René is the most experienced doula in Baton Rouge.  She offers hands-on comfort measures guiding dads and helping moms with coping techniques during labor in the hospital and birth center. Additionally, her training and experience enable her in creating unique strategies personalized for each couple, responding to the specific challenges of that labor experience.

"I felt stronger in her presence.  I was allowed to doubt because she trusted.  I was permitted to feel weak because she knew I was not."

Birth Help doula support:

  • Experienced DONA certified doula in practice for more than 30 years
  • Offers free, no-obligation consultation visits
  • Regularly attend births in area hospitals and local birth center
  • Teaches private and group classes

Birth Help's Doula Support includes:

  • Telephone/in-person doula consultation
  • Assistance with preparation of your birth plan
  • Personal connection with your doula
  • Visits to discuss your birth plan, goals, preferred comfort measures, and the doula’s, partner’s, and mom’s roles during labor
  • Attendance at a prenatal visit with your OB or midwife
  • 24 hour on-call time
  • Phone, email, and in-person contact during pregnancy, on-call time and during labor
  • Unlimited support during labor and birth
  • 1-2 postpartum visits
  • Printed copy of your birth notes

Birth Help's Doula Support fee is $750

 

FAQs

Working with a doula is an important personal decision.  Here are some of the common questions parents-to-be ask me. If you have a question that isn’t covered, don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll be happy to answer.

What is a doula and what do they do?

  • Your personal helper that helps you to understand what to expect during labor and childbirth, your choices during both events, as well as from medical staff.
  • A doula attends the birthing family from early labor until the baby is born. She offers specialized emotional and physical care to the mother during labor and birth. She helps instill confidence in the father, giving him freedom to be as involved as he wishes.
  • A doula offers on-site education during labor, encouraging clients to participate in their medical care decisions. She offers continuity of care and can ease the transition into the medical environment. A Birth Help doula stays with her clients during the entire labor, through changing hospital shifts and alternating obstetrician or midwife schedules.
  • A doula does not impose her personal beliefs on her clients or make decisions on their behalf. And she doesn’t provide medical or clinical skills.

A Birth Help doula helps mothers determine their emotional needs during labor and childbirth and spouses navigate and identify their support needs throughout the process.

Why would I need a doula?

  • An obstetrician or midwife delivers the baby and makes sure mother and baby get the medical care and support they need.
  • A doula complements the care a mother receives from her nurses and the obstetrician or midwife during labor.

As a full-time doula, I’m not restricted by standard hospital or obstetrician schedules. Unlike a nurse, I focus on one family at a time so I’m not distracted by other clients, or tied down to mounds of paper work. And because I’m employed by my clients, my primary objective is to serve their needs and be present through the entire labor and birth.

Because a Birth Help doula fully supports the mother, she can make the best decision for herself and baby without judgment and with confidence.

"Having a doula present throughout the entire labor and birth gave us the security we needed to get through the times when the nurses or doctors weren't able to be there to guide and support us."

What does a doula not do?

A Birth Help doula will not:

  • Make decisions on behalf of a client and/or her partner
  • Perform any medical procedures
  • Act in an unprofessional manner with medical staff

Instead, you will feel encouraged and confident to:

  • Work with your partner to make decisions that are best for your family.
  • Speak openly to your birth team about your feelings throughout the process.
  • Communicate confidently with your medical team.
  • Move through the labor and birthing process without inhibition.
  • Make this experience your own and adjust your plan along the way.
  • Help make your birth goals a reality.

 What are some of the benefits of using a doula?

Women who have a doula's support feel a greater satisfaction with the birth experience and a positive perception of their strength and ability to face challenging circumstances.

Doula support also boasts the following benefits:

  • 50% decrease in cesareans
  • 25% decrease in length of labor
  • 40% decrease in Pitocin use
  • 60% decrease in epidural use
  • 30% decrease in forceps use

In addition, studies show the presence of a doula decreases medication use and medical complications during labor and postpartum.

Birth Help's statistics reflect the following:

  • 12% cesarean rate
  • 85% of women wanting a non-medicated birth achieve their goal
  • 95% of women wanting a VBAC (vagina birth after cesarean) achieve it.

 What are your qualifications as doula?

  • I’ve worked as a doula for over 30 years; some of my clients are the babies I helped birth.
  • That’s over 700 babies.
  • I offer one-on-one support to your spouse or partner so they’ll understand their options and feel comfortable choosing their level of involvement during labor and childbirth
  • Postpartum support so you’ll feel confident as you embark in motherhood
  • I’m not the only doula in the Baton Rouge area, but I’m one of the most committed and experienced.

 I began serving women during childbirth before any training programs existed. I eventually became DONA Certified, which means I adhere to the highest standards of conduct and ethics. So far in my career, I have supported more than 700 families in 15 different hospitals and 3 birth centers, working with more than 60 different doctors and midwives.

 I graduated from LSU with a degree in education, and trained as a childbirth educator with a local non-profit organization.  I have been a Certified Childbirth Educator through ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) for over 30 years.

 Being a doula is a calling. My clients’ trust is something I don’t take lightly. They depend on me to guide them through the process and because every birth is unique, I am at their disposal and make every effort to be available when they need me. It has become part of my lifestyle.

 Some doulas may say they are "DONA Trained", which generally means they have attended a weekend doula skills workshop, and don’t have nearly the level of expertise and experience as a certified doula. Be sure to ask specific questions about any doula's background, experience, and certification.

 “I’m the dad/partner. Will you take my place? What will I do?” 

That’s a common question and the short answer is No. A doula’s role is to give the partner additional confidence to play the role they wish. I support the partner by gauging their desired level of involvement prior and during labor, no matter how deep or limited. This way, the partner will always feel like part of the process. Besides, I could never replace a partner; even the well-prepared are surprised by the amount of work involved and become overwhelmed by the forces of labor, long hours, and the hospital environment.

In short, I help take some of the pressure off the partner so they’ll feel confident in supporting the mother, whether they need to use massage, help reposition the mother, or offer words of comfort. Think of me as portable Cliff Notes you can rely on during the entire process.

"Our doula allowed me to provide emotional support for my wife without having to worry about the technical details."

What kind of techniques do you use?
I offer many choices to help you during labor and birth and we’ll discuss different crucial points during your visit: childbirth classes you may have taken or thinking of taking, your normal preferences for comfort, massage or counter-pressure techniques, sleeping comfort, water therapy (laboring in the tub or shower), and visualization and breathing techniques.

"Our doula really got to know us before the birth and always had a new suggestion to help me cope with the contractions. No matter what happened during the labor, she was right there to help and show my husband how he could make me feel better."

 Do I have a choice over interventions such as an epidural?


Doulas don’t impose their personal beliefs on their clients, nor make decisions on their behalf. My role is to help you experience the kind of birth you want. Therefore, I help clients work toward their goals.

"Our doula's help exceeded my expectations and fully supported my personal birth plans."

 What was your personal experience with birth?

 I gave birth to both of my children without medication, and it was the natural birth of my son that sparked my desire to help other women.  My obstetrician informed me late in my pregnancy that I would need a cesarean due to a disproportion between my baby's size and my pelvic structure, but with education, support, and determination, I avoided a cesarean. 

 Three years later, I again experienced natural childbirth when I gave birth to a 9 1/2-pound baby, more than 1 1/2 pounds bigger than my first child.

Do you have a backup and if so, can we meet her?

In the unusual instance that I'm not available, Courtney Maloney and Hannah Covington of Serenity Doula Service provide backup support to my clients. I trained both doulas and have utmost confidence in their expertise.

Who are your clients and who uses a doula?

  • Any laboring woman and her partner
  • Women who want a non-medicated birth with a minimum use of technology/procedures
  • Women who desire an experienced caregiver's continuous presence during this unique experience
  • A partner who wants to better understand how to support the mother, and wants to be supported throughout the process

"My birth experience was almost exactly as I had envisioned it. Without a doula, I don't think it would have been. She reminded me that I was in charge and everyone was there to support and help me to accomplish my goals."

I think I want a doula, but I’m not sure I can afford one. Can you still help?

If you have financial concerns­­­­­, I’d be happy to explore alternate payment plans (i.e., installments) and find a workable agreement for services.

"My boyfriend and I were so grateful that René worked with us to have the kind of birth we wanted and it was a special experience to share with someone who cares so much."

 

How can I meet and speak with other women who are exploring birth planning and goals?

You can attend Exceptional Birth Group, sponsored by Birth Help. You'll find women interested in sharing ideas and supporting one another in creating their best births.  Birth Group meets on the 2nd Monday of each month, 6-8 p.m. on the 4th floor of Ochsner’s Clinic, 9001 Summa Avenue.

If you have further questions, please contact me to set up a consultation.