Doula Interview with Cindi – Charleston, SC

Finding out your pregnant is exciting and scary no matter if this is your first pregnancy or your third. All pregnancies are so different which makes it feel like a brand new experience each time. My first pregnancy was a breeze. We went to all of our appointments and never had any issues with baby or myself. My second pregnancy….well, it wasn’t a breeze at all – throw in a Pandemic, and it was downright stressful.

Throughout my pregnancy, I didn’t gain much weight at all. In fact, at 25 weeks of pregnancy I had only gained 3-pounds. This was concerning to my Obgyn and myself. Long story short, we feared our baby girl may be suffering from IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction – – – don’t google that by the way) but after a visit with the high risk doctor, it was determined that our princess was simply just a small baby. And she was – born at a whopping 6 pounds 3 oz – she was absolutely perfect. Peep our sweet girl below:

Another obstacle we faced during our pregnancy was that she was breech. I did NOT want to have a c-section so I set out on a mission to help her turn. Insert: Cindi – an amazing doula who came to our home to show me some spinning babies techniques! Unfortunately, our sweet (but stubborn) baby girl had her heart set on staying breech and we underwent a c-section on her birthday.

There are SOO many benefits to hiring a doula for your prenatal care, labor & delivery, and postnatal care though so I got in touch with Cindi to have her help out with this blog post! Here’s what she had to say:

1. Why did you become a Doula?

I have always been drawn to pregnancy, birth and babies. When I got pregnant with my third baby, I knew that I wanted something more out of my last pregnancy experience, so I opted for a midwives model of care. I had a natural water birth and the overall experience was so enlightening. Once my baby was 14 months old, I decided it was time to get back to working and wanted to do something that I was passionate about. I met with a local doula and got so much information about doula work and signed up for my training right away. Helping women navigate their pregnancy and birthing experiences is something that I will always cherish.

2. What is the booking process like when an expecting mom is considering your services?

When an expecting family contacts me, the first thing we do is set up an interview which can take place virtually or in person. During the interview we get to learn about each other and I discuss my certifications and go over the contract details. The family takes home a welcome packet and makes the decision if they would like to move forward with my services. When looking for a doula it is important to find one who you feel the most comfortable with. Labor and delivery is such a vulnerable time in a woman’s life so the expecting mom needs to be able to relax and trust the birthing process. Finding the right doula that you connect with is so important for your birth support team.

3. How soon should a mom look into hiring a doula?

This is a great question! Doulas do book up, so booking in the early parts of the second trimester is the most ideal. Waiting until the end of pregnancy could mean fewer doulas to choose from. It is still encouraged to reach out if you choose to hire a doula at the end of pregnancy because even if your chosen doula is booked, she can refer you to some other wonderful options in our area.

4. Why is it important to consider a doula?

Having a supportive birth team is very beneficial to your birthing experience. Even if labor doesn’t go as hoped or planned, having the knowledgeable support of a doula can help relieve some anxiety and feelings of being “out of control” of the situation that a woman may experience. Doulas do so much prep work and educating in the prenatal time so that women feel prepared and ready for the birth no matter what scenario is thrown at them during “GO Time!”

5. What is the experience like with you leading up to delivery?

Once the family has hired me as their doula, they are able to contact me with any questions or concerns that arise during pregnancy. Doulas are a wealth of unbiased evidence based knowledge. I provide 2 prenatal meetings where I teach general birthing education and options for creating your Birth Preferences. I also teach comfort measures so the partner knows ways to help during labor and relaxation techniques to help the mother. Full labor support is another offering meaning when labor starts, I am in close contact with the family and join them at their home or birthing place and stay with them until after the baby is born. I do one follow up postpartum meeting to help answer any immediate question the family may have.

6. How do you work with birthing families while in labor? How is the partner included?

When a family starts labor, the doula is in close contact with the couple, and joins as soon as they feel the need for more support. Prenatally I teach my partners some comfort measures that they can use during labor to help the mother cope with labor. This helps the partners feel more involved and more confident as to what they can do to helpt the expecting mom in labor. Once I join the family, I help guide them by suggesting different positions to help with comfort and the progression of labor. If interventions are presented by medical staff, doulas help make sure the family gets as much information as they need to make the best decision. Doulas are also a great support for the partners. Often it is very emotional for a partner to see their wives in discomfort and they may want to help take it away. Supporting the partner and reminding them that the discomfort of labor is normal helps reassure them that it is safe and just a normal part of the birthing process. When a doula is present, it also allows the partner the opportunity to leave the room for breaks without feeling like they left their wife alone.

7. What if the baby arrives early?

The only thing predictable about birth is that it is unpredictable. If a family goes into labor early, they should still contact their doula. The doula is still able to help a family navigate their birthing scenario. If a Doula is with another family at that time, she can send a backup doula in her place until she can come be with the birthing family.

8. Do you bring anything with you to the delivery?

I have a birthing bag that I bring to every birth I attend. I bring my birthing bag to one of the prenatals with my families so that they can be familiar with what items I have. The most commonly used items are, my labor massage oils, hot drinking teas, cooling fan and a Rebozo.

9. Do you meet with your client after birth as well?

Yes, after birth I meet with the birthing family for a postpartum follow up. It is ideally scheduled within the first two weeks after birth. At this visit we talk about any newborn care questions, breastfeeding/bottle feeding, talk about the birth if they like, and how the adjustment into motherhood/fatherhood is going.

10. Is there anything else you would like expecting momma’s to know about your services or the experience?

Pregnancy is such a transformative time in one’s life. Getting non-bias support is so helpful in navigating the experience. Throughout pregnancy you will hear everyone else’s experience, good and bad, and that can be very overwhelming. Having someone to turn to and ask questions or to get support can be a great way to navigate through the unknown. A doula is there to support the family in whatever decision they choose to be the best for them, so there is no judgment which can be a huge relief if they are not receiving that from loved ones or friends.

You can get in touch with Cindi via the links below!