Birth Doulas

In Portland

Looking for more personalized support for your pregnancy, labor, and birth journey? We’ve got you covered! Our birth doulas in Portland, Oregon bridge the gaps in medical care to ensure that there is at least one birth professional in the room who works just for you, knows your family’s unique hopes and goals, and is dedicated entirely to improving your childbirth experience. Let us provide a personal touch on this powerful journey.

Birth Doula Package in Portland, Oregon
Birth Doula Package

What Is A Birth Doula?

Birth doulas are professionally trained in how to support families during pregnancy, labor, birth, and immediate postpartum. Doulas do not perform any medical procedures but instead provide you and your partner with continuous emotional, physical, and informational support. The important role of a birth doula in helping to create better birth outcomes for families is widely embraced in Portland area hospitals and birth centers. As a result, Portland doulas are welcomed into the birth room and considered a vital member of your team. Our Portland birth doulas are agenda-free and never assume there’s a “right” way to give birth. Your goals are our goals, so no matter how your baby comes into this world (unmedicated birth, epidural assisted birth, or cesarean birth), our birth doulas will support your family 100% so you’ll have all the tools you need to navigate the medical system, birth your baby, and make informed decisions each step of the way.

 

 

 

Our Birth Doulas Are Agenda Free

Our Portland birth doulas do not have an agenda, give advice, or assume there is a “right” way to give birth. Your goals are their goals, and they offer education and information so you can make informed decisions that are congruent with your family’s needs and values.

Our Birth Doulas Are Flexible

Our birth doulas are flexible and know how to navigate birth’s unexpected twists and turns. If unforeseen circumstances should arise, your doula remains calm, keeps you informed on what is happening, and helps you adapt to changing circumstances. Our Portland birth doulas are attentive to your hopes and concerns, respectful of your choices, and inspire confidence in your ability to labor and birth.

 

Our Birth Doulas Support Partners

Our birth doulas do not replace the vital role of partners or other family members. Instead, our Portland birth doulas encourage partners to engage in the process with greater confidence and effectiveness and relieve partners of the pressure to know and do everything by themselves.

Our Birth Doulas Work Collaboratively

Our birth doulas know how to work collaboratively with medical staff even while advocating for your rights, needs, and preferences during labor. Our Portland birth doulas work for you, not for the hospital, so their care can be individualized to fit your needs.

The Birth Doula Package

Package starts at $1,500!

Our Birth Doula Package is one of the most comprehensive in the Portland Metro area and includes all of the following items:

Free Matchmaking

Our matchmaker will answer all your questions about how our services work and provide tailored matchmaking so you and your partner can narrow down the options and interview with doulas who are likely to be a good match.

Free Interviews

Most people interview two or three of our birth doulas to get a feel for each doula’s unique style, better understand the services they offer, and determine which connection feels like the best fit for your family.

Prenatal Visits

A trusting relationship is the foundation of birth doula care. Prenatal visits are offered in-person and/or virtually and provide opportunities to discuss your hopes and goals and create a real connection.

Ongoing Contact

Your birth doula is available via text, email, phone, and video as needed throughout your pregnancy and postpartum. It’s reassuring to know that when you reach out, your birth doula will be there for you.

Childbirth Classes

As a Birth First client, you will get access to free and discounted birthing classes so you and your partner will be prepared for the stages of labor, well-versed in coping techniques, and ready for the journey ahead.

On-Call Services

Being on-call means that once you reach 37 weeks of pregnancy, your doula has their cell phone on at all times and will answer the phone 24/7. It’s so reassuring to know that your birth doula is just a text or call away.

Back-Up

Our team of professional birth doulas provides a wide net of backup in the unlikely event that your doula happens to be ill when you go into labor. You and your partner are sure to have all the support you need!

Home Support

If you want to labor in the comfort of your own home and avoid going to the hospital too soon, your birth doula’s presence can be especially reassuring and helpful in determining when to go to the hospital or birth center.

Labor Support

During labor, your birth doula provides hands-on comfort and progression techniques, mental and emotional encouragement, advocacy in the medical setting, breaks for your partner, and much more!

Photos

Your birth doula can help capture memorable moments of the day your baby was born by taking photos or videos to ensure your family has priceless images that can be cherished for a lifetime.

Breastfeeding Help

After the birth, your doula stays with you for 1-3 hours to assist with breastfeeding and recovery, encourage family bonding, remind pediatric staff of your newborn choices, and rejoice in your baby.

Postpartum Visits

Your doula will provide in-home postpartum visits to help process the birth experience, answer newborn questions, review your recovery, and discuss whatever is on your heart and mind.

Resources

Your birth doula is available for six weeks after delivery for informational support by phone, email, or text to help answer any questions and provide excellent local resources that can help your family to thrive!

Parenting Classes

As a Birth First client, you get access to free and discounted parenting classes through the Birth First Education Center, including newborn care classes, breastfeeding classes, infant play groups, and much more!

Discounted Services

As a Birth First client, you will receive special discounts on services offered by Portland’s best prenatal and postpartum practitioners, including massage, lactation, acupuncture, chiropractic, and more!

What Does A Birth Doula Actually Do?

People frequently ask us what a birth doula actually does, and our answer goes something like, “Well, it depends. We tailor our services to each client’s particular needs, but basically, we offer families professional support during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum.”

While this answer does faithfully represent our services and dedication to individualized care, it does not always satisfy the inquiring mind that asked. Often what the person is wondering about is the hands-on nitty-gritty of what we do when we’re at a birth.

So, in an attempt to make our doula skills more transparent and understandable, here’s a list of things we typically do for clients who are in labor (please note that this is not a complete list, nor does it include the types of support offered during pregnancy or in the immediate postpartum):

  • We answer questions and provide reassurance.
  • We show you all the ways a birth ball can be your friend.
  • We squeeze aching hips and apply counter-pressure to sore backs.
  • We encourage partners to bring on the love.
  • We help you stay in the moment and take it one contraction at a time.
  • We fill the tub and get the shower ready.
  • We laugh at your jokes and make some of our own.
  • We encourage, encourage, encourage.
  • We hold hands, ease fears, and normalize the birth process.
  • If you hit “a wall,” we help you climb right on over it.
  • We slow down communications with medical staff and ask important questions.
  • We respect any and all decisions you make (no judgment anywhere).
  • We remind the hospital staff of your hopes and preferences.
  • We guide you on how to use your breath during contractions.
  • We listen with compassion to what you and your partner are thinking and feeling.
  • We massage your shoulders and help you release tension.
  • We suggest positions that help labor progress.
  • We put heating pads and ice packs where you want them most.
  • We dig into acupressure points and give awesome foot rubs.
  • We check in with you to see what’s working and what’s not.
  • We help create a positive birth atmosphere.
  • We inform you about the risks and benefits of various medical procedures.
  • We provide evidence-based information so you can make informed choices.
  • We quench dry mouths and feed hungry tummies.
  • We strive to help you reach your childbirth goals.
  • We know our way around a hospital room and can find things quickly.
  • If you’re using a particular childbirth preparation method, we use it, too.
  • We let you know about potential alternatives to medical interventions.
  • If something doesn’t go as planned, we help you ease into and accept this change.
  • We offer partners much-needed breaks.
  • We mop sweaty brows with cool wet towels.
  • We dim lights, get warm blankets, and hush beeping machines.
  • We use positions and rebozos to get babies in a good spot.
  • We offer soothing words and visualizations to help you sink in.
  • We suggest a variety of positions for the pushing phase.
  • We take photos to capture memories of this life-changing event.
  • We stay up all night until your baby is born.

Why Hire A BIRTH Doula?

The many benefits of hiring a birth doula are recognized by the World Health Organization, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the National Institutes of Health. Research consistently shows that women who receive continuous support during labor from a doula are less likely to need unnecessary medical interventions and are more satisfied with their birth experience. These studies show that a doula’s continuous support, practical knowledge, and labor enhancing techniques help to reduce pain and anxiety in laboring people. When people are less frightened and feel less pain, labor is more likely to progress without the need for interventions.

Research shows that a doula’s presence during labor and birth results in the following positive outcomes:

  • reduction in the rate of cesarean births
  • reduction in the use of Pitocin (a contraction induction method)
  • reduction in vacuum-assisted deliveries
  • shorter labors
  • reduction in epidural requests
  • an increase in successful breastfeeding and bonding
  • a reduction in “baby blues” and postpartum depression
Benefits Of Doulas

Source: Rebecca L. Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN at evidencebasedbirth.com

Who Hires A Birth Doula?

Virtually anyone preparing for the experience of having a baby can benefit from the presence of a birth doula, including people who are looking for support with:

Unmedicated Birth

Doulas are well equipped with comfort and coping techniques that effectively support people’s goals for unmedicated vaginal delivery and avoiding pain medications and medical interventions. A doula’s skill set is made up of emotional, physical, and informational tools designed to help people achieve the experience of undisturbed childbirth within a hospital, birth center, or home setting.

Epidural Assisted Birth

Doulas can enhance the labor and birth experience of people who want to use pain relief medications by providing useful information about epidural procedures, suggesting appropriate times to receive an epidural, recommending in-bed positions that enhance labor’s progression, and offering advice on how to minimize the “cascade effect” leading to undesired interventions.

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)

A birth doula may be one of the most important and effective resources available to people striving for a VBAC. Doulas can help you “leave no stone unturned” in your effort to have a vaginal birth and help you to navigate the mental and emotional uncertainty that often accompanies this path. A doula offers indispensable reassurance and encouragement as you strive for the VBAC experience.

Out Of Hospital Birth

In a home or birth center setting, doulas offer an additional layer of ongoing emotional and physical support while your midwife focuses on your medical care and the health of your baby. In an out-of-hospital setting, doulas focus in on comfort techniques, labor progression, optimal fetal positioning, and help with tasks such as setting up the birthing tub, preparing food, and cleaning up after the birth as your midwives attend to you and your baby’s physical health.

High-Risk Pregnancy & Birth

Some pregnant people are considered to be in a higher risk category due to conditions such as IVF, advanced maternal age, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, or diabetes. Doulas can help relieve some of the anxiety and tension generated by these conditions by offering clear information and explanations, helping you to talk with medical providers about the options available to you, pointing you towards community resources, and ensuring that you have continuous support throughout your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.

How Do Doulas Work With Partners & Family?

The role of the partner during labor is essential. Laboring people need to know that their partners are there for them and that they are on this journey together. A doula encourages partners to be the primary source of emotional support and does not attempt to replace the partner’s role.

Most partners are inexperienced with childbirth and unsure of how to offer their loving support during this unique experience. Even the most attentive partner may be overwhelmed by the hospital environment, the changes unfolding in the laboring person, and the emotions that surface in anticipation of the baby’s arrival.

While childbirth educators do their best to equip partners with useful information and techniques, it is just too much to expect partners to remember everything and to know how to assist a person through labor instinctively.

A doula’s knowledge, skills, and expertise allow partners to be less pressured and more present. The doula will offer practical suggestions, information, and techniques as needed, which enables partners to be much more relaxed, loving, and emotionally present. A doula can provide partners with helpful tips along the way and make it possible for partners to take much-needed breaks.

There are also times when the labor or birth process can get intense or when things may take an unexpected turn. In these circumstances, partners may need as much emotional and informational support as the person in labor, and a doula can step in to reassure and care for the entire family.

How To Find A Doula?

The Portland and Vancouver metro areas have a rich and thriving doula community with lots of wonderful doulas to choose from, but all of that choice can be a little overwhelming when you’re unsure of how to find the right doula for you and your family.

That’s where our Birth First Doulas Matchmaker comes into play! Our free matchmaking service gets to know your preferences and helps you narrow down the options, so you can save you time and energy by only interviewing with doulas who are likely to be a great fit!

When interviewing a doula it’s always good to have a list of questions ready and to ask about things that are important to you (e.g., experience level, number of births attended, specialty areas, doula style, etc.), but the level of connection you feel with a doula is equally important and trusting your gut and intuition can be especially helpful in the decision making process. The doula relationship is one of connection and trust, so notice who makes you feel most comfortable, confident, and respected.

Will A Doula Be On-Call For My Birth?

Yes, our Birth Doula Package includes on-call services so you can get support right when you need it! When you reach out, your doula will promptly reply. It’s so simple but so important to know that a compassionate and knowledgeable doula is just a text, phone call, or video away.

Being on-call means your doula has her cell phone on at all times and she’ll answer your communications 24/7 once you reach 37 weeks. It also means she is available to show up for in-person, hands-on doula support whenever you go into labor.

What Is A Doula, Portland

How Much Does A Doula Cost?

Many people want to know how much a birth doula costs in Portland, Oregon. The cost of our Birth Doula Package varies depending on several factors including the doula’s experience level, number of births attended, and other specialty skills and trainings. Currently, our fees for doula services are $1500, $1900, $2300, and $2700. All packages include discounts on our childbirth education and newborn care classes and on our postpartum doula services. Please Contact Us to discuss your investment in doula services.

If you are in need of free or discounted birth doulas services, we work in collaboration with Portland New Family Fund to provide services to people who otherwise could not afford them. 

Are Doulas Covered By Insurance?

Oregon is one of a few states in the nation that reimburses doula services through the state Medicaid system/Oregon Health Plan. At this time, doula services have to be provided through a Coordinated Care Organization or medical billing hub in order to qualify.

Some employer benefits like Carrot Fertility do pay for birth doulas and postpartum doulas. We are thrilled to report that our Birth First doulas are covered by Carrot. Find out more about how to use your Carrot Fertility benefits to pay for our birth and postpartum doulas services.

While doulas are non-medical providers without specific insurance billing codes, some private pay insurance companies reimburse for all or part of doulas services depending on the insurance provider and individual plan. Please check with your insurance provider to determine eligibility.

We hope that private pay insurance coverage becomes standard for doula services in the future, but in the meantime families can use their Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) to pay for a Birth First Doula.

How Do Doulas Work With Medical Providers?

A birth doula does not perform any medical procedures but does work collaboratively with the medical team to create a supportive atmosphere during your labor and birth.

An experienced doula knows how to create a good rapport with your nurses, midwives, and doctors while simultaneously advocating for your choices, needs, and desires.

A doula helps you to voice your needs and wishes without becoming confrontational or disrespectful, and works to maintain the delicate balance between respecting hospital protocols and ensuring your autonomy.

What Does A Doula Do?, Portland

What Is The Difference Between A Birth Doula And Midwife?

Doulas and midwives both believe that birth is a normal physiological process and work to improve people’s childbirth experiences, but their roles are quite distinct.

Midwives are medially trained professionals who are responsible for the physical health and safety of the birthing person and baby. Like doctors, midwives order medical tests, draw labs, take measurements, assess fetal heart tones, catch babies, and perform a wide range of clinical exams and procedures. Midwives also provide clients with information and emotional support, but their top priority is to ensure medical safety.

Birth Doulas, on the other hand, do not give medical advice or perform any clinical tasks. They are free of medical responsibilities and therefore able to focus entirely on improving the overall experience of birthing people and their partners. Doulas focus on the emotional, mental, and physical needs of their clients by taking the time to really listen and validate people’s feelings and experiences. Doulas provide comfort and guidance by offering understanding, evidence based information, and a wide variety of hands-on physical techniques that reduce discomfort and help labor to progress.

Kind Words From Our Lovely Clients

I highly recommend Birth First Doulas! They took the time to have a phone interview with me to listen to my story and needs before suggesting a few amazing doulas they thought would be a good fit. This step showed me Birth First goes above and beyond for their clients right from the start. The doula we chose is truly exceptional! It was important to me to find someone who knows their stuff, but who can also keep it real, and that is exactly what I found. Both my husband and I felt completely comfortable with our doula as she supported us in our prenatal journey, throughout labor, and beyond. I felt informed and in control every step of the way with her by my side, and I know she helped my husband become a more empowered birth partner.

Kaitlyn, Portland, Oregon

The best decision we made in our pregnancy journey was to hire a Birth First Doula. I had no idea if I would like having or need a doula, but after we had our baby girl, I continue to tell my friends and family it was invaluable. I wanted a medication-free birth and our birth doula helped me achieve my goal with grace and strength throughout the entire process. I didn’t think I could do it once active labor got going, but with her strength and assistance our vision became reality. I’m so glad we had an advocate once in the hospital and she also helped my husband stay calm and cool as he was a nervous first-time dad. Our Birth First Doula helped us achieve the most beautiful birth experience we could have ever imagined. Thank you!

Jessica, Portland, Oregon

“Our doula and the entire Birth First Doula team were amazing and we couldn’t imagine having our baby without all of their help. Our doula was always there for us before, during, and after the birth, and her calming, trusting, flexible and always listening style, coupled with her wealth of knowledge and responsiveness was a tremendous help. She was a key person on our birth team and truly instrumental during the entire birth journey. She went above and beyond, and we are so grateful! Birth First Doulas was very professional and prompt, and the classes that came with the Doula package were very insightful. Thank you Birth First Doulas for all the support. Would definitely highly recommend!

Sara, Portland, Oregon