal? What’s not? She also has perspective on “issues” and different solutions as well as costs and benefits of various procedures and interventions. Karissa facilitates optimal communication between the parents and the medical providers as well as between the parents themselves. Depending on the length of the birth, Karissa will stay with the laboring woman so that the partner can grab some food, take a rest or any other break that s/he may need. That being said, Karissa loves watching partners supporting each other and welcomes the opportunity to give the couple as much space as they desire.
Is a doula the same as a midwife? No. They are actually very different. A midwife provides clinical care to the mother. A doula typially does not have any medical training. Instead, she offers non-clinical advice as well as the above mentioned education, emotional support and physical comfort measures as the mother journeys through her pregnancy, the birthing process and the postpartum period.
Meet The Doula In addition to being a doula, Karissa McCallum is an acupuncturist, herbalist and essential oil educator. She uses all of this knowledge to support families prenatally, during labor and in the postpartum period. For as long as Karissa can remember, she has always been interested in pregnancy, birth and babies. While obtaining her Masters in Traditional Oriental Medicine, Karissa knew that she wanted to focus on women’s health and pediatrics. After having a beautiful, empowering home birth with her first daughter, Ilyanna, Karissa loved hearing about other women’s birthing experiences. Sadly, a good number of women described their births in disappointing ways, commenting that they didn’t feel like they had a voice, or that they had no understanding of what was happening during the process. Maybe they felt they were not given sufficient education or choices. This, among many other reasons, led to Karissa seeking out a DONA (Doulas of North America) doula training. Karissa has experience in supporting families in both hospital and home births but primarily focuses on supporting families seeking a natural birth.
Cost $1500 includes:
an initial one-hour “getting to know each other” meeting.
a second one-hour meeting to create and discuss the birth plan.
being on-call for the birth, and coming when needed.
five weeks of “on-call” status: three weeks before estimated due date and two weeks after.
up to two hours of postpartum support, including breastfeeding (if applicable).
candid photos of labor, birth and immediate postpartum period (if desired by the client).
a postpartum visit, including a nourishing Chinese Medicine meal, with contact in between the birth and the postpartum visit to check-in.
continuous support via email, text or phone, including suggestions based in Chinese Medicine theory, during the pregnancy and until your child/ren is three months of age (for an additional fee this service can be extended until your child turns one).
access to a network of other amazing, trusted care providers e.g. chiropractic care, personal trainer, etc.
backup doula in case of emergency. Y.ou will have the opportunity to connect with one of these doulas in whichever way feels more comfortable to you.
Interested in Hiring Karissa? If you have more questions or would like to schedule a time to meet Karissa, please contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the office at 847-818-0674.