World Doula Week

It’s World Doula Week! Every year, from March 22nd-28th, doulas around the world celebrate the passion and privilege we have to serve women and their families during their pregnancies and postpartum, and the special, intimate experience it is to support and hold space for them as they bring their beautiful babies into the world.  Take some time this week to call, text, or meet up with and hug your favorite doula in person!

 

I thought #worlddoulaweek would be a great time to share a little more about my path to birth work, *and* encourage you to check out Moss and Myrrh Photography, owned by my sweet and talented friend, Ashton.  Need some feel-good vibes?  Just go skim through her blog, full of the beauty and love of birth, babies, and motherhood.  

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A few months ago, Ashton shared with me that she’d done a poll asking her local followers and friends to share their favorite caregivers for birth and baby related services.  I was humbled and shocked that she’d had my name mentioned more than once, and super touched when she asked if she could ask me some questions for a feature on her blog.  Much of my doula journey is there in the link, PLUS I’m in love with these pictures she caught of me and my youngest, Sebastian, click and go see!

Did you have an awesome doula that you want to tell the world about?  Shout it out in the comments, and let’s spread some doula love! #doulasbenefiteveryone

XO,

Shanna


Hello, friends!
 
It’s almost springtime!  The sun is shining, and it’s feeling a little like a promise of warm summer days to come! I’m looking forward to gardening and playing outdoors more, and wanted to share some of the things that are “blooming” with Alaska Birth Doula.

It has been a busy winter, with 16 adorable little doula babies born in the last few months.  I am beyond honored to have been included in these pregnancies and births!  Thank you so much for putting your trust in me as your doula!

I’m still accepting birth doula clients for summer due dates, but spots are limited, so contact me soon if you’re considering hiring a doula for your upcoming birth! March and April are booked, and I have very limited space left for June, July and October.  Postpartum services are still available for all summer months, with limited availability in April and May.

Do you follow me on Facebook? And Instagram?  I’d love to keep in touch!

GentleBirth Shanna Switzer Alaska Anchorage Childbirth Class

 

Did you know?

As Alaska’s first and only Certified GentleBirth Instructor, I am thrilled to bring this incredible and innovative childbirth education program to our community!  

The GentleBirth philosophy combines brain training techniques including Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Sports Psychology, and Medical Hypnosis, along with tools, information and techniques to prepare for the most positive birth possible.

Workshops are held one weekend a month, or you can always contact me for more information or to arrange a class around your schedule!  Register or find more information here.


Childbirth Class Anchorage Alaska Shanna Switzer Doula

 

In addition to monthly GentleBirth Workshops, I am also hosting weekly Childbirth Classes on a rotating schedule!

These informative, interactive, fun classes and meetups are held every Thursday evening at One Family Community Birth Center. Childbirth education to fit your budget and your life – only $25/class, your birth support person or partner is free! You can join these classes at any time, and take them in any order.   

Meetups are FREE and all are welcome!  Bring those bellies and babies!

Shanna Birth Doula Childbirth Educator Anchorage Alaska Birth Collective

Are you following the Alaska Birth Collective?

From preconception to postpartum and beyond, we’re making connections between caregivers and community. Recent events have included brunch, Pilates for pelvic floor health, Babywearing 101, and much more!

We love this community and we want to build it!  

You can follow Alaska Birth Collective on Facebook And Instagram


Placenta Encapsulation Anchorage Shanna Switzer Doula

 

Book any Placenta Encapsulationservice before the end of April and you’ll receive a $25 discount on your package price, no matter your due date!  

Reported benefits of placenta encapsulation include more energy, higher milk production, lower levels of anxiety, depression, and hormonal challenges after birth, and mood stabilization.  You only get one chance at preserving the benefits of your placenta, contact me for more information or to take advantage of this special deal!

Childbirth Prep Class Private Baby Shanna Doula

 

Have you ever wished you could just sit down with a knowledgeable friend and get the nitty gritty on all things birth?  Someone who will tell you all of the ins and outs of hospital procedures, or help you develop your birth plan or pack you birth bag?  

Maybe you can’t find time in your busy days to take a childbirth class with your partner? Or perhaps someone gifted you a baby wrap, but you have no clue what to do with that insanely long piece of fabric, and YouTube isn’t helping one bit?

Do you want to know how your body might really feel and look, and how to prepare for the physical and emotional challenges of new motherhood?

Private Birth and Baby Prep Sessions are designed with you in mind. A 3-hour visit with me, a professional, certified doula and childbirth instructor, to talk about you and your baby and all things pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum.  I offer a discounted rate of $99 if you’d like to visit in my cozy home office in Eagle River, or for $125 I’ll bring all of my supplies, educational materials, and comfort items for labor to you and your birth support or partner in the comfort of your home.  

These sessions include a full childbirth curriculum plus a workbook that is yours to keep, plus continuing support via phone, email and text during your pregnancy and for as long as you need after your baby arrives.  Let me know how I can support you for your best birth!

Warm wishes,

Shanna

Anchorage Doula Childbirth Class Educator Placenta Shanna Switzer

 


 

Anchorage Doula Alaska Birth Postpartum Childbirth Class Placenta Encapsulation

 

Doulas and partners, a winning combination

During my initial consultations with pregnant women, I always ask how their partner is feeling about the idea of including a doula on their birth team.  Sometimes, partners are more than happy to welcome the support a doula can provide.  But more often than not, I get a “welllll… they’re a little nervous about it…” or some form of “they just want to know how to help me, but seem worried about being replaced…”

Listen, guys.  I get it.  You might be feeling a little hurt if your wife or partner wants to hire a doula for your baby’s birth.  What can a doula offer her that you can’t?  Will she take your place or get in the way?  What exactly does a doula do, anyway?

Let me reassure you that doulas can greatly benefit not only the woman you love, but YOU, as well. 

A Doula is a person who is trained to assist a woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.  Doulas support laboring women and their partners emotionally, physically, and with any information they might need to make informed decisions as labor progresses.  Doulas do not provide medical care.  A Doula is generally independently contracted by and works directly for the laboring person and her partner, with the role and goal of supporting, encouraging, and remaining with the laboring person throughout her birth.

  

1. Doulas understand the jargon and speak the language of birth.  Dilation? Effacement? Station?  Hep lock?  Anterior, posterior, cervical lip?  Um… What?  Your doula knows, and she’s like a medical interpreter, clarifying the terminology from your providers and sharing it with you in a way that is easy to make sense of.  She will make sure you understand what is happening, every step of the way.  You don’t have to remember all those details from childbirth class, your doula will refresh your memory and clarify anything confusing.

2. She will spot you so that you can take a break.  Labor can take time. Nurses and doctors come and go.  Doulas don’t leave.  She will be there so that you can go to the bathroom, take a short nap, have a real meal.  She’ll be sure to send you for breaks so that you’ll be energetic and focused when your partner needs you most.

3. Doulas know the right questions to ask.  They will remind you about your plan and encourage you to take time to consider your options.  Your doula will provide information to help you make appropriate decisions and facilitate communication between your partner, her medical care providers, and you.  She will reassure you to remember your voice.   Doulas are skilled at offering different alternatives for any given situation.  Labor is unpredictable, but she will always be ready with suggestions to try, pros and cons of any proposed change in plan, etc. Since doulas work for you, they are an unbiased source of knowledge and resource whose only goal is the well-being and healthy outcome of the birth.  They are your advocate, friend, and a steady stream of emotional and informational support.

4. Doulas know how to comfort laboring women, and a doula will make you look GOOD.   During her labor, you will likely see your partner in a way you’ve never seen her before.  Doulas excel at giving dads the tools and tips they need to help comfort and soothe their partners.  Your doula will model the calm, quiet, peaceful demeanor your laboring partner needs to see.  When she forgets the breathing exercises you learned in childbirth class, your doula will remind you how to breathe with her. When her back or hips ache, your doula knows how to guide your hands to give her relief.  When she says she can’t do it any more, your doula will be right there with you, reassuring you both and encouraging her that she IS doing it.  Your tender touch and reassuring words will be the ones your partner always remembers.  Your doula will be an ever-present encourager, supplying you both with suggestions and support. 

 “Studies show that when doulas are present at birth, women have shorter labors, fewer medical interventions, fewer cesareans and healthier babies. Recent evidence also suggests that when a doula provides labor support, women are more satisfied with their experience and the mother-infant interaction is enhanced as long as two months after the birth. With doula support, fathers tend to stay more involved with their partner rather than pull away in times of stress. The father’s presence and loving support in childbirth is comforting and reassuring. The love he shares with the mother and his child, his needs to nurture and protect his family are priceless gifts that only he can provide. With her partner and a doula at birth a mother can have the best of both worlds: her partner’s loving care and attention and the doula’s expertise and guidance in childbirth.”   –www.dona.org

Partners are often able to participate in labor and birth more fully with a doula present.  Much of the fear and worry about the safety of his or her unborn child and partner are removed when a doula is present because she can provide informational support about the labor as it progresses, and her calming influence allows the partner to give the love and support needed, in a way that is most effective and comforting.  The presence of a doula complements a partner’s role and strengthens it, allowing him or her to more fully experience the joy and wonder of welcoming their baby into the world.

Doulas and partners are a winning combination.  Supported birthing person, empowered partner.  Birth.  Do it with a doula.