"Being part of a birth team with Shalene is a pleasure! She is intuitive, calm, gentle, and an effective team player. Her advice and skills are complementary to the care given by the midwife or physician and can help promote a peaceful environment whether birthing at home, hospital, or birthing center." -Hannah Mann, Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Images and Video By: Laura Swift Photography)
The word "Doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, spiritual, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. We know that for centuries, women had the support and nurturing care of other experienced women to help them through their birth process. Birth Doulas provide this valuable service for the benefit of women and their husbands.
A Birth Doula:
- Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life.
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.
- Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth.
- Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor.
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions.
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical care providers.
- Perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman's memory of her birth experience.
Local Doula Services
- 1 Free initial interview to meet and discuss our role at your birth.
- 1-2 Prenatal visits to discuss your plans for birth and talk about fears and concerns.
- Two, one hour, bodywork sessions (1 prenatal and 1 postpartum).
- Continuous support at the onset of labor (If an emergency arises and I am unavailable to attend your birth, I will arrange for a partner Doula.)
- Basic photos at birth if desired.
- Immediately after birth, we offer breastfeeding support and any other support until you and your partner are comfortable for us to leave.
- We offer a postpartum visit a few days/ weeks after birth in your home and phone follow-up support. We bring a massage table for a postpartum massage in your home.
Tools and Support:
- Aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, massage, and pain coping support during labor and delivery.
- A beautiful wooden birth stool, round birth ball, peanut ball, massage tools, and many other tools in our bag available to support your birth.
We recommend choosing the package including the online childbirth courses where you will learn pain coping practices and to prepare your heart and mind to give birth.
Labor Support Bodywork:
- Relaxation strokes
- Jaw release techniques
- Lower back pain compression
- Movements with massage, such as squatting and pressure points to encourage the progression of labor.
- Massage has been shown to reduce labor time, labor pain, and even technical intervention.
Doulas do NOT:
There are a few characteristics a doula is not. She is not acting as a nurse or midwife, so she does not provide clinical care such as doing examinations on you or checking your baby's heartbeat. The support a doula provides fits together with, but does not replace, the care of your doctor, midwife, or nurses. She also does not come between your husband or partner. She does not make decisions for you, or speak for you. She will encourage and help guide your partner to support and empower you! This is your birth, your baby, your life! A doula supports you by providing information and explanations you may want about your choices, but it's always you who decides what's best for you.
Twins "The Kernels" Natural Birth
Clips of an amazing natural twin labor! For risk management purposes, mama was taken into the OR when she was ready to push to deliver both vaginally (in case the second was breach).
“I had the pleasure of working with both Shalene and Kimberly during my pregnancy. They are each a calming presence, kind, compassionate, good listeners, and a great support system. It was beyond helpful to have the confidence of women who would check in with me, normalize my feelings, and offer me solutions to my worries or pains. I truly do not know how I would have gotten through these obstacles if not for these two, and at times that just meant having them there to literally and figuratively hold my hand. The Rhythm of Birth team made sure that I was heard and that I stayed in touch with my wants and needs. Additionally, my husband, who had concerns that having a doula would lessen his importance during delivery, felt like he was able to be more helpful with their guidance than he would have ever been without. He also now shares the sentiment that he "doesn't know what people do without a doula." ~ Emily
Virtual Doula Services
Virtual Birth Doula
Maybe you don’t have a doula in your area, or you want to have a more intimate space with just you and your partner (and the care providers). Having our support a phone call away can help:
- For birth preparation.
- To answer all of your questions.
- To relieve your anxiety and fears.
- To check-in and help you discern what you are feeling as you are anticipating labor.
- To offer guidance on when to go to the hospital.
- Share thoughts being discussed by care providers about your labor options.
- To even have your partner (or yourself) call to talk you through contractions . . . and more!
There are many ways we support pregnant families as they prepare for labor and birth. There are lots of discussions around facts, choices, life experiences, life skills, ideals, fears, presence, support and letting go as well as ways to facilitate labor and pain coping practices.
Besides the “practical” ways to prepare for birth and skills needed, our desire is to help you prepare mentally and emotionally for the intensity of birth, however you plan to birth.
We help you make informed decisions throughout pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. We help your partner (if you have one) feel prepared to support you and help you feel confident to advocate for yourself each step of the way.
Our interaction will consist of asking questions, careful listening, sharing resources, and helping sort out options and ideas without judgement. We believe women need and benefit most from talking with a trusted, experienced professional who has the passion and patience to consider who they are, and the intimate nature of both pregnancy and birth. We are honored to support your birth and postpartum journey.
Be sure to check out our online childbirth and postpartum courses that are included in the virtual doula package.
"I was so glad I had Shalene to call to help calm my wife when hard decisions had to be made during labor. We texted and called her multiple times. She offered sound guidance and calmed my wife each step during labor."
Virtual Birth Doula Services Include:
- Free 20 Minute Meet and Greet via Zoom (All calls will be video via Zoom).
- 2 video prenatal consultations.
- Unlimited text and video call support during labor to remind you of the pain coping practices you learned in the online courses, give you ideas for positioning to encourage labor progress, and to give your partner ideas of how to support you.
- Help coming up with questions for health care provider.
- Review of medical interventions, options, risks and benefits.
- Review of tools to ease discomfort and help labor to progress.
- Learn pain-coping practices to cope with the intensity of labor.
- Access to online 3 part Childbirth/ Postpartum Courses including live video calls for learning to cope with the pain of labor and help you feel 100% ready for birth and postpartum!
- Consultations postpartum for processing your birth story.
- Calls to discuss inevitable questions during the fourth trimester.
Local Postpartum Care
Dr. Katie Edson
Dr. Katie is a Family Medicine physician in Direct Primary Care in Christiansburg, VA. Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a membership model of healthcare that removes the entanglements of insurance companies in order to provide more personalized care and direct access to your physician. Dr. Katie offers a postpartum package of services to members and non-members, including weekly visits for mother and newborn in the comfort of your own home for the first 2 months after birth. All family medicine services are included in the price, however tests and medications are not. Non-members have the option to become full DPC members after the package is complete.