Doulas: Tiny miracles, big job

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s May 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here

article by Erica Shea

Jamie Canning does a big job for some pretty tiny people. She is a doula, and while her focus is on caring for a mother and family through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery, she realizes it’s the baby who got her the job.

Doulas provide non-medical support for expecting families. They accompany mothers through the pregnancy by attending prenatal appointments, teaching labor strategies, and translating medical terminology into layman’s terms. Additionally, they provide emotional and informational support before, during, and after baby is born, including bereavement services.

Jamie has always been interested in pregnancy and childbirth, and after a good experience with a doula for her first child; she knew it was something she wanted to do for other women. “She helped with all kinds of arrangements: cars at the airport so my husband and family could fly in and get straight to the hospital, talking me through a tricky choice with a new doctor. Mostly, she let me know that I had options.”

As owner of Tiny Miracles, Jamie makes sure to focus on all levels of care for her clients. During the prenatal phase, she meets with clients and their partners to work out multiple plans for birthing day. “We plan for all the options, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. We know birth is unpredictable.” She is certified to teach her clients hypnobirthing, a practice of deep self-relaxation, to help moms approach labor less fearfully

Jamie works hard to keep everyone comfortable and let them know their options during labor and delivery. Her attention shifts to supporting the mother through massage, breathing techniques, and explanation of the medical procedures. She shows partners how to help and she even finds ways to include other family members, if it’s what the mother wants. “New and even experienced moms don’t know what’s normal. They are so grateful to have someone there who knows what’s going on.”

And when the new baby goes home, Jamie is there to help, too. Her postpartum services include optional overnight stays so parents can rest; nursing and baby care support, and advice from someone who’s been there before. “It’s very isolating after having a baby,” Jamie notes, and even with family and friends coming by, the support and care from a professional doula can make the postpartum phase easier.

Doulas can be an asset for any pregnant woman – whether it’s her first or fifth child. And they work in conjunction with your medical team to help you have the birth experience you want, whether at home or in a hospital, medicated or not. There is no better way to welcome your tiny miracle into the world than with a caring, supportive team by your side.

Wondering if a doula is right for you? 

Jamie is happy to talk with expecting families to see if her services are a good match for your needs. Also, keep in mind, studies have shown that with a doula present, moms are more likely to have shortened labor and fewer operative deliveries. Babies benefit, too, with shortened hospital stays and an easier introduction to breastfeeding. (source: American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)