hello

Let’s get to know each other!

 

My name is Shanna Switzer.  A lifelong Alaskan, I mostly grew up in Fairbanks and North Pole, and moved to the Anchorage area in 1997.  My husband Nate and I got married in 2002, and we have four children, ranging from 14 to 3.  I enjoy camping, hiking, and exploring our great state with my busy and boisterous family.  I love literature, lattes, gardening, and my golden retriever, Copper.  I’m an adventurer, a voracious reader, and a firm believer that laughter truly is the best medicine.

My own four birth experiences were powerful and transformative. I came away from each with the realization that I was stronger than I ever thought possible, and with an overwhelming sense of connection to other moms. I’m a passionate encourager of motherhood and womanhood.  That passion led me to birth work and acquiring certifications as a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, and placenta specialist, all roles that have been wonderfully rewarding to me, personally and professionally.

Pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum year are vulnerable, tender times – I am honored each time I’m entrusted to share the journey.​

 

Anchorage Doula Shanna Switzer

 

Why choose me as your Anchorage Doula and Childbirth Educator


 

All women labor best when they have loving care providers and the freedom to be in control of their birth experience.  I believe every woman deserves knowledgeable, steadfast, caring support for the varied and complex emotional and physical demands of labor.  

My role is to support my client in the decisions they find best, providing information, encouragement, resources, and advocacy.  
My goal is a positive and empowered birth experience for my client.  
My desire is to support mom, her partner, and the family as a whole. 

As your Doula, you can rely on me to:

  • listen and truly hear you
  • respect your choices
  • trust in you and your ability to birth
  • empower you to negotiate the best care for you and your baby
  • understand and seek to fill your physical, emotional, and informational needs
  • support and reassure your partner  
  • respect the birthing environment, honor and maintain the integrity of your birth space during labor

 

Anchorage Doula Shanna


Frequently Asked Questions

 

  • What is a Doula?
    A Doula is a trained, experienced labor support professional.  A companion who provides continuous emotional and physical support and comfort for laboring women and their partners, and offers assistance with obtaining information during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • What is your professional training and personal experience with birth?
    I am certified through DONA International {CD(DONA)} and Childbirth Professionals International (CPI/CCD).  I am also a Certified GentleBirth Instructor (GBCE).  My first birth as a shadowing Doula was in May of 2009, and I will always treasure the memories of supporting that first sweet mama as she brought her baby girl into the world.  The experience ignited a true passion in me for birth work, and I began pursuing certification as a Childbirth Educator and professional Birth Doula.  I am an IPPA-trained Placenta Encapsulation Specialist and Postpartum Doula.   It has been my privilege to support dozens of Alaskan families through their pregnancies, births, and postpartum. 
    My own birth experiences also shaped and inspired my desire to become a Doula.  Our first and second sons were born in 2003 and 2006 at Providence.  Our daughter was a surprise accidental homebirth in 2008, and our third son was born at Geneva Woods Birth Center (now Anchorage Birth Center) in 2014. 
  • What is your philosophy on birth and Doula support?
    I believe that there are many ways to have a positive and empowering birth experience, and my goal as a Doula is to assist women in having their best birth.  I also believe that one of the most important aspects of birth is how supported, informed, and secure a woman is made to feel during her birth process.  As a Doula, I do not make decisions for you.  I am there to support your emotional and physical needs and supply information you may need to make the choices that are best for you, your partner, and your baby.  
  • My partner is worried about a Doula taking their place.  Can you reassure them?

    Partners and doulas make a wonderful birth support team.  As a doula I not only support you, but also your partner.  I offer nervous or unsure partners guidance and tips on how best to comfort and assist their loved one, and remind them to take care of their own needs during labor as well. Your partner is an expert at knowing you, and I am experienced and knowledgeable about the process of labor and birth.  This kind of team approach offers great benefits to laboring women.  Read more about doulas and partners. 

  • I plan to get an epidural.  Would a Doula still benefit me in labor?
    Birth is hard work, whether or not a woman chooses to use pharmaceutical pain relief.  As a Doula, I support women through all birth choices, and have experience working with women using nitrous oxide, narcotic pain relief, and epidural anesthesia.  There is still much to be done after an epidural is placed, and as your Doula I assist with position changes, cool cloths, warm blankets, massage, and making sure you have everything you need to be as comfortable as possible throughout your labor.  I support women unequivocally and without judgement, regardless of the choices they determine best for themselves during pregnancy and birth. 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

  • Do you meet with clients before labor?  Can I contact you with questions?
    I meet with clients at least once, and up to three or more times prenatally.  These meetings are beneficial for discussing birth preferences, practicing positions, chatting about postpartum plans, and getting very comfortable with each other before your baby’s birthday.  You are welcome to contact me at any time throughout your pregnancy with questions or concerns, and we will be in touch often via phone, text, or email in the weeks leading up to your labor.
  • Do you have experience with birth centers and hospitals?  Do you attend homebirths? What types of birth do you have experience with?
    I have experience with most local birth centers, and support births at all Anchorage and Mat-Su area hospitals, including JBER.  I also attend Midwife-assisted homebirths.  I have experience supporting VBAC and VBA2C, multiples, and waterbirth.  I am familiar with Hypnobirthing/Hypnobabies, Birthing From Within, The Bradley Method, Lamaze, and many other childbirth philosophies. 
  • How many clients do you accept each month?
    I occasionally accept up to 6 birth doula clients per month, but usually take on about 3 or 4.  I am on call for births from 38 weeks until your baby is born, and up to two weeks after.  When I am on call, I am committed to being within 2 hours of your birthing location, so I do not go out of town, drink excess alcohol, or do anything that might keep me from being able to quickly get to you in labor.  My phone is always charged and nearby.  I do my absolute best to attend every birth, and so far, I have never missed one.  Because circumstances may arise that might make me unable to attend a birth, like an illness, emergency, or attendance at another birth, I also provide qualified backup Doulas for no additional charge, whom I’ve specifically chosen to work with because each has training, style and personality similar to my own.  You are welcome to contact my backup Doulas via phone or email, or schedule an in-person meeting.
  • Are Doula services covered by insurance?

    Some insurance companies are recognizing the many evidence-based benefits of doulas, and beginning to cover our services.  I have helped clients request reimbursement for services through their FSA or HSA/HRA, or make payment with HSA funds.  I will provide a receipt for you to submit, and am happy to help you with seeking reimbursement, but I am unable to bill your insurance company for doula services.

  • What types of payment do you accept?  Do you offer a payment plan?
    I accept Cash, Check, or Credit Card.  I generally accept a nonrefundable retainer fee for half the service package you’ve chosen when you sign my contract, with the remainder of your service package fee due by 37 weeks.  I am open to accommodating payment plans and am happy to discuss your needs.
  • What are your requirements for clients?

    • Complete and return contract and deposit at time of hire.  Complete and return prenatal questionnaire before our next visit.
    • Inform your care provider that I will be your Doula.
    • Attend a childbirth education course (client and partner, if applicable.)  I teach classes, or can give you a list of other classes available our area.  A course completed during a prior pregnancy will be accepted.
    • Keep me informed of any changes to your birth plan and health updates for mom or baby.
    • Contact me when you have any signs of labor, or if plans have changed and an induction may need to be scheduled. 
    • Allow me up to 2 hours to reach your home, birth center, or hospital after you’ve requested my presence. 
  • Do you have references?

    Yes! Read testimonials from past clients.  I am also happy to provide contact information from past clients who welcome the opportunity to share their birth experience with me as their Doula and Childbirth Educator.

 

 

Training & qualifications


 

DONACertified Birth Doula CD(DONA) ​​​​

 DONA International Alaska State Representative 

 Vice President, Alaska Birth Collective

 GentleBirth Certified Childbirth Instructor (GBCE)

 Certified Doula, Childbirth Professionals International (CPI CCD)

IPPACertified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (CPES)

IPPACertified Postpartum Doula

Biologix Bloodborne Pathogens Certified
Servsafe
Food Safety Certified
Childbirth International (CBI) Certified Childbirth Educator trainee
Still Birthday Student Doula
ACBE Breastfeeding Workshop Attendee
Armed Forces Operation Special Delivery  Doula
Member, American Pregnancy Association
Size Friendly Doula,
Plus Size Birth