Birth work has been my passion for nearly two decades now. Pregnancy is such an amazing time in a woman’s life — unlike anything else she’ll experience — and I get to be a part of that. It’s a blessing and a privilege. And it’s hard work!
“What exactly does a birth doula do?” you may ask. Here is the short answer:
I offer professional support for laboring mothers and their partners, which includes physical comfort, information and ideas (drawn from my knowledge as a childbirth educator and 16 years of experience as a birth doula), and emotional support during labor in any birth setting – hospital, birth center, or home.
FUN FACT: The modern usage of the word doula is derived from an ancient Greek word that literally means “a female slave.” It comes from the feminine form of the word that is used in the New Testament of the Bible when Paul refers to himself as a “bondservant.” [And yes, I’m here to serve you!]
In my career, I have worked with new and experienced mothers, natural birth, hydrotherapy, water birth, cesareans (planned, unplanned, emergency), induction, medicated births, vaginal birth of twins, VBAC, VBAmC, mVBAC, preterm birth, high-risk pregnancies and births, mothers over 40, families conceiving with ART and IVF, open adoption, trauma survivors (Childhood, Sexual, Birth), and more. Over 250 families have chosen me to be their doula, their “tour guide in a foreign land.” I’ve consulted with hundreds more through my community education efforts in public forums and in private conversations.
Since moving to Middle Tennessee in 2011, I’ve attended births at Vanderbilt, Baptist/St. Thomas Midtown, Centennial, Gateway/Tennova, Blanchfield, Baptist Health Madisonville (KY), NorthCrest, Summit, Hendersonville, Sumner Regional. I’ve supported births at Baby+Company Birth Center in Nashville, and will consider traveling to Infinity Birthing Center* and The Farm*. If your chosen birth place is not listed, contact me to confirm that it is within my service area. My travel radius covers locations within 1.5 hours of zip code 37035.
*An additional travel charge may apply.
NOW, THE ESSENTIALS
The most common definition of a doula is “a person trained to provide emotional, physical and educational support to the pregnant woman and her support team prenatally and during labor and birth.” The focus is on the pregnant woman yet extends to include her husband, other family members and friends who will be present during the labor and birth. I don’t take their place, I complement it. (The people closest to you are experts on you. I’m an expert on birth. Together, we combine our resources to become the perfect team for you.)
According to current research, “if you have continuous labor support (that is, someone who never leaves your side), you are statistically more likely to have better outcomes and your baby is more likely to have better outcomes!”
What does that continuous support look like? There are a variety of skills an experienced birth doula will use while helping a woman through labor. The list below highlights techniques and tools I use with every client. I call them the Doula Care Essentials.
Every client of mine has these features of birth support available to them
- Medical terminology “translation” into everyday terms
- Professional referrals throughout childbearing year (chiropractic, photography, placenta encapsulation, lactation, craniosacral therapy, massage, acupuncture, CPM and CNM midwives, obstetricians, etc)
- Insight into local birth options
- Assistance in creating a birth plan
- Phone and email support throughout pregnancy
- On-call availability from 38-42 weeks
- Backup doula provided if needed
LABOR AND BIRTH
- Unlimited hours of support (flat fee for support, no overtime costs)
- Assistance by phone during pre-labor and early labor
- Continuous hands-on support at home and/or hospital (beginning in active labor)
- Partner support & instruction (including dad, friends, other family members)
- Maintaining a positive birthing environment
- Non-pharmacological comfort measures
- Explanation of risks/benefits of common interventions
- Calming touch and massage
- Reminders of birthing positions
- Self-advocacy reinforcement
- Emotional encouragement
- Access to labor tools such as birth ball and rebozo
- Relaxation guidance
- Holistic pain relief techniques such as acupressure
- Availability of aromatherapy tools
- 2 hours support immediately after birth
- Assistance with initial breastfeeding
- Review and processing of your birth experience
- Birth notes / timeline when possible
- Unlimited text, email, and phone support for 1 month after your birth
- Peanut ball positioning for labor
- Kaya birthing stool
- Optimal Fetal Positioning tips
- Birth pool setup for home birth
- Christian spiritual support as desired
PRICING FOR BIRTH DOULA SUPPORT
My services are designed to meet the full range of needs of expecting families. I detail my birth doula pricing here to allow you to make an informed decision about my services, in the same way that I intend to help you make informed choices about your birth care. A complimentary 30-minute consultation is available to all potential clients as an opportunity for us to interview each other and determine the best avenue for meeting your labor and birth desires. If you would like more information about payment plans and possible barter options, please do not hesitate to ask.
Sliding Scale fee: $800-$1600 investment
Doula work has been my calling since the late 1990’s! Having supported 250+ families, I’m one of the most experienced birth doulas in Middle TN. In light of my experience and training, $1600 is an appropriate fee within the current Greater Nashville market for birth doula services; however, I offer a sliding scale to everyone. This allows you to find the perfect price point between my value and your ability to pay.
My $800-$1600 sliding scale is a guideline of where I value my services and experience. My clients choose the rate that works best for their family. I don’t require any proof of income or explanation from my clients regarding the amount. I simply ask that you choose an amount that is a fair balance between how you value my support and what you are able to pay.
Payment Schedule: 50% as deposit, 50% by 36 weeks. Custom payment plans available upon request.
- WHAT’S INCLUDED:
- Doula Care Essentials (click for details)
- 1 birth planning consultation via Skype/phone (2 hours)
- 1 prenatal visit in your home personalized to your needs (3 hours)
- 1 additional in home visit may be added upon request
- Support during labor, birth and early postpartum
- 1 postpartum visit to review your birth and check in on your adjustment (2 hours)
THE FINE PRINT
A non-refundable retainer/deposit of $250 secures your due date on my calendar; any unpaid balance is due at 36 weeks. There is no change in my fee if your labor is long. I accept 4 clients per month on average. If your month is already full, we may be able to make special arrangements or I can refer you to one of my wonderful colleagues/back-ups.
READY TO HIRE ME?
Proceed to the Store to make your payment online. You’ll be provided with links to download my contract and intake forms via email after your transaction is completed.
NEXT, MY CALENDAR AND MY BIRTH DOULA FEES
- Now that you know the essentials of what I provide as a birth doula, take a peek at my calendar to see if I’m open for your birth month. (I take up to 4 clients per month.)
- You may also want to visit my reviews page to hear what past clients have to say about my birth doula work. Or do a Google search for “Heidi Duncan Doula” to find more. (There are 23 on my Google profile alone.)
- My FAQ page addresses the most common doula interview questions.
- By then you should be ready to request a free consultation where we can meet in person and discuss working together.
My availability calendar is maintained via DoulaMatch.net; however, always confirm with me before assuming that I’m booked for your due date.