Annual State of the Harrison Address

It’s that time of year again! The time of year where I hijack the WMC website and use it as my own little mommy blog. #Freeloading #WhyUseABabyBook And show off my boobs. I do that, too. On the 26th of … Continue reading

WMC’s Nurture & Nourish Retreat

Nourish, verb 1. to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth. 2. to cherish, foster, keep alive, etc. 3. to strengthen, build up, or promote Nurture, verb 1. to feed and protect … Continue reading

Listen To Your Mother – Auditions

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2015 Southeast Texas ‘Listen To Your Mother’ show! If you haven’t heard of Listen to Your Mother, then take a few minutes to check out their YouTube channel, here. The show is a … Continue reading

WMC Doula Collective

Whole Mothering Center is pleased to launch the first cooperative doula practice in Southeast Texas! We’ve had this in the works for a while now, and are so happy to be able to share the news with you! WMC is … Continue reading

At the Expo: a FREEBIE, a Seminar and other fun!


Whole Mothering Center made an appearance at The Cumulus Baby and Family Expo this past Saturday. WMC doulas, Amy Jones and Emily Ochoa, were there to meet and talk with new and expectant parents along with WMC founding mother, Heather Thomas and our featured blogger, Anna Sites. This was Whole Mothering Center’s first year participating in the event and we were so honored to have been asked to present a seminar on “Preparing for Birth and Beyond”.

We drew for and gave away a $575.00 value doula package during the expo. Lots of hopeful familes entered to win and a very sweet first time expectant mom, Dorian Chapman, won the package. Emily and Amy are looking forward to working with her as she prepares to meet her new baby girl in a couple of months. We will be following Dorian in our blog as she gets closer to her due date and updating you all with frequent blog posts after our meetings with her and her husband. Dorian is planning a natural, intervention-free birth in a Beaumont area hospital with Dr. Kevin Waddell, who just happens to be one of our favorite local OBs. Dr. Waddell stopped by our booth at the expo and spent a bit chatting with us and we were all so pleased to see him. Dorian’s going to have a great birth with him and we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with her and offer her support in achieving her goal of a natural birth! As a bonus, we’ll be photographing her birth and we’ll share those photos in our blog as soon as we can get them uploaded once her baby arrives earthside…all of us at WMC are eager to meet Miss Avery Ryan sometime in October!

During our seminar, we began with talking about Whole Mothering Center’s history and services that we offer to the local community. We moved on to speaking about birth plans, including how to write one, why they’re important and how Whole Mothering Center helps our clients work through writing a birth plan. We discussed different pregnancy and labor providers like doulas, midwives and obstetricians, how each of those providers serves pregnant and birthing women, how their roles overlap and how to integrate each into pregnancy and birthing experiences. Informed consent was a primary focus of our seminar and we defined it, talked about how it is obtained, how to revoke consent, what the responsibilities are of the provider who obtains informed consent from a patient as well as what the responsibilities are of a patient granting it, and how doulas can help their clients as they grant their medical providers their informed consent. We also presented birthing location options available to local women. For Southeast Texas, these include birthing at home, at a birth center and at area hospitals which have labor and delivery units. We talked about the pros and cons of each location and what services providers who work in those locations can provide to birthing women. Finally, we stressed the importance of women surrounding themselves with a supportive community as they move through pregnancy and into new mommy-hood. Finding a tribe is such an important part of becoming a mother and Whole Mothering Center offers several free opportunities for local women to find like-minded mama friends who can mentor them and offer advice as they navigate all the scary “firsts” that come along with becoming a new parent! For more information, visit our services page!

Frequently Asked Questions About Doulas

What is a Doula?

Doulas provide emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner during pregnancy, labor, birth and early postpartum period. They are called many things including: Childbirth Assistant, Labor Support Professional, Birth Assistant, Birth Companion, etc., but the description we like best is “walks with mother”.

Basically, your doula is there to ‘walk’ with you on your journey through pregnancy, childbirth and early mothering to help educate, support and validate the choices you make for your birth and family. In addition, your doula is also available to walk with you as a ‘mother’s helper’ when you need of help or support with your children at other times.

Why do I need a Doula?

According to “Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth”, by Kennell, Klaus, and Kennell (1993), having a doula can help reduce your risk of forceps assisted delivery and cesarean section, shorten the length of your labor and decrease requests for pain medications.

Women who have a doula attending them during their labor are:
26% less likely to give birth by cesarean section
41% less likely to give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
28% less likely to use any pain medications and
33% less likely to be dissatisfied with or negatively rate their birth experience

(Hodnett and colleagues 2004)

Why use a Doula?

In order to have a positive birth experience, most women need continuous labor support. Although Obstetrical Nurses and Midwives are experienced in dealing with a laboring woman’s emotional and physical needs, they can seldom guarantee the support they provide will last throughout the labor – especially in hospital settings where shift changes, coffee breaks, heavy paperwork and busy nights regularly occur. Some OB nurses handle
up to six laboring couples at a time. Midwives may be able to offer more labor support, but they too have clinical duties to which they must attend.

The father or partner may be better able to provide continuous support but usually has little actual experience in dealing with the forces of labor. Even fathers who have had intensive preparation are often surprised that the amount of work involved is often more than enough for two people. Even more important, many fathers experience the birth as an emotional journey of their own and find it hard to be objective in such a situation.

The laboring mother’s mother or mother-in-law, likewise may be better able to provide continuous support, but her own experiences and knowledge of birth are not always useful to the laboring mother, especially when the laboring mother’s ideals or expectations in childbirth differ from those of her mother or mother-in-law.

A professional doula can help bridge the communication gap between family members and help keep the mother focused on her birth and provide the emotional support to help the mother achieve the birth she wants. A doula can also act as a liaison between the laboring couple and their medical support team.

What is a Doula’s role?

Your doula can be as involved as you want her to be. Before hiring her, your doula will go over the services that she provides and discuss with you your expectations and desires for her role in your birth. It is important to remember that there are limitations to a doula’s role; for example: a doula does not speak for a couple, provide medical or clinical skills or act in any unprofessional manner. Most certifying organizations have Policies of Practice that each doula must follow. The Doulas of the Whole Mothering Center have chosen to certify through Doulas of North America (DONA) (see website link below).

A doula may provide:

  • explanations of medical procedures
  • emotional support
  • advice during pregnancy
  • exercise and physical suggestions to make pregnancy more comfortable
  • help with preparation of a birth plan
  • massage and other non-pharmacological pain relief measures
  • positioning suggestions during labor and birth
  • support for the labor partner so that they can love and encourage the laboring woman
  • help in avoiding unnecessary interventions
  • help with breastfeeding preparation and beginnings
  • a written record of the birth
  • many other services that vary from doula to doula

Will the Doula replace the father?

Some fathers or partners are concerned they may be sidelined or replaced by the Doula during labor. Although individual situations vary, and one should question a prospective doula about her philosophy. Generally the answer to this question is no – she will not replace him. Studies have shown that fathers usually participate more actively during labor in the presence of a Doula than without one. A responsible Doula supports and
encourages the father and enhances his support style rather than replaces him.

When should I hire a Birth Doula?

Retaining the services of a Doula is recommended at any point from the onset of pregnancy that still allows adequate time for the Doula to become a fully integrated member of the labor support team. Ideally, our feeling is that the earlier a Doula is retained, the more time there is to decide what role she will play in your process of becoming a mother.

When should I hire a Postpartum Doula?

Since your Postpartum Doula will be working closely with you and your family in your home, she should ideally be familiar with your family dynamic and the physical layout of your home so enough time should be allowed for all parties involved to be comfortable working closely together. We recommend retaining the services of a Postpartum Doula no later than four weeks before your due date. In some instances, your labor and postpartum
Doula will be the same person so that your relationship with her will already be well established for your postpartum period.

What training does a Doula receive?

There are several certifying organizations through which Doulas may receive part of their training. Additionally, an integral part of a Doula’s training is her own personal pregnancy, birth and mothering experience and the experience she has gained in assisting other mothers as a doula. While many doulas choose to seek certification through a recognized body, certification is not required by any organization or state in the US.

All of our Doulas are certified through or are working towards certification through the nationally recognized doula certification organization of their choice. They also bring with them their own experiences and the insights they’ve gained through working with countless mothers in various other programs and capacities in the Southeast Texas area. Doulas working with the Whole Mothering Center also undergo a period of hands-on
apprentice training with a more experienced Doula during the certification process.

You can find out more about Doula Training and Certification through these agencies:

How much does it cost to retain a Doula?

Doula services range in price from area to area and doula to doula. Some of this is based on the experience your doula has, some is based on the going rate in your area.

Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula packages begin at $575.00. We also offer an hourly rate for emergency and after-hours services for postpartum doula work and are happy to work with you on payment arrangements. For those who are experiencing financial hardship, we also offer a sliding scale of fees and are willing to barter for services (ask us for our wish list for ideas of services we’re willing to barter for). One reason we have chosen to offer this service is so that any mother who wishes to have the support of a Childbirth Doula or a Postpartum Doula will have the opportunity to have those services. Our goal is to help support mothers, and we don’t feel that a mother’s options should be based on her ability to pay.

I’ve heard some doctors don’t work with/hospitals have banned doulas.

Yes, that’s true – thankfully, that is not the case in our area. We have yet to come across a care provider in our area who is unwilling to work with a doula and have had positive experiences working with nurses and hospital staff with previous clients. We go out out of our way to form a professional and friendly working relationship with our client’s care providers and to communicate cooperatively and respectfully with each medical professional involved in your care. This works to facilitate a positive experience for you and for our future clients. We don’t believe that doctors or other medical providers are our or your enemy and we don’t treat them as such.

There are some hospitals that don’t ‘allow’ doulas; however, as the mother, you have the right to have whomever you want with you to support your labor. A hospital ‘ban’ on support person violates a mother’s choice and rights, and is unethical. We feel that such bans will surely be challenged.

You can read more about bans here:

Is your question missing from this list? If so, please email us and we will add it!