Judy Shaw – Birth Doula
Educating, empowering, and comforting you through your birth.
Serving families in the central Kansas area.
What does a doula do?
A doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. The doula’s purpose is to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience. Doulas don’t replace midwives or doctors or husbands, but instead act as a source of knowledge, energy, and emotional support during throughout the entire birth process.
Numerous studies have documented the benefits of having a doula present during labor. A recent Cochrane Review, Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth, showed a very high number of positive birth outcomes when a doula was present. With the support of a doula, women were less likely to have pain-relief medications administered and less likely to have a cesarean birth. Women also reported having a more positive childbirth experience.
Most often the term doula refers to the birth doula, or labor support companion. However, there are also antepartum doulas and postpartum doulas. Most of the following information relates to the labor doula. Doulas can also be referred to as labor companions, labor support specialists, labor support professionals, birth assistants, or labor assistants.
Most doula-client relationships begin a few months before the baby is due. During this period, they develop a relationship in which the mother feels free to ask questions, express her fears and concerns, and take an active role in creating a birth plan.
Most doulas make themselves available to the mother by phone in order to respond to her questions or address any concerns that might arise during the course of the pregnancy. Doulas do not provide any type of medical care. However, they are knowledgeable in many medical aspects of labor and delivery.
As such, they can help their clients gain a better understanding of the procedures and possible complications in late pregnancy or delivery.
During delivery, doulas are in constant and close proximity to the mother. They have the ability to provide comfort with pain-relief techniques including breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, massage, and laboring positions. Doulas also encourage participation from the partner and offer reassurance.
A doula acts as an advocate for the mother, encouraging and helping her fulfill specific desires she might have for her birth. The goal of a doula is to help the mother experience a positive and safe birth, whether an un-medicated birth or a cesarean.
After the birth, many labor doulas will spend time helping mothers begin the breastfeeding process and encouraging bonding between the new baby and other family members.
“She timed contractions, gave helpful ideas, got me food, spoke uplifting words, wrote down the events of the evening so I would have records to look back on, and was just there offering her presence and help. When things got rough and hours and hours went by, she was still there, holding my hand.”
“She was our doula for our 2nd birth. She demonstrated great expertise throughout. However her greatest gift to us was her steady personality that lent it’s strength when we needed it most. Highly recommend.“
“Judy was the doula for my son’s birth and it was a huge help to both my wife and I. Her constant support and experience was reassuring and she knew just what my wife needed in order to feel confident throughout the whole thing.
Birth Doula Service
I will accompany you through the birth process to provide encouragement and support both emotionally and physically. I will work hard to help you have the birth experience you desire.
Postpartum Doula Service
As a postpartum doula, I will provide care during the first days or weeks after childbirth. I’ll do all sorts of things to help ease your transition to new parenthood.
Cost: $20 per hour
Bereavement Doula Service
I will work with you during any birth, in any trimester, and in any outcome. I will support you physically and emotionally in this traumatic time and will always honor your loss.
Cost: no charge
Hello! I’m Judy and I am a birth, bereavement, postpartum, and adoption doula serving mothers in central Kansas.
Every doula has a personal story about why they have a desire to support women and help them have the best birth experience possible. My own story begins with my own birth experiences with my six children. As I think back, I know without a doubt that having a doula would have changed things immensely.
A doula would have gotten me out of bed, had me walk, and change positions regularly.
A doula would have been there to give my husband much needed breaks instead of the constant vigil he kept by my bedside hour after long hour.
A doula would have given us suggestions of how to lessen the pain of back labor.
That’s why when my daughter and son-in-law asked me to be their doula for the birth of their son, I was thrilled (to put it mildly). What a pleasure it was to help them have the birth they desired. Being involved throughout labor and delivery, being able to support, validate, and give information was such a humbling experience.
Watching that precious baby come into this world was the most amazing and satisfying feeling I’ve ever experienced. I realized then that every woman deserves the opportunity to experience the birth she wants.
Thus began my journey of becoming a certified doula.* In addition to birth and bereavement, I am also a postpartum doula, allowing me to provide care during the first days or weeks after childbirth, helping ease the transition to new parenthood.
In the case of infant loss, I will walk beside you and honor your tiny loved one.
*I am a birth, adoption, and bereavement doula certified through Stillbirthday. The name refers to those times when there is infant loss in any trimester, it is still a birthday.