ROLE OF A BIRTH DOULA
- Meets with birthing person & partner one or more times prior to birth
- Familiarizes herself with concerns, needs, and birth preferences
- Maintains contact through email text or phone providing info, resources & support
- Assists in labor when invited by birthing person & partner, stays through the birth
- Facilitates communication between parents/caregivers
- Adheres to the parent’s preferred birth plan, unless otherwise medically necessary at parents’ request
- During labor, the doula advises on comfort measures
- Helps facilitate space for breast/chest-feeding within first hour after birth
- Schedules one follow-up postpartum visit with new parents
What is a birth doula?
The word “doula” is an ancient Greek term meaning ‘a woman who serves’. Today, a birth doula is a trained childbirth assistant or coach. As a labor companion, she supports both the birthing person and their partner with non-medical services such as emotional support, physical assistance for comfort and progress in labor, ongoing reassurance, and assistance in facilitating or enhancing communication with caregivers.
A doula is an incredible resource to have at your side throughout the latter part of your pregnancy and as a companion through your labor and birth. She is your advocate, and as an experienced birth professional, can ease you through each stage and decision that needs to be made along the way to help make your birth experience a positive, empowering one.
Preparing for labor
During our monthly or bi-monthly prenatal visits (in-home or virtual), we will talk about your desires, hopes, needs, and fears about birth, and I will provide you with activities to help you and your partner bond with your baby in utero. We will also discuss what roles you expect your partner to play (as well as your partner’s comfort level), expectations of me as your doula, help with formulating or reworking former birth preferences from a prior birth, discuss details of birth (setting, caregiver, who will be at the birth, etc.), discuss and practice comfort techniques, and have in-depth discussions on the phases and what to expect during labor and birth, and discussing a postpartum plan.
In addition to birth services, I provide basic infant feeding education prenatally.
Your birth experience
In early or active labor, call me to meet you (whether you wish that to be at your home or the hospital). During labor, I will assist or advise on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement/positioning, providing massage, hot or cold packs, beverages, warm baths, showers, guided visualizations, and other requested comforts. I will remain through the birth, help you to initiate your baby’s first latch, and will take photos while you admire and bond with your newborn.
A doula or professional labor support person is a beneficial companion in any birth environment (hospital, home, etc.), for both medicated and nondedicated births, scheduled and unscheduled c-section births, for first-time parents or established parents, whether single, partnered, or LBGTQ+.
Settling into family life with baby
During our postpartum visit 3-5 days after birth, we will talk about your birth experience together, as well as follow up on how breast/chest-feeding and self-care is going for both birthing person and partner.
Professionally Shot Birth Photography
With over 12 years experience as a journalistic photographer, I am always anticipating the next beautiful shot that will encapsulate the moment.
I am quick on my feet with a camera while still delivering top-notch, uninterrupted doula support. Most of my clients don’t even notice that I am taking pictures, but are always so grateful to be able to relive this incredible experience privately with their loved ones through these once-in-a-lifetime image captures.
I often deliver upwards of 20+ photos from attending a birth, but amount is contingent on length of labor and when I am invited to join you. All professionally edited images are then delivered to you via a thumb drive within one month of your baby’s birth, and are yours to keep and distribute or print as you choose.
Reiki Touch Therapy
What is reiki?
Reiki uses the body’s most natural positive human response to touch, which gently relaxes muscles, clears mental clutter, releases tension, and promotes soothing calm and self-healing. Professionally, reiki is done by a trained reiki master. It is performed using only the Reiki Master’s hands through a simple series of hand placements, touching the client or hovering over the body. Sessions can be either 60 or 90 minutes in length.
Reiki is simply using the client’s own natural body rhythms and energy channels to balance out or clear blockages that are causing pain or preventing true healing from taking place. In fact, reiki is known to help relax and benefit both mother and baby during sessions. I offer one 60-minute session per month after hire.
Infant Feeding Support
It’s never too early to begin educating yourself on life with a newborn, and especially the art of feeding your new baby.
According to a New York-based hospital report, of the families who had attended a prenatal breast/chest-feeding class, 83 percent were successfully breast/chest-feeding upon discharge. Breast/chest-feeding education doesn’t just give you the basics of positioning and how to pump, but the realities of newborn care, and how to support the breast/chest-feeding person, and the tools to design a personalized feeding plan that fits your lifestyle, goals, and family dynamics.
I include a two-hour, in-home instruction on basics of breast/chest-feeding and infant feeding as part of on of our prenatal monthly or bimonthly visits.
At each postpartum visit, I will provide an observation of a feeding, compassionate troubleshooting regarding cause of concern (which might include an evaluation of infant’s oral anatomy, and lactating person’s breast/nipple), assistance with bottle feeding or combination feeding if needed, support with pumping and/or breastfeeding goals for returning to work, in order to ensure a healthy milk supply and breast/chest-feeding relationship, and an individualized, holistic feeding care plan for lactating person, partner and baby.
Health & Nutrition Coaching
We also use our prenatal visits as a time to talk about your personal wellness needs for your pregnancy, goals, questions and concerns. This is essential for my understanding how I as your lifestyle coach and nutritionist can help you gain peace of mind and lay the groundwork for healthy lifestyle choices that will benefit you and your growing family! You will get an overview of prenatal wellness guidelines and resources for further self-education related to nutrition, meal planning, exercise, supplementation, breast/chest-feeding, and more.
Having a doula during labor was the best decision. My labor was long and stressful but Lindsey was able to keep me calm and in control of the situation. Without her I feel the pain would’ve become unbearable. I was able to use the relaxation techniques she taught me during my C-section. I highly recommend using Lindsey during your labor experience.
I did a reiki session with Lindsey and it was my first time. Lindsey made me feel very comfortable during the whole session and made sure she was targeting areas that I felt needed some relief. Because I didn’t know much, she also explained what Reiki was in a very understandable way, which was nice. I felt very calm and relaxed after our session. I would highly recommend Lindsey if anyone is looking for reiki!
Lindsey Gemme is awesome! She really understands women and pregnancy, the importance of good nutrition, and how our minds and bodies are connected. She is incredibly knowledgeable, and caring.
- Monthly prenatal phone/virtually appointments through the second trimester, twice monthly starting third trimester until birth either virtually or in-home
- Telephone/text/email support throughout your pregnancy to discuss any questions or concerns
- 24-hour on-call availability two weeks before due date until birth, and a backup doula in the rare event that I am unavailable
- Nutrition education and coaching
- One 60-minute prenatal reiki session monthly in-person or virtually *(additional fees may apply if I am traveling to your home). Want to purchase additional reiki sessions? Click here for pricing details.
- At least 20 professionally edited photos of the birth (depending on length of labor, ability of doula to attend birth or enter operating room (OR), etc.)
- Two-hour, in-home instruction on basics of infant feeding including:
- What to expect with newborn to six months
- Individualized infant feeding plan based on breastfeeding goals
- Comfortable feeding positions
- Pumping & storing milk
- Paced bottle feeding
- Back to work breast/chest-feeding plan
- Breast physiology
- Benefits for breast/chest-feeding person & baby
- Positions and techniques
- Feeding cues
- Signs of a proper latch
- Pumping and storing your milk
- Signs of infection
- Return-to-work feeding plan
- Nipple care
- … and more!
- Postpartum support, which includes:
- Initial feeding visit (up to 2 hours), and one follow-up visit (either in person or virtual)
- One 90-minute reiki healing session (in-person or virtual)
- Phone consultations for any concerns or questions