Choosing Your Health Care Provider: Birth Doulas

Regardless of how you deliver your baby, you will need to rely on a team of health care providers to help you along the way. This new series explores the various options available to you- starting with a birth doula. What is the doula's role during your childbirth experience? What qualities should you look for in a doula? And where should you start looking for a doula?

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  • Choosing Your Health Care Provider

    Regardless of how you deliver your baby, you will need to rely on a team of health care providers to help you along the way. How can a doula be your biggest supporter? What’s the difference between midwifery care and hiring an obstetrician? What options are available?

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    You’re pregnant. Now, make a fashion statement. We’re exploring the top fashion trends when it comes to showing off your new baby bump. Buy new, used or learn practical ways to save money by utilizing clothes you already have in your closet.

Episode Transcript

Preggie Pals
Choosing Your Health Care Provider: Birth Doulas

CARE MESSER: You’ve got a positive pregnancy test, told the exiting news to your family and started to shop for you nursery. But perhaps like many fist-time parents, you’ve never seen a birth outside of a movie or ever cared for brand-new baby 24/7. Adding a doula to your team of providers can help you navigate your way trough birth and immediate post-partum period. I’m Care Messer, a birth and post-partum doula, and today we’ll be discussing choosing your doula. This is Preggie Pals, episode 95.

[Theme Music/Intro]

ANNIE LAIRD: Welcome to Preggie Pals, broadcasting from The Birth Education Center of San Diego. Preggie Pals is your weekly online on the go support group for expecting parents and those hoping to become pregnant. I’m your host, Annie Laird. Thanks to all of our loyal listeners who have joined The Preggie Pals Club. Our members get special episodes, bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts. See our website for more information. Another way for you to stay connected is by downloading our free Preggie Pals app which is available in the Android and iTunes market place. Sunny, our producer is now going to give us some more information about out virtual panelist program.

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, so if you guys aren’t located here in San Diego, where we record out shows at The Birth Education Center, you can participate in our virtual panelist program. So here is what you need to do to participate – you can like our Facebook page, you can follow us on Twitter, if you are on Twitter use #preggiepalsvp and follow the conversation. We are going to be posting questions and also information that our experts are giving out trough out the show. We are going to be posting that to Facebook and Twitter and you can just write in the comment section, share you thought, share you stories and we may even include some of that on our show and if we do, you can win a one month subscription to The Preggie Pals Club.

ANNIE LAIRD: Great, thanks Sunny. Well let’s start going around and introduce all of our panelists today. Stephanie… No, actually, Stephanie, you are about to get lashed on your baby there, so we’ll come back to you.

SUNNY GAULT: Just another day here in Preggie Pals.

ANNIE LAIRD: Boobs and babies. It’s almost like it’s a boob group here today. Yeah. Kelly Jo, we’ll start with you then.

KELLY JO EDDY: I’m Kelly Jo Eddy and I’m twenty-five years old and I’m one of the volunteer co-leaders of the San Diego chapter of “I can” which is the International Cesarean Awareness Network and we do a lot of education on how to prevent a cesarean or repeat cesarean, we encourage v-bags and a lot of work with that. I have two daughters, three and one, their names are Ireland and Piper and my first daughter was my cesarean birth and my second daughter was my triumphant and amazing peaceful v-bag.


NATALINA GLEASON: Hi. I’m Natalina Gleason. I am also a member of “I can” yey. I found about it trough stalking I think your website, Annie.

ANNIE LAIRD: Stalking is welcome!

NATALINA GLEASON: And I’m hoping to have a v-bag in August, but I just finished interviewing and finding the right doula for me, so this is exiting.

ANNIE LAIRD: Awesome. And Stephanie?

STEPHANIE GLOVER: My name is Stephanie Glover. I am thirty-one years old and I am a stayed home mom to my two girls. I have a two and a half year old Gretchen and a six month old Lydia.

ANNIE LAIRD: She is introducing herself.


ANNIE LAIRD: Oh she is a little sweetie!

STEPHANIE GLOVER: Gretchen was my cesarean and Lydia was my triumphant peaceful healing v-bag as well. And I’m too part of “I can”.

ANNIE LAIRD: Well, it’s just that I’m the only member that is not part of “I can”, I feel left out.

KELLY JO EDDY: You better join.

ANNIE LAIRD: I know, I better join.

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Alright, today on Preggie Pals we are reviewing an app today, it’s a free app, which makes it awesome in my opinion, so… It’s called “I’m expecting” and all of our panelists have a chance to take a look at this. It shows up you can put what are you doing here and it has different features in it and you track weight, put different calendar in here, so bring up the calendar, you can make a note that hey you had a headache on this day or fatigue or nausea. So what are you guys think of this app? You had the chance to look at it. Would you download this app?

KELLY JO EDDY: You know, I was really liking it. Just glancing at it at first it has a really nice modern feel to it as compared to a lot of the other pregnancy apps. I also really like that there was a weight tracker on there… I was saying earlier that when I was pregnant with my first and second I downloaded like the live strong fitness app and it would kind of tell me I was doing something wrong, because I was gaining weight

ANNIE LAIRD: How dare you? You are growing a human being?

KELLY JO EDDY: Right and I wanted to keep track of that, because you know it’s something you have to track and I really liked also that there is a calendar in there that you can track you symptoms, because a lot of times we get to the doctor, they ask “How are you feeling?”, we say “Oh I’m fine”, because we have pregnancy-brain and we forget how we feel. So it’s nice to have kind of a reference to see how we are doing.

ANNIE LAIRD: To keep a record of how are you feeling, yeah! Awesome!

SUNNY GAULT: And that’s really detailed too, I noticed that on the app. I mean you can really go trough and really be very specific about your symptoms an yeah, like you are saying, sometimes you forget with, you know, baby-brain and pregnancy-brain what are you feeling on that day, but you can actually assign it a specific, like it’s got a calendar in there, and you just click on the day and be like “Today, this is how I felt: boom, boom, boom”.

STEPHANIE GLOVER: I like that you can see, you know “Today I’ m 23 weeks, here is where my baby is”. I like knowing pin-to-been versus boiled egg size. For some reason it helped me connect with the baby when I was pregnant and even though, I don’t know, I don’t like ever calling the baby a “fetus”, and so that’s one thing I don’t like about these apps – it’s fetus, fetus, fetus. And I’m like “It’s my baby”, so it has arms and legs and a heart that’s working, so if it’s a boiled egg or a pin-to-been at this time, that’s fine, but I just like it… It’s called a baby.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah, and look at this cool part of this app, it’s called “the baby bump”. So you just click on it so let’s say you are week 24th, there are no photos uploaded yet and you just click on it and you can take a picture with your phone and it goes right to the app of the phone part and you take a selfie of your… A belly selfie. I have a post-partum belly selfie and that’s ok, because I’m only three months post-partum, but I think that’s a need – having a record, because I did that for my first pregnancy and then not for my second or my third. But so I think I would have done that. I would have an app that it would keep it just all together and remind me about it. So would you, ladies, think? Thumbs up, thumbs down? Would you download this?

KELLY JO EDDY: Thumbs up, I absolutely would.


STEPHANIE GLOVER: Especially free.

NATALINA GLEASON: I mean I like it. I hate to say, I already have the baby-centered one and I really like it and I’m kind of a creature of habit, but I like it. If I hadn’t the one I already have, it’s perfect. And I do like the taking the pictures, not that I even have done that.

It is okay to have more that one app on you phone.


[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Today on Preggie Pals we are starting a brand new series. It’s all about haring your care provider. So normally when you are pregnant you’ll think “Oh ok…
, at least I was the first time I was pregnant “Oh, ok, well I guess I just got to go and see what my obstetrician is covered”. So we are going to be, in this series, covering all the different type of care providers that you can have on your team and everything from obstetricians to midwives, to what is a (inaudible). Today we are starting of with what is a doula and how do they contribute to your team. Joining us today is Care Messer. Care is DONA certified labor doula and KAPA trained post-partum doula. She is the owner and the founder of The Birth Education and she also teaches HypnoBirthing classes to expected parents. Care, welcome to the show! Thanks for joining us.

CARE MESSER: Well I should say thanks for being in my place.

ANNIE LAIRD: So Care what is a doula? I think that there is a lot of folks that maybe they think that, you know, a doula is just this maybe natural birth guru and that’s kind of what I thought at first. What do they even do? What do they bring to your care provider team?

CARE MESSER: I’ll tell you what they bring is they bring everybody calmness. Probably my biggest thing is dads are worried that the doula is going to come and take over their role and then probably the biggest things is that dads are excited that she is going to come over and take his role. It depends on where the dad is with “I just want to check my sport scores and you do the birth, I don’t want learning any new skills.”

So kind of it depends on which parent you get, but the doula… And especially if you are a first time mom, you are nervous, you are anxious and you just want someone to tell you what to do. And a doula kind of helps you to be in one with your body and lets you know that everything’s normal, because babies come out all the time. And you’ll stay home longer in you own environment if there is somebody going “You just puked and you head is spinning around totally normal, everything is good”.

And that calms everybody down and keeps them home longer - when you are home longer you progress faster and that’s better for going to the hospital and getting your epidural, if you re going to do that or do it naturally. But a birth doula will support whatever kind of birth you want and she’ll help you figure out what that is, because a lot of times we don’t even know what out options are.

ANNIE LAIRD: And that’s a great point you bring up as far as that was a (inaudible) I personally had was “Oh a doula is just for the natural-birth people, but I definitely want and epidural, so I don’t need a doula”. But you know what you are saying – that makes total sense of… You know, it doesn’t matter what type of birth you want, it’s great to have that support though.

CARE MESSER: It is. And there are always unexpected things that happen during birth that’s why I never call it “a birth plan”, because I call them “birth preferences”, because plans are always broken and a birth doula will help you figure what preferences you want, you give you options, and then support you trough whatever comes up, because if there is a switch at the end and the baby has to go NICU there is somebody that is going to be with the mom. And she can facilitate pictures back and forth, makes sure mom is eating, keeping mom calm, making phone calls for mom; whatever takes place, there is that extra person hands-on that keeps everything going. And you know, they are helping during the birth, after the birth and then a week after the birth so to make sure that you’ve got the right resources, you are comfortable in your new role and that the baby is doing ok.

ANNIE LAIRD: Have any of our panelists, have you ever had doula at a birth that you’ve had? I know Stephanie has, because I got called as the backup on a seven-months-pregnant, so… Stephanie, it would be great if you could chime in and you know, what was you experience with adding a doula to your team the second time around?

STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yeah, you know, with my first, I actually wanted a doula, but my husband said “I want to be the support person, give me that chance; I want to be your doula!” I think his fear was going into the second pregnancy me being a little bit more adamant about adding the doula to our team, yeah it was that he is going to be replaced, but then after he met our doula, he felt very confident and being supported as well. And I’ve just really… I would recommend it to anybody.

It was an amazing experience, because going into a v-bag, you really need extra support. I feel like a lot of things are working against you. And my doula was there for me when I was having these little freak-outs, you know – when I was meeting with providers that I just didn’t feel supported by and I could call her and she really just talked me trough things and helped me address the fears that I had and helped me sort of prepared physically and emotionally for the labor. She almost didn’t make it to mine, but Annie was there for a bit of it, but then she did and having her there – it was just awesome. Yeah, it was great.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. Ok what kind of training do doulas get? I think everybody is familiar with the obstetrician go to medical school, but can anybody just called themselves a doula? Or I mean what should be women looking for as far as training? Is that even that important?

CARE MESSER: I think training is very important and extensive training after you initial training is definitely important. You can never learn too much about how to support a woman, especially with comfort measures, because every woman is different and every woman has different needs. So most doulas go trough a 3 do 4 day training with an international organization, there is DONA, KAPA, TO LABOR for instance, and its hands on experience. A lot of midwives that teach it and they get a really good experience with how the birth process works, what’s normal, what not normal, things to look for.

I think a lot of parents might say “I don’t need a doula” and they are good with that. When they run into an obstacle like a bath labor or throwing up, throwing up, throwing up, they don’t know what to do and they don’t know that there are really simple solutions to things like that – turning the baby and getting mama re-hydrated. There are a lot of things that a professional doula knows how to do to keep you home longer and to keep you comfortable. And sometimes they end up running to the hospital too soon and it’s too soon, but they want to leave, because they want to get back in their car and then everything kind of switches for them.

They feel like “I can’t do this anymore, I just… Give me my epidural. Do this, do that.” And then they are just kind of a victim in their birth instead of present for it and you can still have an epidural and be present for your birth and make choices. But if you don’t know what the choices are, which is what a birth doula helps you do is figure out what those are and never tells so you to do, but she figures out what your kind of plan is and what you want and shows you how to get there.

ANNIE LAIRD: How is training different then certification? Is certification an important something when a woman is hiring a doula? Does someone have to be certified?

CARE MESSER: That certification is very important to me. It show why you re willing to start something and finish it. My certification was a pain in the end I won’t lie. There is paperwork, and there are book to read and other training to do, and other classes to take. However I’ve learned so much trough that paperwork of seeing how mom’s body dilates, how it moves, what medications completely stop and slow things down, where birth switch to what moms don’t want, because certain medications are certain interventions, when to get those medications and interventions later, how that switches it and all of that came trough my training and certification, because you have to keep track of things on paper.

So I’m a big certification person, because it shows a follow trough. And only, it kind of gives everybody the same education, so you know, ok they are certified with DONA, they’ve read these book, they’ve done this and this, they’ve had a certification, they’ve had qualification evaluations by their nurses, doctors and care providers as well as the moms, and you know there is a standard of care there. So it’s kind of I don’t know, if you want to equated it to a doctor going to medical school and then going in and taking the boards and you are like “Okay I trust you”. You know I‘m a big certification person, because of the standard of care. Anyone can take training, but did you put the effort to really figuring out how this mom works and how that partner can support her, because it’s a duo thing. It’s not just about the mom. It’s about the whole dynamic of the family.

ANNIE LAIRD: I’m interested with how you ladies found your doulas for you know either your upcoming births or your births that you had. You know, for me, I am a doula, so it’s almost… I think it’s harder for me, you know, because I had like forty women that were like “Oh I’ll be your doula” and I was like “I want all of you there, but I know that…”.

You’ll have 2am to 3am. I knew that wasn’t the right answer, but you know with labor progressing sometimes that happens with less people there, so you try to narrow down, you know… To one or six.

ANNIE LAIRD: To one or six, exactly. When we come back, we are going to be discussing how you can go about finding a doula to interview. We’ll be right back.

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: How do you ladies who are not a doula, how did you go about and find the doula to interview?

KELLY JO EDDY: I posted I guess a question on the “I can” Facebook page and I’ve had ten responses and then about ten personal messages sent to me in addition to the people that I was already recommended that I had e-mailed. So by the end of it, when they say, they’ll only meet you know three to five people, I had about ten meetings that I had, and by the time I met the third doula I loved her, I went “Oh I have to e-mail everybody else and say I’m sorry, I’m sure I will love you and I can’t say no, I hate disappointing people and I hate saying no I just like to cut ties, before I even meet you”. And that was the tough part for me was I liked them all for different reasons, you know.

One came very qualified, highly recommended. Another had a just very… She seemed like very maternal in the sense that she was older, but not too much older that me and experienced and she actually hadn’t even given birth before, it was like she had done it for so long and I could just feel her… The sense that she would be very much a care taker during everything and then the last one had just had a v-bag and you know such a great way you know to explain to me like “Oh you are going to do great, you’d know everything about your previous birth, you…”

ANNIE LAIRD: So a lot of confidence?

KELLY JO EDDY: A lot of confidence in every one of them, but the third one, like I was telling you earlier, there was just literally like a sense that I was being drawn towards her. Every time she spoke, I leaned in and she sat close to me and I wasn’t uncomfortable where’s the other ones, when they did got near me, it wasn’t like I was uncomfortable, but I was just more like rigid and she sat next to me and…

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah, that could be a problem during your labor. Like “Don’t touch me!”

KELLY JO EDDY: Yeah. That brings a whole other thing. Since I’ve had my son, I used to be a very touchy feely person and that whole article about your touch level goes down, because you kid is just always on you, I just don’t want people to hug me or touch me, and so the fact that she was near me and I didn’t know her, I just thought that was the most important thing to me – that I want somebody that is going to make me feel calm and confident, she was very experienced, very sweet and I mean they tell you to go with your gut. And if I went with my head, I would have gone with the one that came highly recommended and very experienced and she is the back-up, I mean she is amazing and I’m exited to maybe work with her, but the third one was…

ANNIE LAIRD: Well Stephanie can tell you - sometimes the back-up does get called even if you are seven months pregnant.

STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yeah … I’ve got to be back mom and she is contractions and she is freaking out a little bit.

CARE MESSER: One is true – really is – go with your gut. When I help moms pick doulas, I give them three women that I handpicked for them by a list of questions and then I say, “it doesn’t matter if they have had a baby or not, it doesn’t matter if they are hundred years old or they are nineteen, if your gut says I can be naked and comfortable with this woman”, that is who you pick. Because that literally, it is an energetic thing, it is not a, “I looked at the list, everything is right”, even if you are totally academic and that is just in your brain – oh, here is my checklist – you have to feel comfortable with them naked because you never know if you will be. Hopefully – you will be, because it goes faster if you are naked but yeah, it is a total gut response.

ANNIE LAIRD: Well Stephanie, how about you? How did you pick your doula?

STEPHANIE GLOVER: I also posted on the “I can” forum and got similar amount of responses. One girl came to my home and met with me and she, again, would have been lovely. One this that I was really aware of was – is this person’s energy going to match my husbands’? – Because I could have definitely worked with her, I think that my husband might not have been himself with her, they were just different. And then I had a lot of messages, emails and then I had a phone interview with the woman that I chose and we could laugh together and that is the biggest thing for me. If you can’t, like, laugh on one of my dumb jokes or if I don’t find you amusing we are not probably work well together …

ANNIE LAIRD: You were in early labor, I thought you were hilarious.


[Everybody Laughs]

SUNNY GAULT: In the end of labor – you weren’t, but in the early labor …

STEPHANIE GLOVER: And so, yeah it is about energy, if you feel comfortable and I was just trying to gauge if my husband would feel comfortable with her.
Good for you.

NATALINA GLEASON: That is a good point, I mean – for me, my husband is not going to be here so it was 100% my choice who I feel comfortable with but I didn’t even think about having another person. I mean, my husband was pretty much, “oh, whatever, whatever you want, whatever makes you happy”, but I can see how, if the first one would not have worked with him.

ANNIE LAIRD: And you bring up a good point too, I think, with husbands but as well mothers. I don’t know Care if you could go a little bit into – how does grandma play in this as far as the role with the doula and who you hire?

It would probably be a whole episode, yeah.

CARE MESSER: Totally going to be; and it is hard because a lot times grandmas feel replaced, like, “why do you want a stranger but you don’t want me there?”, and it is not a matter of that, it is a matter of, “mom, it is hard for you to see me uncomfortable”, and that, even just having that conversation with a parent, I had to ask my mom not to come to my birth and it was a difficult conversation because she didn’t get it, “but you are my baby”, and I’m like, “I know mom, but for one you don’t think I can do it and if you even think that I’m uncomfortable you are going to lose it and I have to do this, this way because for me and my family – this is the way I’m going to do it” and then “but you are having a stranger come and I know how to touch you and I’m your savior”.

You know, it was a hard conversation and with family dynamics like that everybody has a role, grandma needs a job to do if dad is going to be with mom because my job is to keep mom and dad together, not me take over and dad sits on the couch. Births go better when there are pheromones and hormones going and that’s dad and mom together or mom and mom, however you are going to do it. And then, you know, grandma, sometimes they need something else to do and so the conversation you had before, “okay, can you make sure the house is clean, the other kids ready … the dogs are walked … blah blah blah”, so that she’s busy.

ANNIE LAIRD: My mother in law took care of my older daughter and that was a nice job because she is so busy, she is school-age and very precautious so that is a … I feel that a great role for grandma is childcare of other children.

CARE MESSER: Yeah, and I have some moms who just, they kind of make their due date three weeks later and then the tickets aren’t purchased which is fine and then we have our baby and then grandma comes in the end and does all the other stuff and they just want to see the baby anyway, they don’t care about you, they just want to be with the baby. So if you can keep it intimate between the three of you – baby, you, doula, and dad – it is a just much smoother labor and I think it is nicer than having parents back and forth pacing the waiting room, waiting for everything to happen.

NATALINA GLEASON: I’m kind of in that kind of position where my mom wants to be here because my husband won’t. She was very excited, “oh, I will be your labor coach and I will be there”, and she had a natural delivery but my mom had like the picture perfect delivery, she was in labor for I think 3 and a half hours, three pushes and I came out and I know that that is, I mean it is may be a possibility but probably not and same thing, you know, I’m her only child and to see me in the kind of pain that I was in before and knowing that it all just progressively gets stronger, most likely, I don’t, I think that was my point that I came to before. I was going to have a doula anyway but before I decided I just wanted to be the doula and me that I think she would stall the labor, I think that my husband stalled my last labor just he is very uncomfortable seeing me in pain and I would love to have him here, but I think it is going to go differently because he won’t be …

ANNIE LAIRD: Because he is deployed nine thousand miles away.

NATALINA GLEASON: Yeah, a nine thousand miles away and there is nothing he can do but trying …

ANNIE LAIRD: Natalina’s husband and my husband are peers so they can be watch it over Facetime together, something …

NATALINA GLEASON: I think they will be roommates.

ANNIE LAIRD: Exactly, I think they are going to be roommates, yeah … so …

CARE MESSER: Well one thing too is moms do better if they are not worrying about everybody else. If there are six people in the waiting room, they are like, “oh my gosh, grandma’s got to eat, it is almost five o’clock and has someone gotten them pizza because it has been a long time” and even they will pop in and say “are you done yet, are you getting close” and that pressure is way worse than even doctors’ and nurses’ pressure, is having the family pressure. And a lot times we don’t know that so that is another thing that doulas can point out “here is how quickly a labor goes if this is what you want and here is how a not so quickly labor will go and if you don’t want that, here is how we prevent it”. But it is a difficult conversation you have to have with your family.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah, Care let’s talk about price range a little bit. So how do doulas set their prices and I mean, what can you expect? I imagine it is different where you are in the country…

CARE MESSER: Totally, you know, because I mean, top price in may be New Mexico would be $600 and that is the most expensive doula; top price in San Diego is $1200, Orange County - $3000; so it really just depends on where you are in the country. A lot of doulas gage it on level of experience and then they also add another factor like childcare, like how far away are you and how much gas is that going to take. Doulas do not make a lot of money, even the top end one’s because by the time you factor in how many hours we spent with you in prenatal, travel time, childcare, expenses, food, gas, parking … we don’t, I mean sometimes we make 3 bucks an hour but we do it because we love it and we want you to be …

Before taxes, yeah, don’t forget about the taxes, the (inaudible) plummet tax is going to kill you too. We don’t do it to make money; we do it because we love birth and the process of supporting another woman because it is such an empowering experience and when you have that extra woman that keeps everything mellow, you just feel more supported, it is a much more beautiful experience no matter what birth you choose, even a caesarian.

I have moms call me all the time and say they have a scheduled caesarian for blah, blah, blah “why do I need a doula” and I’m like “why don’t you need a doula, let’s connect with this baby, let’s have the best caesarian as possible, bring your music in, stay relaxed, all of that keeps the baby’s heart rate normal” and it is their birth, it needs to be special and sacred, it doesn’t matter which way it comes out and a doula can really maintain that for everybody and keep it calm, that is how it should be.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah, you know, talking about going back to interviewing your doulas, sounds like personal connection is really the primary thing that you need to have but are there any questions that you should ask during it, like expecting mom should ask during an interview with a doula or that are kind of important questions or does it even matter?

CARE MESSER: There are, but my, this is what I tell moms when they are interviewing a doula – you want a doula who says “how do you see me at your birth, what do you want” instead of “I do this, and this, and this, and then I show up and do this and I bring this, and here is what is in my bag of tricks and I do …”

But if they don’t bother to ask what you want, to me that is a red flag because a doula is by definition a servant and they should come asking you what they can do for you instead of, you know, “how do you see me, this is what I do, and this is my price, and this is my package, and this is all I do; and I will make sure this and this happens”, it is much more of a, it should be more of “I see this and this is what I want” because what if they come with their bag of tricks and you go “I don’t want you to talk that much during my birth and I don’t really even want you to touch me.

I want him to touch me and you to guide him” but if you don’t, if you don’t talk and the doula is talking all the time, you are not going to get your wishes met. So that is, and a lot of my moms go into an interview like that waiting for the doula to say “what do you want” and that’s usually the one they pick because that is who is more connected with what they want instead of “here is what I do”.

NATALINA GLEASON: I liked the ones, just to echo with that, I also liked the ones that told me everything that I wanted to hear before I asked a question, I mean, when I met with my care provider, the OB, I had a list of question that I was going to ask him and I didn’t have to ask one of them because when he said “let me just tell you a little bit about myself and what I do and how I see labor and delivery and all of that” and I

ANNIE LAIRD: Their philosophy discipline.

NATALINA GLEASON: Yeah, exactly, just like “I can’t find the word” and every question I had, literally I had fifteen, he answered them all so …

CARE MESSER: In about 30 seconds …

NATALINA GLEASON: In about 30 seconds, exactly

CARE MESSER: I know exactly who that doctor is.

NATALINA GLEASON: And so what the two doulas that are my primary and then the back-up, they explained how … what their philosophy was, how like … how they have had their experience and you know after I have, kind of discussed everything because I kind of went into it “this is how my labor was before, this is what I would like, you know, I just wanted to tell you a little bit about myself, now you go” and I didn’t have to ask any questions. So I think that was a nice part because I didn’t want it to be a very stoic thing, because like you have said before, you can have every answer to every question that I have but does that mean that you are the right person for me, I just need to see how you are feeling this conversation and letting it flow the way that it needs to.

ANNIE LAIRD: And it should flow.

CARE MESSER: You almost have to connect on like a sisterly level, sometimes I think of a doula like an extra big sister without all the family baggage who happens to also be an expert in childbirth. So, when you talk about it you have to be comfortable getting naked, you do have to be comfortable getting naked, throwing up, pooping, whatever and … can I say pooping?

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh, sure.

SUNNY GAULT: You can say other things probably if Annie doesn’t mind …

CARE MESSER: They have to feel like family a little bit, you have to have that sisterly bond with them after that.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah, and some people look, I think they look for different things as far as some people are going for looking for a big sister, some are looking for a mom because they don’t want their mom there.

CARE MESSER: Or their mom can’t be there.

ANNIE LAIRD: Or their mom can’t be there, you know, even kind of a grandmother in all so …

CARE MESSER: And I have some that have mommy issues and so I ask that on my questionnaire.

I loved that.

CARE MESSER: Because if you, they look at that and they are like “oh yeah, she has white hair, that is not going to work for me” or I need sister or an auntie because my aunt died and I was really close to her and that is who I need, so then I know an age range even to look for, for that mom because we connect with women differently and I had one mom who was doing a homebirth, she wanted a midwife that never had a baby and a doula that never had a baby. And I said “why” and she goes “because I have never had a baby and I don’t want them saying – you can do this, I did it, blah, blah” and she goes “I wanted it to be our first, everybody’s first” and that is what worked for her and she is “I know they have experience and they have done this before but they haven’t had the experience with me”.

ANNIE LAIRD: Personal experience …

CARE MESSER: Personal experience and some women will say “Well I interviewed her and she didn’t have a baby” and I said “neither has your male OB and you trust him” or “neither has your midwife, did you know that she (inaudible)” and she is “She hasn’t had a baby” and I’m like “No, do you even think to ask – nope, but you trust her”. I said “doula is nothing more than a woman supporting a woman”, nothing more than that.
I can relate to that too. I actually before hiring a doula, thought that I would for sure hire someone who have had their own child and it never even came up when I was feeling the connection with who I chose and she hasn’t but it didn’t matter and it almost surprised me, I thought that I was looking for that and turns out that I wasn’t.

CARE MESSER: It is the connection, it is always the connection.

ANNIE LAIRD: Thanks Care for joining us today. For more information about Care and her doula practice as well as information about any of our panelists visit our episode page on our website. This conversation continues for members of our Preggie Pals Club. After the show, Care will be discussing the work that she is doing at the Birth Education Center of San Diego with continuing education for newly-trained doulas. To join our club, visit our website

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KRYSTAL STUBBENDECK: Hello Preggie Pals, I’m Krystal Stubbendeck – maternity fashion expert and founder of Borrow For Your Bump where you can buy and rent designer maternity styles for a monthly rate. This segment we will cover the awkward days of pregnancy otherwise known as the Belly or Bump days. You are not quite ready for maternity sizes but you are quickly outgrowing your favorite jeans and cute tops. To draw attention away from you bump you can balance you belly with statement jewelry; this will draw attention away and on to the face and neck. A dramatic neckline chunky short necklace or dangly earrings will do the trick.

Adding pops of color or prints in unexpected places is another trick to hide the fact that you are expecting. A bright yellow hairpiece, coral scarf, turquoise blain or like Jessica Simpson – use a large animal print purse to draw the eye away, plus it gives you an excuse to put splurge on that purse you have been eying. A polka dot skirt is another way to take the attention off your midsection, have fun with it but one or two eye-catchers are more than enough. Layering is another way to disguise a bump.

We recommend layering a blazer, a cardigan over a patterned blouse or try a maxi dress with an empire waist. Try a style that is long and flowing towards the bottom, we love the ink print maxi dress by Lilac. Without wearing a sign that says – I’m pregnant – you may want to show people that you are expecting. In that case, whether it is a top or a dress, styles with empire waist sides and rouge sides are the best ways to take the focus to the center of the body.

You can also use a belt under the bust to create more shape. Stay away from short tops that are tight getting and oversized clothing that can completely hide your shape and actually make you a pair bigger. At the rouse of the first trimester you should be able to comfortably wear most of your pre-pregnancy clothes. For bottoms, you may want to switch to low-rise pants or jeans which will allow for a little more room for your tummy. Choose items in your wardrobe that have stretchy waistbands or tops, loose and fitting blouses and peasant tops should work for the first couple of months. No matter what your stage, feel and look great during your pregnancy. Don’t forget to check out the style’s mentioned at and be sure to listen to Preggie Pals for more great pregnancy tips.

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ANNIE LAIRD: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Preggie Pals. Don’t forget to check out our sister shows – Parent Savers, for parents of newborns, infants and toddlers; Twin Talks, for parents of multiples and our show The Boob Group, for moms who breastfeed their babies. Next week we will be discussing VBAC – vaginal birth after caesarian, what are the risks and benefits. This is Preggie Pals – your pregnancy your way.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.


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