strong-mama-question-mark.pngWhy should I take an in-person childbirth class?doula childbirth birth class Lamaze Auburn Opelika Alabama

Women who understand how their bodies work during birth are less fearful of and more excited about giving birth.  Expectant mothers who understand the physiological process of giving birth and who understand what comfort measures, mental/physical preparations, and interventions help them move through birth are more likely to have a satisfying experience.  Couples who take a childbirth preparation course know ahead of time what they want for their birth and can communicate that to their caregivers.  You can take an online class to learn these things, or you can spend hours on blogs and YouTube, but wouldn’t you rather have a course that is customized specifically for you and your partner? One that is tailored to your needs, goals, and comfort preferences? Strong Mama Birth creates a personal curriculum based on your needs and teaches it in the comfort of your own home.

strong-mama-question-mark.pngWhat is a doula, and what is the scope of her practice?

“Doula” is the Greek word for female servant or handmaiden.  There are several types of doulas —  antepartum doulas, birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and bereavement doulas.  But in all cases, a doula serves you by tending to your needs during pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum.  These needs may be physical or emotional.

All doulas “mother” the mother-to-be by nurturing her with kind words and comfort techniques.  A bereavement doula companions a mother through grief and provides information to lessen fear. An antepartum doula supports a mother in a high-risk pregnancy by providing practical services to make life easier and providing information to alleviate fear and promote lower stress levels.

Strong Mama 1-063A doula is not a medical professional and performs no medical procedures for the mother.  She is present as a support person only, and strives to be an effective member of the birthing and care team.  A doula cannot speak for or make decisions for the birthing couple and cannot give medical advice. A doula can facilitate communication between the care team and client so the client can make an informed decision.  A professional doula will never judge or influence a mother’s decisions.  A professional doula will maintain her client’s confidentiality in all ways, and will keep the birth experience and birth story private.

Strong Mama Birth encourages you to view DONA, International’s Standards of Practice for birth doulas. We adhere strictly to this scope of practice.

strong-mama-question-mark.pngWhy is your business called Strong Mama?

Very simply because we know when a woman is a steward of her pregnancy and birth experience, she realizes her strength. It does not matter if a woman has a fast, easy labor or a difficult, long one; one with or without drugs; one in the hospital, birth tub, or ambulance;  a vaginal or cesarean birth; a single or multiple birth.  Mom is strong in all of these cases when she participates in the process.  You are not strong because of how you give birth; you are strong because you give birth. When a mom realizes she truly is the best mama for her baby, that strength can’t be tamped down, and she parents with confidence.

strong-mama-question-mark.pngWhat is your birth philosophy?

Strong Mama Birth’s birth philosophy is [insert your birth philosophy].  When it comes to serving you during your birth, your philosophy is the only one that matters.

strong-mama-question-mark.pngWhy should I hire a doula?

Your time is valuable. You may be overwhelmed by all of the information on pregnancy and birth.  A childbirth educator and doula can synthesize it all down based on your birth wishes and needs. And then she comes with you when you give birth. She acts as your guide and never leaves your side.

In many cultures, including our own, women supported women in childbirth and beyond. After the industrial revolution, those abilities and skills were lost as a collective culture, and modern doulas are bringing them back. There are many benefits to being supported during your birthing.  Doulas help mothers affect their birth outcomes. Childbirth can be unpredictable, but care and support for the birthing mom shouldn’t be. When you have professional, trained, and continuous support through pregnancy, birth, and immediately after your baby is born, you have a greater likelihood of feeling satisfied with the experience, and that helps you begin your relationship with your newborn in a healthy and emotionally satisfying way.

strong-mama-question-mark.pngShouldn’t I just let the hospital staff take care of me and guide me?

You certainly can.  Your care providers should and do take care of your medical needs. But what about yours and your partner’s emotional, physical, or logistical needs? You can decide what is and is not important to you, as an individual mother, when you give birth, even if that means not hiring a doula, not taking a childbirth class, and showing up on the big day ready for whatever happens. But whether you choose birth with routine interventions, intervention-free, or somewhere in between, you can always be a part of the process. Research indicates that when an expectant mom is a part of the decision-making process, her satisfaction with her birth is significantly higher. This occurs regardless of which path her birthing follows or even whether the outcome of her birth was as had hoped.

Ashley often uses the analogy that hiring a birth doula is like hiring a tour guide through a foreign country called “Childbirth.” Some couples want to use a guide book and a stack of maps and blaze their own trail, looking up language in a translation book. Others prefer to hire a tour guide to show them the beauties of the new country in an organized way and to help translate for them. No matter what you choose, don’t go to a foreign country and lay in your hotel room! You will be much less satisfied with your experience.

strong-mama-question-mark.pngWill you speak for me?  I am not really good at speaking up for myself or expressing my wishes.

No. It actually is not a doula’s job to advocate for you in that way. We are advocates, but because we are not medical professionals, we can’t speak to the staff for you. Your other support person or your nurse can be that type of advocate for you. Your nurse can speak up on your behalf to your doctor or midwife.  A doula, by definition, is a trained birth support person. Instead, your doula can help you utilize your own voice, your support person, and your nurse to be your own advocate.  A doula can amplify your voice.  What this means is that if you are speaking to your birth team, your doula can be sure the birth team hears and understands you. In this way, a doula helps a mama find her own voice, ask her own questions, communicate with her care team and partner, and make her own decisions. Remember, mama, you are strong! You are strong because you can take charge of your maternity care and the care of your baby!  You are your baby’s and your own advocate.

strong-mama-question-mark.pngWill you be my doula even if I decide I want to use epidural analgesia or IV analgesics?

Absolutely.  It is your doula’s job to help you feel safe and comfortable and to support your wishes.  Many people believe that doulas are only needed when an expectant mom wants a birth without pain medications.  But your doula’s job is to help you have the birth you imagine and hopefully one that is satisfying. Your doula is trained in comforting moms with epidurals. She adjusts the atmosphere with lighting, music, and massage.  And depending on the epidural dose, she can help you into positions that help baby move and rotate.

strong-mama-question-mark.pngWill you be my doula if I need an induction?

Absolutely. If you and your medical team agree that an induction will be safer for you or your baby, your doula will be ready to help make your induction more comfortable and do whatever she can to help it progress.


Why have you stopped taking birth clients in Auburn/Opelika? I love my clients and want to still serve them through private childbirth and breastfeeding classes!  But after working for 4 years as an independent doula in Auburn/Opelika, I have decided to focus on running and growing my non-profit, the Alabama Prison Birth Project, which will soon be a part of the Ostara Initiative, a national organization promoting women’s perinatal care in prisons across the country. I can’t accept birth clients locally because of the unpredictable nature of birth. I will be on call for my clients in the prison.  If you are a former client and are pregnant again, please call me and we will see what can be arranged.  If you are looking for another doula in our area, please visit them here: