FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FAQs about Doula Support

What exactly is a Doula?

A Doula is a professionally trained labor assistant. During your pregnancy I provide you with emotional and informational support. During labor and birth the support is in physical comfort measures and helping you and your partner emotionally. Once your baby arrives I will help you with bonding and breastfeeding if that is your desire. My goal it to help the entire family transition smoothly through pregnancy, birth and new motherhood.

Is a Doula the same as a Midwife?

No, a Doula and a Midwife are not the same.  

A Midwife’s main priority at your birth is to make sure that mom and baby are healthy. She is there to help deliver the baby and provide any medical care that you or your baby might need. Midwives are also trained to provide support but that is not the main priority.  A Doula’s main priority is to make sure that you and your partner’s needs are met.  I can offer physical comfort measures and emotional support.  My main focus is to help  you in the ways that you need throughout your entire experience.  As a Doula, I do not offer medical care.

Why do I need a doula if my husband/partner will be with me? Isn’t that why they are there?

Your husband or partner is a very important part of your birth experience.  If your husband/partner wants to be hands on I can show them exactly how to help.  If your husband/partner does not remember everything from your childbirth classes I can help explain things to them.  Doulas and your husband/partner make a great team because Doulas know birth and your partner knows you.  That is a winning combination!

What kind of support does a Doula offer my husband or partner?

Your husband or partner needs support too!  Labor and birth can be very overwhelming to watch.  Your partner might need to take a break to use the restroom or even just get out of the room to take a walk or grab something to eat.  Your husband/partner can do this without feeling guilty because you will not be left alone.  I can provide your husband/partner with gentle reminders of how they can best help you so they don’t have to remember everything on their own.

Why won't my Nurse do the same things as a Doula?

Nurses are a wonderful part of your team.  They often will support you the best way that they can.  The problem is that your nurse is also busy caring for other patients at the same time.  Her shift will come to an end and she will go home even if your baby has not yet been born.  She is there to monitor things and keep your doctor informed of how things are progressing.  As your Doula, I will stay with you until after the birth and you and your new baby are settled and doing well. 

I’m planning on an epidural. Do you still support that type of birth?

Absolutely!  I am there to support whatever you decide is your ideal birth.  Moms that choose to have an epidural still need emotional support.  I can also be there to help you change positions to keep your labor progressing and provide support when it is time to start pushing.  I am also there to help with bonding and breastfeeding during the golden hour.

I am planning on a cesarean birth. Can a Doula help with that too?

Yes! If you are planning a cesarean birth I can still be your Doula. A cesarean birth requires emotional support just the same as a vaginal birth. I can help you to prepare for the day and answer your questions. With permission from your medical providers I may even be able to accompany you and your partner into the OR. If I can not be in the OR with you, I can join you soon after while your partner heads to the nursery with the baby. Breastfeeding can be a challenge after a cesarean birth so I will be able to show you some ways to do that more comfortably.

Where are you located?

Butterfly Birth Services is located in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.  

My service area includes Schuylkill, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Luzerne and Dauphin Counties.  If you are unsure about being in my service area please contact me.

FAQs about Childbirth Classes

When should I start my childbirth class?

You should begin the comprehensive series around the 25th week of your pregnancy. The home and hospital class series should be started around the 20-30th week of pregnancy. Any one day workshops should be taken no later than the 36th week of pregnancy. A private or hybrid style class is best of you are needing to finish a series a little bit quicker. Please contact me to discuss the specifics of your situation. 

Why is the comprehensive class series so long?

The comprehensive class covers so much more than just birth. This class will teach you how to keep your pregnancy healthy and low risk through nutrition and exercises that focus on your specific needs during pregnancy. We also cover testing and procedures that happen during the last few weeks of your pregnancy and will have an impact on how your birth may unfold. If you are planning a VBAC or a natural birth this is the information you will need to make the best possible decisions for your birth. Relaxation is also a learned skill and waiting until labor begins is not the time you want to figure that out. We work on this skill every week in class.

Who should attend classes with me?

You should plan to have your main support person attend classes with you. If that is your husband, partner, mother or best friend they should plan to attend with you. Together you both will have the information needed to make informed decisions and your partner will have learned comfort measures to help you throughout labor. 

I already have a doula, do I really need a class too?

Yes! You absolutely need a class. Your doula is a wonderful addition to your birth team but she is not the decision maker. You need all the information to be an active participant in your birth and be able to make make truly informed decisions for the best possible outcome. Students of mine that have taken a class and had a doula attend their birth have had the highest satisfaction in their birth experiences. When you work with me by taking a class and having me as your doula you can be assured that you will be properly prepared and supported through any situation. 

Can I just take the free/low cost class that my hospital offers?

Well you can but if you want to be sure that your are taking an evidence based class that puts your needs as a top priority then you will want an independent class. If learning how to be a good patient is what you want then a free class at the hospital might be right for you. If you want more than that you need a class that gives you more. I do not work for the hospital so I am not bound by their policies and have the ability to give you truly unbiased information. If you don’t know your options, you don’t have options.

I’m planning on an epidural so do I really need a class?

I suggest even if you are planning for a medicated birth to be prepared for anything. You will most likely have to labor for sometime before an epidural is a possibility. A fast labor might even mean there is no time. I have even see times when the epidural in not effective. By taking a class you can know that you are heading into birth calm, confident and with the knowledge and skills to cope until you are able to get that epidural!

What is a hybrid class style?

A hybrid style class offers the convenience of watching professionally filmed and edited classes, with a closed caption option from the comfort of your home at a time that works for you.The classes are taught by Donna Ryan, the founder of Birth Boot Camp and Hailie Wolfe. Once a week we will meet on zoom to discuss the class session you have watched and I will answer any questions you have and go over any demonstrations I would have done in a live, in person class. Before your class series begins I will mail you a beautiful workbook that compliments your chosen class and any extra goodies we will need for our weekly zoom chats. This class option is perfect if we do not live close or if you need a customized class schedule that does not work in a group class. Contact me for current hybrid class pricing and to set one up.

I want to take an in person class, where do you teach classes?

All classes are currently being taught privately in the comfort of you home. If this is not an option then a hybrid class can be arranged. When group classes are available again they are taught in Plains, Pa and Ringtown, Pa. Please contact me for a more specific location. I am also open to teaching a group class in your home if you have another couple or two that would be interested in taking class together.

FAQs about Placenta Encapsulation

Is it safe to consume my placenta? Isn't it a filter full of toxins and waste?

Placenta consumption is safe. Your placenta is not a filter organ. It works in a way that transfers waste away from your baby and passes it on so that the mother’s organs can filter and remove any waste or toxins. No waste or toxic substances are stored in the placenta unless you smoke cigarettes. 

I don't eat meat, Can I still consume my placenta?

Many vegetarians and vegans alike choose to consume their placenta. While the placenta may be considered a meat, no one has been killed or harmed in order for you consume it. Your placenta can be placed into gelatin free capsules to maintain your vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. 

What do I do with my placenta after giving birth?

Your placenta will need to be placed into a gallon size ziptop bag or container and placed into the refrigerator or into a cooler with ice. If it will be a few hours before pick up you may need to refresh the ice to keep the placenta cool. 

Do I or my partner have to touch my placenta?

If you are having your baby at home your midwife, her assistant or your doula will most likely be happy to pack it up safely for you. If you are having your baby at the hospital your nurse should will help you get it all packed up. You or your partner may have to refresh the ice in the cooler every few hours until it is picked up. 

What are the benefits to consuming my placenta?

While we do not have a ton of scientific studies on the benefits of placenta consumption, many mothers report positive experiences. The things they report most often are faster recovery, less postpartum bleeding, increased milk supply, mood regulation and increased energy. 

What is in the placenta that makes it so great for me?

Your placenta contains many vitamins, minerals and hormones that all work together to create a unique supplement to help you through this transitional time of life. Instead of having these and many other beneficial nutrients rapidly leave your system, you can naturally get your hormones back on track. 

Oxytocin helps facilitate bonding between mother and baby. It is released in high levels when we feel happy and loved like during a hug or kiss. It is also released during labor to stimulate contractions. This is beneficial during the postpartum period to help the uterus return to normal size and lessen any bleeding. Oxytocin can also help with pain relief. It also facilitates in the let down of breast milk while nursing your baby. 

Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH) is found in the highest concentrations in your placenta. Once you have given birth this stress relieving hormone drops dramatically. 

Prolactin and Human Placental Lactogen (hPL) are hormones that stimulate milk production and mammary gland function. 

 

Is there anything that would make my placenta unsafe to consume?

There are a few situations that would make your placenta unfit for consumption. The main ones are infection in the placenta, mother or baby at birth, or if your placenta has become contaminated. In the event that your placenta is sent to pathology for any reason it is no longer safe to consume. While your placenta is out of your possession there is no way to be certain that it will not be contaminated or kept at the proper temperature. You can request that only a small piece be sent to pathology and the rest pack up for you. If it turns out to be infected then we can not encapsulate. We may still be able to make keepsake prints. 

If you are a cigarette smoker it is not safe to consume your placenta. Smoking causes high levels of cadmium, a heavy metal to build up and can be toxic. 

I am Group Beta Strep positive, can I still encapsulate my placenta?

It is still safe to consume your placenta even if you test positive for GBS. If this is the situation your placenta will be steamed before it is dehydrated to kill any bacteria that may be present. 

I still have some questions, can we chat?

Absolutely! I would love to chat with you. Message me with your questions and we can set up a time to talk over the phone or set up a zoom call. If that isn’t your thing we can text or email. I want every client served to have all the information they need to make the very best decisions for their own unique experiences. All consultations are no pressure and complimentary. 

Childbirth classes and Doula Services in Northeast Pa and The Susquehanna Valley

Service area for home, hospital and birth center births in the following counties: Schuylkill, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Luzerne and Dauphin. Service area includes but is not limited to, Pottsville, Danville, Bloomsburg, Lewisburg, Hazelton, Wilkes Barre, Hershey and Harrisburg Pennsylvania.   Please contact me if you are unsure about the service area.

Contact Heather

570-543-BABY(2229)

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