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Pregnancy and childbirth is such a joyous moment and the excitement that is felt having a new family member coming is palpable. It can also be accompanied by a roller coaster of emotions, especially for new parents. Physical and emotional efforts are often required to have a positive and successful pregnancy and delivery. That is why many turn to support from doulas.
Before getting into the scope of what doulas really do and why they are very significant, we got an opportunity to talk with Emily Pelton and Camille Nyman, co-owners of Doulas of Baltimore. Founded by Emily in 2014 after over 15 years working as a doula, the agency expanded in 2018 and Camille, together with Debbie Bailey, became co-owners and partners with Emily. Since then, they continue to be committed to provide knowledge and support to families in the Baltimore area.
So what does a doula really do? They provide pregnancy support. ‘’People can hire us and we support them with information, answering questions and providing emotional support through their entire pregnancy.’’ Camille said. Doulas of Baltimore are offering multiple services to ensure that their clients get the birth experience that they desire which includes the following:
Pregnancy and Birth Doula Support. This includes prenatal meetings to discuss the client’s desired birth preferences. ‘’We do an in-home prenatal with them at around 35 weeks to help them answer any last-minute questions, and solidify any birth preferences,’’ Camille said. Emily also said that these supports are important to reduce the anxiety felt by the clients, and to help them become well-prepared for what to expect. The benefit to their clients is that they become well-informed, confident, and are able to determine what level of concern they should have before deciding to call the doctor.
They also accompany their clients during the entire birth process to provide them emotional support as well as physical comfort measures, which can include massage and acupressure, and suggestions and assistance with position changes. They are on call 24/7.
Newborn Care and Postpartum Support. Some people can hire them for support through birth and there are those who hire them as a postpartum doula or as a newborn care specialist. ’We go into the home with the family and help ease the transition of having a new family member, and fill in the gaps of the household that needs to be taken care of, so they can be thriving during that period of time.” This includes informational and emotional support where they help the clients feel assured of what they are doing with the baby, from holding the baby, to feeding them, or anything else that comes up day to day.
They also help assist the family to make sure that the whole family, and not just the baby, is well taken care of. For example, Emily said that they even help in supporting the siblings. ‘’We do either an overnight or we go to evening shifts, so that after daycare or when older siblings are at home, we can make sure that everybody's needs in the family are taken care of."
Doulas of Baltimore are composed of professional doulas who help you get the support you need. All their doulas are highly trained and have a thorough understanding of the hands-on techniques which are necessary for childbirth and newborn care..
For Camille, ‘’We have worked really long and hard to develop a vetting process for the people we have on our team, for the continuing education and mentorship, and for the opportunities for growth within our team. This is important because the doula industry is not a regulated industry and this provides the clients credible and reliable doulas to enhance their birth experience. For example, their most experienced doula, Emily, who started supporting families since 2002, has helped thousands of families and her experiences are priceless especially in mentoring others. Also, due to the value of their services, and word of mouth from their clients to their clients' own doctors, obstetricians are referring their patients to them for support. ‘’We're one of the only groups of doulas who consistently get a large portion of our referrals from obstetricians. We are evidence-based, we won't interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, and that's our structure", she added.
Aside from having experienced and highly trained doulas, what makes them stand out is that they’re a supported agency. Your needs are taken care of and you get back up from a group for support.‘’ We take a very unbiased, non-judgemental approach-we want to help you prepare for what you want and help you handle the way your baby comes to you. We want the clients to find their own way to do this with having the feeling of being supported along the way’’, Emily said.
As an owner Emily shared the things she enjoys doing in being a doula. “I love supporting my doulas and my team and mentoring. I also was a doula trainer for a while and I love that aspect to be able to reach even more families." I may not be doing client work anymore after 16 years of being on call, but I love that I was able to support more people.‘’ Camille shared that she likes the client’s side of things. ‘’I love teaching...so I really love families coming in and being able to answer their questions and concerns, and help the weight be lifted from them so they feel more confident to do parenting.’’
Emily, Camille and Debbie have enjoyed working with each other ever since they decided to join hands. This has made it possible for them to support not just the clients, but also other doulas in the community by conducting classes and helping them develop so they get better at their craft. With the success of Doulas of Baltimore, they want to continue to expand their team and support more families in Baltimore.
For more information about Doulas of Baltimore, you can visit their website at https://www.doulasofbaltimore.com
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