As a new parent there feels like a never ending list of needs…decisions about pregnancy, decisions about birth and we haven’t even started on the long list of decisions once your little one gets hear!
But one person I firmly believe every parent should have on their team as they walk into birth is a doula. A doula offers support, encouragement and resources both before and during birth as well as postpartum. I will dig into some reasons for hiring a doula but if you want to just skip down to my list of the best doulas in OKC click here to get there fast
What is a doula?
A doula is a trained professional who is there to walk alongside expecting mamas and their families by providing physical, emotional and informational support to them during their time of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. A doula does not take the place of a partner or medical professional. Doulas work in all varieties of birth settings and can help provide emotional and physical support whether you give birth at home, in a birthing center or in a hospital. They are there to advocate for the mother’s preferences and wishes during the child birthing process.
How does a doula get trained?
While doulas are not medical professionals and generally do not provide medical care they are there to walk alongside your medical team and work collaboratively with them to bring out the best possible outcome.
Doulas can get a variety of trainings – with some specializing in pregnancy and birth support while others specialize in helping during the sacred postpartum time. Ashlee Byrd shares,
“There are so many different options for training and gaining experience as a doula. Some doulas decide to go through a certification process. There are tons of organizations out there that train doulas. Typically a training will consist of some book work/education and a workshop of some sort. Some organizations require you to provide proof of attending some births before certifying and some do not.
To gain hands on experience, some doulas offer mentorship programs to train newer doulas.
Other people just jump into being a doula. In most areas, you don’t need to be certified to be a doula. It can definitely help as you’re beginning your journey though!”
There are a variety of Doulas in OKC including birth and postpartum and they can be so helpful and gift to meeting your families varying needs.
Related Read: 5 best birth classes in OKC
Ways a doula can give support
- Emotional support – think an incredible cheerleader by your side! A doula is there to give encouragement, comfort, reassurance and suggestions during the final stages of pregnancy and the childbirth process. Whether giving ideas of something to do to take your mind off or better ways to focus or just to let you know you can do this, a doula is there to support parents through the labor.
- Physically – A doula is trained to help with pain management during labor. They can help with breathing techniques, relaxation ideas, massage, ways to move your body and good a hip squeeze during labor. They usually have a bunch of suggestions ready for any situation that can help you achieve your birth plan goals.
- Informationally – if desired a doula can help give you evidence-based information about decisions, options and choices you have to make during childbirth to enable you to understand and make informed decisions.
- Advocacy – a doula is your advocate! They are there to advocate for your wishes and preferences and help with communicating to the medical staff your wishes and that your right to make decision is respected.
- Postpartum – most doulas provide follow ups after birth though a postpartum doula is a bit different. The follow ups include breastfeeding support, newborn care and emotional support.
I have a supportive partner – Why should I hire a doula?
A supportive birth partner is incredibly helpful to have in walking alongside you during labor. But, they are also highly emotionally involved in this process and they also need to be to rest, eat, etc…! Being a support for both you and your partner is one huge benefit of having a doula on your birth team. Your partner also likely has limited knowledge about the birth process, medical procedures, hospital protocol, etc…and a doula can help navigate those waters and take some of the pressure of your partner so they can be more relaxed and present with you. A doula is specially trained and has knowledge and experience about all of those things. One of their roles is to inform you and your partner of options throughout the pregnancy and birth process.
Another value of a doula is assisting with pain management during labor. A partner usually has very little knowledge on ways to manage the pain well. A doula is amazing for that! They can help the partners feel more confident in the birthing space which enables them to give you, the mother, better support.
A 2008 study (fascinating to read!) showed substantial improvement in outcomes for women who had both a birth partner and doula compared to only have the partner by the mother’s side.
At what point in the pregnancy do you hire a doula?
I asked a few local doulas this question and here is a great answer from Ashlee with Nested Oak Birth Services.
She says, “It seems that most people contact me somewhere between 6 and 20 weeks typically. The more experienced doulas will book up faster than others. If experience is something you’re looking for in a doula I would contact them as early as possible. I will add that’s it’s also never too late in pregnancy to reach out to a doula, aside from the chance they will be full for your due date. So if you’re at the end of your pregnancy, but thinking about hiring one-don’t hesitate to reach out! If you don’t ask, the answer will be no “
Personal experience here – I was one of those who hired doulas late in pregnancy when my initial birth plans had to go out the window. 🙂 It was one of the best things I did!
How do I hire a doula?
Reach out and contact them! Interview a few – personality is so important in connecting with your doula. You want someone you feel comfortable with and can trust. Here’s a great resource on questions to ask when hiring a doula. Also ask if they have past clients that you can reach out to.
Related Read: What to pack in your hospital bag for having a baby
The Best Doulas in OKC
Below you will find my list of the best doulas in OKC that serve mamas and their families in the great area. I personally reached out to these doulas, asked them questions, and have provided their answers below. I have listed them in random order with no specific preference given. With a doula it is important to find one that you connect with so scroll through for an introduction to each doula and then use the links to their websites to learn more and get in touch with them!
Ashlee Byrd – Nested Oak Birth Services
What Services Do You Provide?
“I support families having hospital or out of hospital births. I have two meetings with my clients before they have their babies. In these meetings we go over preparing your mind, heart, body, and space for labor and birth as well as some postpartum prep. While I provide basic education, my focus during these meetings is taking it a step deeper to engage and prepare the heart and family for the transformation that’s taking place. I join my clients in person when they are in active labor and support them through the entirety of their labor.
Support looks different for every family, but usually includes physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual support and guidance along the way. I help my clients navigate when to leave for the hospital/place of birth, provide guidance for navigating the hospital setting and advocating for personal preferences along the way. I provide tools and knowledge for comfort measures and labor progress and give dads/support people tips and support along the way as well. After the baby is born, I help with breastfeeding and bonding for about an hour. 7-10 days postpartum, I visit my clients at their home to check in on how they’re healing physically, how their doing emotionally, and provide any support needed for feeding their babies.”
What got you started doing doula and lactation services?
“When I was pregnant with my first child, I was really young and uneducated. I didn’t know very many people who had babies, so I just went with the doctor a family member had used. After taking an online birth class through a local hospital, I started to grow interested in the possibility of unmedicated birth. In the class, there were three birth videos presented. A c-section, an epidural, and an unmedicated delivery. I watched the husband and wife work intimately as a team to bring their baby into the world during the unmedicated delivery and it lit something on fire inside me. I mentioned to my doctor I was interested in an unmedicated birth and he laughed at me and told me that “I could definitely try”.
After talking to a friend who had recently had a baby, she recommended I hire a doula. At this point, I had never heard a doula but was definitely interested in the idea of someone supporting my husband and I through labor. We hired the doula my friend had hired and she recommended I change care providers. This was late in my pregnancy, but we went for it and switched to the midwives when they were at OU.
My son’s birth was a whirlwind and not necessarily what I was expecting. But with the support of my husband and our doula, I had an unmedicated birth with the exception of a medically necessary induction with Pitocin. Even though I didn’t have the spontaneous birth I had planned, my experience was exactly what I needed. The two years prior to my son’s birth had been really hard on me. I walked through a season of depression and I felt an intense lack of purpose. I had zero confidence in myself and no real direction for my life. My identity had been stripped away from me through an unexpected failure and I was trying to process who I was. Through my birth, I began to believe in myself again. I had accomplished something SO big. I worked hard for my little man and for once, I didn’t give up on myself. And I couldn’t have done it alone.
After about a year, my husband and I were praying through next steps for our family financially. We knew I would need to contribute financially in some way. As we were praying, God laid the idea of being a doula on our hearts. In that moment, I realized that the role of a doula was something I had been searching for for years before getting pregnant. I just didn’t even know it existed.”
Kiona Rollins-Mink (Hey Mama Birthing Services)
What Services Do You Provide?
“I provide a few different services, but the main one right now is birth support! I am a birth doula and absolutely love it! I am there to support birthing Mama’s in whatever way they feel they need, whether it be emotionally, physically, or mentally. They tell me what kind of support they feel they will need and we go from there. I also offer 3rd trimester waist beads, Birthing Rights packages (only for Oklahoma), and lactation support!”
Why Did You Choose To Be a Doula?
“So got induced with my son (my 1st kiddo) and it was…an experience, I’ll say. There were a lot of things done wrong that I didn’t know where actually wrong. Once I got pregnant with my 2nd, I began researching and was shocked! Mostly because this info was never told to me by the nurses or my own OB! I already had it in my mind that I wanted to be a doula, but I went ahead and hired one for the birth of my 2nd to be sure it was something I could see myself doing. I was actually my doulas first birth (she rocked it, by the way) so I loved that! After my 2nd, I was sure the doula path was the way I wanted to go in life. I LOVE being able to support Mama’s before, during and/or after they have their little ones. It feels like my purpose.”
Benefits of hiring a doula?
“I could go over all the numbers/statistics, but I’ll try to keep it more personable lol! For me, having a doula was a GAME CHANGER. I felt like I had a body guard in case my voice wasn’t being heard. If something being said or done was against my birth plan, she would remind them. Not to mention when I was ready to tap out, she reminded me that I was a bad a** Goddess who absolutely could do it! I don’t know, I feel the benefits are different for everyone!”
Miller Birth Services
What Services Do You Offer?
I primarily offer birth doula and childbirth education, specifically, HypnoBirthing. I also offer belly casting, birth planning, and even rebirth ceremonies for those who may be processing a difficult, disappointing, or traumatic birth. My website covers all my offerings.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Doula?
I fell in love with all things pregnancy and birth related during my first pregnancy in 2008/2009. At the time, I was a middle school language arts teacher. My passion had always been education and support. My birth center required that anyone who wished to birth they take some kind of birth class. I didn’t think it was a big deal and took a one day course. I learned a lot of great info, but there was so much I wasn’t prepared for.
With my second, we put more emphasis on educating ourselves and used HypnoBirthing. My two births, though both beautiful and amazing in their own ways looked and felt vastly different! I truly realized the importance of education and preparing both myself and my husband for our birth. In 2012, a year after my second birth, I completed my birth doula and HypnoBirthing Educator trainings and have been practicing ever since! I truly love educating and supporting families.
Benefits of hiring a doula?
Hiring a doula ensures that you have someone completely dedicated to you during your labor and birth. Someone you already know and feel comfortable with. Someone who can help you navigate through the unknowns of labor and remind you of your childbirth education. A doula can also be a great interpreter when things get medical. Doulas are a great addition to any birth team regardless of birthing location.
Kate – Zoe Birth Services
What Type of Services Do You Provide?
“I provide labor support services for expectant mothers! This includes prenatal appointments, continuous labor support, and a postpartum visit in home. I also provide fertility education services. I am passionate about every step of the journey into motherhood, from conception to postpartum!”
Why A Doula?
“I gave birth to my first child in the height of the pandemic. My husband and I both felt that our experience lacked support, but we also felt the weight and sacredness of our birth space. I love getting to walk alongside people through life, but the opportunity to walk with a couple into parenthood is absolutely the best. I take pride in the fact that I have the opportunity to hear parents out and to offer support or resources as they feel necessary. Positive birth outcomes are important, and oftentimes those positive outcomes have less to do with the type of delivery and more to do with how a mother felt loved, seen, and supported throughout.”
What Areas Do You Service?
Zoe Birth Services provides doula services to the greater Oklahoma City area – OKC, Edmond, Guthrie, Moore, MWC, Yukon and surrounding towns.
Briana – Wild Beginnings Birth
What got you started doing doula and lactation services?
I had a doula for my first birth and it really sparked my interest in birth work. I became obsessed with it and spent all my free time researching the different aspects I was interested. I chose to have a freebirth for my second birth and had trouble finding the support I desired. After that experience, I decided to start training to become a doula.
What is your vision for helping mothers through the birthing process?
Whether birthing at home, birth center or hospital, I desire for families to know their options and feel satisfied with their birth experience. Through education and emotional support, my hope is that families feel supported by me and know that I am there for them no matter what.
When in pregnancy should a mom start working with a doula?
As soon as you can! Most conversations and appointments will happen in the second half of the pregnancy but due to high demand and an intentionally low client load, I am usually booked out several months in advance. It’s best to hire a doula by the time you are 10-12 weeks along.
Courtney Gillaspia – Okie Birth and Babies
Courtney is a doula & birth photographer serving families in Yukon, Bethany, Edmond and in greater Oklahoma City. She says she is passionate about helping families in their birth journey to feel heard, educated and supported in their birth desires and goals. She offers stand alone doula services, stand alone birth photographer services and also a doula and birth photographer package. Courtney also assists families in the post partum period.
Rachel Barb – Little Lamb Services
Rachel is a certified doula and midwife assistant serving families in the metro Oklahoma City area since 2015. She assists families in all settings from home to the hospital and seeing families empowered in their birth goals. She is passionate about seeing women come away from birth feeling stronger and confident in their new role as a mother. Here are answers to several questions I asked.
What Type of Services Do You Provide?
“I provide Birth Doula support in the hospital, at home, or a birth center as well as Midwife Assistant services with a select few midwives.”
What Made You Choose to Be a Doula?
“The answer is simple – Lauren Scarbrough with Sparrow Song Birth Services. She has poured so much into me as a birth worker over the past 8+ years and continues to inspire me to work harder and serve all the more selflessly!”
What Are a Few Benefits of Having a Doula as Part of Your Birth Team?
“One of the many benefits that I see in having doula support is that of instilling confidence in the mother. A doula knows what every mother is capable of when it comes to trusting her intuition and body, but oftentimes most mothers do not see it in themselves! This is one of my main focuses in our prenatal birth preparation.”
What Is One Reason to Hire You?
“My ability to serve families in the way that I do is rooted in my Christian faith. I can do nothing without Him Who strengthens me! Going into births with this mindset is so powerful and invaluable. It is my goal to help every mother find that God-given strength and ability to birth their babies in the way that is needed!”
Miranda – Sooner State Doula
Miranda Jones has been a birth doula serving Norman and the Oklahoma City metro area since 2015. As one of many children, She had the privilege to attend the births of some of her siblings and found her desire to become a doula after the birth of her younger sister. Also as a mother herself she saw the gaps in maternal care and wanted mothers to feel supported and assisted in their birth goals. She also teaches birthing and breastfeeding classes as a part of Simple Birth Services.
Danielle Lugrand – Agape Birth Services
Danielle is an experienced and highly trained prenatal, birth, and postpartum support professional and has served families for more than 24 years. She works tirelessly to support the emotional, physical, informational, and practical needs of the individuals and families she serves. She desires to help make the birth experience as rewarding and satisfying as possible for both mother and baby and providing support for the birth partners to feel equipped in their roles. She hopes to help make your birth one of the most awe-inspiring, cherished, and memorable events of your lives.
Danielle also holds certifications as a Certified Perinatal Educator and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.
Danielle is a past recipient of a national grant, through which she created free lactation services to underserved communities in Oklahoma and educational pathways for Ethnic professionals that increased lactation providers of color by 400 percent. She is currently facilitating Oklahoma Chocolate milk cafes.
She is in network with Humana Military for Birth/ Postpartum Doula and Lactation Services. (Virtual and In-person visits)