Doulas offer comfort during pregnancyPublished 12:30am Saturday, March 6, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN – Early in her first pregnancy, like many expectant mothers, Irma Marrero didn’t even know what a doula is.
Now she can’t imagine going through a pregnancy without one.
Marrero first heard about doulas when she was looking for pregnancy pillows online.
“I was looking up information on Amazon,” she said. “I read about doulas, and then I had to Google it and came up with all the information.”
Marrero discovered that doulas provide non-medical assistance and education to expectant mothers during every stage of the childbirth process.
For her second pregnancy, Marrero was in St. Joseph and she knew she would need a doula, so she was put in contact with Pat Schultz of Buchanan, one of the few certified doulas in the area.
Marrero said Schultz’s help was invaluable.
“Oh, my God. It’s super helpful for the mother and the entire family,” she said. “There are only so many things you can learn in a class. Having a doula to explain things in more details is really helpful.”
Schultz, who began her business Covenant Birth Doula and Childbirth Education out of her home in Buchanan three years ago, was also there for Marrero and her husband at the hospital during the delivery of her son, Carlos Albino.
“When you’re in labor, your brain goes into a different place because there’s so much pain,” Marrero said. “To have someone dedicated to you and there to comfort you is really priceless.”
Schultz said she always stays by the family’s side for the entire process, no matter how long it lasts.
“I stay there the entire time until three hours after the birth, whether it’s two hours or 30 hours,” she said. “You have this adrenaline that keeps you going and you don’t get tired.”
But doulas do plenty of work before the mother goes into labor as well.
They work with expectant mothers in breathing, education, exercises and positioning.
Schultz said she has a 100 percent success rate in turning posterior babies and also has been successful in repositioning breech babies through different positioning exercises.
Marrero said the exercises Schultz implemented helped reposition her baby and avoid a c-section.
Schultz, who has six children of her own, got her training at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, giving her international certification as a doula.
She said the benefits of having a doula are: less chance of a c-section or medication, less time in labor and someone always available to answer questions.
“I’m on call 24 hours a day,” she said. “And I’ve gotten calls at 1:30 or 2 in the morning.”
Marrero said having Schultz was like having another family member with her.
“I had my mom and my husband and then another mom,” she said.
Schultz charges $340 for her services if the mother also takes her child birthing classes or $400 if they don’t take the classes. For more information, call her at (269) 695-5143 or contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.