Monday, May 23, 2022

Hampton Roads Doulas: Providing emotional support to mothers

When a woman finds out she’s pregnant there’s a lot of information to learn and not a lot of time to figure it out.

Some turn to a doula for support.

A doula is someone who has gone through a certification process to either support a mother through pregnancy and birth or postpartum and newborn care, said Lacey Bauer, owner of Hampton Roads Doulas.

Bauer has been a practicing doula since 2012 and has worked with mothers through hundreds of births over the years.

She said the primary focus of a doula is to provide informational and emotional support for the mother as they either go through pregnancy or postpartum recovery.

There are two different types of doulas that a mother can work with: a birth doula or a postpartum doula, Bauer said.

The birth doula is there to work with the mother, the doctor, the midwives and any other support services the mother might have.

“We’re experts on options,” Bauer said, adding doulas help the mothers learn about all of the options they have available to them and give them the tools they need to make their own decisions.

A postpartum doula is there to primarily support the mother and newborn during the time after birth and give them the help they may need, she said.

Becoming a doula

It costs around $600 to become a doula, this includes the 18-month certification process and classes, Bauer said.

Men can also become doulas, although the Hampton Roads Doulas are all women.

The main difference between a doula and a midwife is the midwife is a clinical care provider.

A midwife will be able to deliver the baby but mothers need any surgical methods they would have to see an obstetrician, Bauer said.

A doula works with both of those providers, offering support to the mother while making sure she has the information she needs to discuss with her doctors.

Doulas do not have any sort of clinical training, Bauer said.

“We have those deep and meaningful conversations with the mothers about what they want for their birth and what their goals are,” she said.

Another perk of working with a doula is the mother gets continuous care during their pregnancy.

While a mother might have to see multiple doctors throughout the pregnancy, the doula will be that constant support to help them out, Bauer said.

Hiring a doula

Bauer said mothers can hire a doula for anything from $1,000 to $1,300, it all depends on what the company a mother is working with charges.

If you were to work with her practice, Bauer said they provide 24-hour assistance by having two doulas take turns being on-call throughout the pregnancy.

“This provides a sense of security,” she said, adding the mothers know they will always have access to one of those doulas for assistance.

Right now about 6 percent of people in the United States are hiring doulas, Bauer said, and families from all backgrounds are hiring them.

“I think the birth culture has shifted,” she said, adding more people are open to learning about the other methods of support they can have during a pregnancy.

To learn more about Hampton Roads Doulas and the types of services available, click here.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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