What is a Doula (Childbirth Assistant)?
A Birth Assistant …
*offers practical suggestions or comfort, pain management, and to enhance the progress of labor,
*helps ease the transition to the hospital, ensuring continuity of care through changing nursing shifts and alternating physician or midwife schedules,
*serves as a liaison between the laboring couple and their medical care providers to facilitate communication and decision making,
*meets with expectant couples during pregnancy to understand their plans for the birth and to offer resources and information,
*is a woman who understands and trusts the process of birth, and who has experience and training in providing labor support,
*encourages and supports the informed choices of her clients and serves women giving birth in a variety of settings,
*works with family to inspire confidence in a woman’s ability to give birth in her own best way.
The following doulas have been trained through Southwest Technical College, under the instruction of Coral Slavin. They have met all of the requirement for certification through Well-Rounded Maternity Services.
Gwen became interested in pregnancy and birth during her high school years when her own registered nurse mother taught childbirth education in the basement of her home and went on to “doula” a few young, unwed friends. After completing her college undergrad, Gwen was privileged to attend medical school for 2 years, where she graduated with a B.S. degree in medical illustration (surgical illustration and photography).
Together with her high school sweetheart husband, they have been blessed to birth and raise 8 healthy children: 5 delightful daughters and 3 spunky sons in a Christian home education environment.
Gwen is a DONA Southwest Technical College trained and Well-Rounded Maternity certified doula who is honored to compassionately serve couples in the northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin areas, whether home, birth center, or hospital birth.
“It is my great privilege and tremendous blessing to get to know, educate and serve so many sweet couples at this most life changing event in their lives. It is my desire that each couple feel empowered with the tools needed to attain the birth they want. After ensuring a healthy mom and baby, the goal I strive for with my clients is a positive birth experience, no matter how each birth unfolds!”
Excerpts from client testimonials found on DoulaMatch:
Gwen went ABOVE and BEYOND to help us experience the birth we desired. We can’t thank her enough for her presence with us during one of the most sacred moments in life! –Leslie
Gwen’s presence is a precious part of the birth of my 3rd child. I am forever grateful that she was with us. To say that I would recommend her is an understatement as I believe any family would be extremely blessed to have her with them as they welcome their child into the world. –Amanda
I don’t know how we would have done it without her clam, strong, and kind guidance. The labor and delivery nurse even commented that Gwen was the best doula she had worked with. I would highly recommend Gwen to anyone considering a doula. -Lisa
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.”
I, Stacy Petersheim, Certified Doula, am the mother of 8 children, 3 who are married and giving birth to my first grandchildren. I have been a doula since I was 16 and observed my brother‘s birth. Ever since then I knew I wanted to help women through this amazing process. I had a doula for my own birthing experiences and was so thankful for the support and encouragement. I have attended over 50 births in all settings; the hospital, the birth center, and the home. It is my goal to be sensitive to both my client’s needs, providing comfort measures and guidance, as well as her husbands wishes as they make the childbirth journey together.
Amanda is a (mostly) stay-at-home mom and has been attending births since 2013. When not with her children, she spends her time teaching childbirth education, attending births and operating an essential oil business from home. She has been married since 2008, has had 3 unmedicated births in a hospital, and has breastfed all of her children past age 1.
“I believe that a woman is most satisfied with her birth experience if she feels unwavering support during labor and delivery. As a doula, I feel that the support I provide helps the woman make informed choices during the process as well as promote positive feelings about the birth experience even if things went differently that she had hoped.
My Christian faith is a defining part of who I am. When working with other Christians, I love being able to pray together and recite scripture passages to offer strength when faced with the challenges of childbirth.
I consider it an honor to be invited to attend the labor & delivery of a woman and support her as she embarks on this sacred moment in her life.”
Doula Woman is always open: women of all lifestyles, histories, belief-systems and habits are welcome. Bring your issues. If you have a partner that is beautiful, but I never replace him or her.
I am seasoned, spunky and love being a doula! As a bridge to your care-provider I bring insight from many years working closely with doctors and nurses in cardiology.
Doula Woman philosophy: This is your body, your pregnancy, and your birth. You keep your power trusting your primal self, your instincts and self-love. Doula Woman offers relaxation, mantras, labor support techniques, post-partum doulas, Reiki, Spinning Babies, yoga, acupressure, oils and more. Your pregnancy and birth are about what is right for you
My birth doula experience so far: fast labor, natural childbirth (including in-hospital), epidurals, pain meds, induction, home labors, premature birth, C-section, high risk moms, very long labors, births with both intensive and minimal partner support.
On a personal note I have much experience working the system on behalf of family members.
Other trainings/certifications: Dona trained birth doula, hypno-doula certified (Hypnobabies), breast-feeding support, Spinning Babies trained, childbirth educator and post-partum doula trained ICEA, CPR, PNYI, Reiki level II, RDMS (cardiac ultrasound tech).
It is a deep honor to be your doula. Call or email for a free consult. Peace, from Martha at Doula Woman.
In addition to the following I have paper references for you including references from nurses.
I knew I wanted to have a natural birth long before seeking a doula. My sister gave birth about three months before I was due, and she said she couldn’t have done it without the support of her midwife. I had been planning on having a hospital birth with an OB I really trusted, but I knew I would need a little more support if I wanted a medication-free birth. So I started looking for a doula and I just knew Martha was the one when I met her. She is warm, funny, incredibly encouraging and makes you feel very comfortable from the beginning. During the labor process, she provided constant encouragement which is something that is so needed in those moments. I had the birth that I wanted because Martha was by my side.
Martha came to the rescue when we had trouble with signing up with a doula with another company. She was available last minute and was a tremendous help. Since she had not met me until I was in labor, Martha was very understanding and helpful through my entire labor. She got to know me in an efficient manner, kindly asking me questions though contractions. She had a lot of ideas in terms of birthing positions and other things to be more comfortable through contractions. Martha followed up with me soon after having our daughter and even came to my house to visit with me so I didn’t have to leave. She is very accommodating and will listen to your wishes! Very kind individual and would recommend her to anyone!
Martha was my doula for the births of my two children. She was a great support in the weeks leading up to my first birth, giving me an idea of what to expect. When my water broke in the middle of the night, she came over and we walked around the backyard through the early contractions. When the going got tough, the main thing I remember is her calm voice reminding me that I wasn’t having a contraction in my shoulders, helping me relax. My husband also really appreciated having her there, too - and the next day my OB/GYN commented on what a great doula I had.