Postpartum Doula Support

postpartum doula support

The immediate postpartum period is arguably one of the most difficult adjustment periods of parenthood. Between the lack of sleep and the new tiny human(s) in your life that need constant care, the first few weeks or months after birth can be utterly exhausting; not to mention all of the hormone changes that frequently cause discomfort and difficulty for the person who gave birth. All of that is what makes postpartum doula support so valuable.

What does postpartum doula support look like?

  • Postpartum doula support includes, but is not limited to: infant care, sibling care, infant feeding support, postpartum recovery support, errands, light housekeeping (e.g., laundry, washing bottles, loading dishwasher, vacuuming), and meal preparation.
  • Postpartum doulas also provide you a compassionate listening ear to talk about how you and your family are doing as you adjust to your new life with your newest family member.
  • Also, postpartum doulas are able to provide you with limitless resources and referrals to help you navigate your postpartum period.
  • Support can be provided during daytime hours or overnight to allow you and your family to catch up on valuable rest. It can also be provided through a live-in situation, as requested.

What training do postpartum doulas receive?

Like birth doulas, postpartum doulas are not actually state or federally regulated, so a specific training isn’t required in order for someone to become a postpartum doula. There are many trainings and certifications available, however, to those who do choose to participate in them.

At Utah Valley Doulas, all of our doulas are required to be professionally trained and certified because we strongly believe that such an intimate and important work should be properly trained for. Our doulas are also required to obtain and maintain current CPR and First Aid certification.

How much does postpartum doula support cost?

Just as training and certification of postpartum doulas varies, so does the cost to hire a postpartum doula. Postpartum doula support is typically paid for by the hour, though some doulas do offer package pricing. At Utah Valley Doulas, the price for postpartum doula support ranges anywhere from $28-$38 per hour, depending on the type of support you would like and how many hours of support that you would like to invest in.

Like with birth doula support, postpartum doula care can typically be paid for with an HSA or FSA if that’s something that you have. It can also be very helpful to ask for contributions to your postpartum doula fund from friends and family in lieu or in addition to those typical baby shower gifts.

If you or your partner is pregnant and you are anxious about what to expect during the postpartum period, or if you are already in the postpartum period and could really use some support, consider hiring a postpartum doula to help you get the absolute best start to your new life with your little one(s)!

Benefits of Water Birth

water birth

It has been said that water is the midwife’s epidural. That is because when someone in labor is submerged in a tub of water, they can sometimes feel a great decrease in the discomfort they are feeling. This is only one of the many benefits of water birth.

What is a water birth?

A water birth is when a baby is born under water. This usually occurs as a result of the mother already laboring in water and pushing the baby out while remaining in the water. Many might have a hard time wrapping their minds around the idea of the baby coming out underwater, but it is important to remember that the baby has lived inside a bag of water for 9 months. As long as the baby hasn’t taken their first breath yet, it is perfectly fine for the baby to be born underwater.

What are the benefits of water birth?

A water birth can be very beneficial to both mom and baby for the following reasons:

  • Water birth can reduce discomfort from contractions, as mentioned previously
  • It can reduce the risk of tearing
  • It can decrease labor duration
  • It can allow the laboring person’s body to rest more successfully between contractions
  • It can provide or a more gentle transition out for the womb for the baby

What precautions should be taken for a safe water birth?

While water birth is considered a safe option for those with low-risk pregnancies, there are precautions to be taken in order to ensure an extra level of safety. Those precautions include:

  • Making sure the water is kept right at or close to 99 degrees, since that is the normal temperature of a person and what the baby is used to. Once the baby is born, it is important to make sure the the baby is not too cold or too warm.
  • Being aware of the cord length when bringing baby out of the water and up to the mother’s chest, so as not to damage the cord.
  • Making sure the baby has not taken their first breath before entering the water. Situations in which this would be a concern would be if the water is shallow and the mother is squatting right above or only slightly in the water.
  • Baby should be brought out of the water face down, when possible, to allow for fluid to drain from the nose and mouth.
  • Delivering the placenta out of the water, when possible, so that blood loss can be better gauged.

Where do water births take place?

Many hospitals here in the U.S. do not allow complete water birth, but they will allow patients to labor in the water. They will require that the patient gets out of the water prior to pushing in order to have the baby be born on “dry land”. Many of the benefits of water birth can still be achieved through this practice, but those who would like to birth their baby in the water may need to seek out a freestanding birth center or choose to have their baby at home.

How Much Does a Doula Cost?

doula cost

How much does a doula cost in Utah? In Utah County and Salt Lake County, you’ll find that the cost of a birth doula can range anywhere from $900-$2000. The average cost of a birth doula in this area is around $1200. In fact, that is the amount you can expect to pay for the birth doula package with Utah Valley Doulas.

What is included in the price of a birth doula? Typically, a birth doula will include 1 to 2 prenatal visits, 24/7 email/phone support during pregnancy, in-person labor and birth support, and a postpartum visit in the total price of their package. Package inclusions do vary by doula, of course, and some doulas will also offer add-on services.

Is the price of a doula worth it? We, of course, will say that a birth doula is worth their weight in gold. But ultimately, what will help you determine if a doula is worth their cost is what the unconditional, unbiased support of a doula will be worth to you as you go through your pregnancy and birth experience.

What can a doula offer me that my partner cannot? A doula works for you. You hire and pay a doula to be there to provide you the kind of support that you need in any given moment. They are also there to compliment, not replace, the support that your partner is able to offer you. A doula is not as emotionally attached to you or your baby as your partner is, so it is easier for a doula to be clear-minded and objective during your pregnancy and birth.

If I already have a midwife, do I really need a doula? Doulas and midwives actually have very different roles throughout the pregnancy and in the birth space. A midwife is there to provide medical care to you and to make sure that you and the baby are physically safe. A doula, on the other hand, is there to provide to you emotional, informational, and physical support as you carry and birth your baby(ies). A doula does not provide any medical care. When you combine the care of a midwife with that of a doula, you create the dream team for your birth.

Do doulas offer payment plans? Most doulas do offer very flexible payment plans. We all want you to be able to receive the support of a doula if you would like to have it, and we are almost always willing to work with you on a payment plan. All you have to do is ask!

If you have any additional questions about what to expect from doula care and whether or not a birth doula is worth the cost, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Breastfeeding Challenges

infant breastfeeding

Breastfeeding, while seemingly normal and natural, can certainly come with some challenges. Wouldn’t it be nice if people talked more about the struggles associated with nursing their baby instead of painting a picture of ease and comfort?

The most difficult parts of breastfeeding can be getting a successful latch, cluster feeding, finding a comfortable position, or a plethora of other things that come along with this new task. But when you add the lack of sleep that comes with a newborn, it turns a beautiful dream into a breastfeeding nightmare.

As Certified Postpartum and Infant Care Doulas, we are equipped with the training and experience to help troubleshoot difficulties that arise during early breastfeeding. When hiring postpartum support, you can expect the expertise of a seasoned doula who will listen and compassionately assist you in relieving any discomfort.

The top four breastfeeding challenges that we hear most about are:

#1: Sore Nipples

Sore nipples are often seen as a “normal” and expected side-effect of early breastfeeding. The problem, though, is that the sometimes excruciating pain that can come from these sore nipples can cause nursing that new little baby to feel like an unbearable task.

Sore nipples can be healed over time through the use of lanolin creams and even by expressing breastmilk and allowing it to dry on the area. If sore nipples persist after a couple of weeks of nursing, however, it could be a sign of an improper latch or another issue that might need attention.

#2: Shallow Latch

When the baby comes to the breast, it is intended for him or her to open their mouth wide in order to take in as much of the nipple and areola as possible. The deeper the latch, the better. A shallow latch is known to cause frustration for the baby and severe pain for the mother. When baby has a shallow latch, the mother can break the seal of the baby’s mouth against the breast using her finger, which will relieve the discomfort and allow mother and baby to try again for a deeper latch.

#3: Uncomfortable positioning

The best position for feeding your infant is the position that feels most comfortable to you. Pulling your shoulders up and holding your arm in an awkward way can cause additional pain and stress and does not assist in a successful feeding session. Every person is different, and it is best to try several positions to find what feels right for you.

#4: Cluster Feeding

We can’t even count the number of clients who contact us with questions like, “Why does my baby ALWAYS want to eat?” or “How can I make sure my baby is getting enough milk because he/she seems to want to nurse every 20 minutes?” More often than not, these are signs from baby that they are cluster feeding, which is when your baby wants lots of short feeds over a few hours.

It can be very difficult for both mom and baby to deal with cluster feeding because it can cause feeds to feel like a constant, never-ending chore. When clients reach out with questions about this type of feeding pattern, though, we are always there to reassure them that it is very normal for babies to cluster feed, and it is usually a relatively short-lived routine.

This definitely is not an all-inclusive list of breastfeeding challenges, and if we ever find that there is a problem that needs additional expertise to navigate, then we are always happy to refer clients to some wonderful IBCLCs or lactation consultants.

In-Home Placenta Encapsulation

In-Home Placenta Encapsulation

You’re expecting the birth of your baby (or babies) in the coming months or weeks and you’ve been exploring the option of placenta encapsulation. After hours of research and reading about the experiences of others who have chosen to do this, you’re now sure that you want to have your placenta encapsulated. You know that the next step is finding someone who can encapsulate it for you. You discover in your search that the majority of placenta encapsulation specialists will pick up and drop off your placenta to you. That sounds really convenient. The idea of not having to mess with the placenta at all and just handing it off to someone else to take care of actually sounds really nice. But then, as you continue discovering different placenta encapsulation specialists in your area, you find that some will actually perform in-home placenta encapsulation.

Your first reaction: Ew. Why would I want the placenta to be brought to and handled in MY home? In-home placenta encapsulation sounds messy.

You’re not the first one nor will you be the last one to react this way. When we found out that the organization that we wanted our placenta specialists to certify with required placenta specialists to encapsulate in the client’s home, we were admittedly a little leery. Our initial concerns were, of course, the client’s reaction to this idea, as well as the inconvenience it might cause our placenta specialists. So, before we ever signed up for the certification, we wanted to learn the reasons behind this requirement.

Ironically, though, the more we learned about the placenta encapsulation process, the more we could never imagine doing it anywhere other than in the client’s own home.

Let us tell you why.

Reason 1: Through in-home placenta encapsulation, your placenta never leaves your possession.

While we can never imagine any placenta specialist purposefully interchanging or “mixing up” placentas, there is a lot of comfort that comes from knowing with a certainty that your placenta has never been out of your possession, and therefore, your placenta capsules are without a doubt made from your own placenta.

Reason 2: You are able to be sure that the highest sanitation and safety standards are being upheld throughout the entire encapsulation process.

In order for placenta capsules to be safe to consume, proper sanitation, cleanliness, and safety methods must be utilized throughout the process, and having this be done within your own home allows you to be sure that they have been.

Reason 3: Your placenta’s exposure to outside bacteria will be substantially minimized.

Just like with anything else, the higher the number of different locations in which the placenta is stored, transported, or processed will inevitably cause an increase of opportunities for foreign bacteria to be introduced into the placenta. By cutting out the middle man and keeping the placenta only with you, the client, those opportunities will be decreased immensely.

Reason 4: You will have a certified postpartum doula in your home for 3-4 hours total throughout the encapsulation process.

At Utah Valley Doulas, our placenta specialists are also certified postpartum doulas. This means that you will have access to the doula’s knowledge bank and support while they are in your home.

Reason 5: Your kitchen will be at its cleanest ever when the encapsulation process is complete.

The placenta specialist who comes to your home to complete the encapsulation will be sure to leave the space they used during the process cleaner than they found it. This can be an especially nice benefit when you are newly postpartum and the last thing on your mind is cleaning your kitchen!

At Utah Valley Doulas, we take pride in the fact that our clients’ safety and best interests always come first. That’s why we will never encapsulate a placenta in any location other than the home of the person who that placenta belongs to. If you are in the Salt Lake County or Utah County areas and would like to talk more about our placenta encapsulation services, please don’t hesitate to reach out today.