I'm excited to have Kim share a little about the what, why and how she does what she does!
What are your personal experience with childbirth classes and doulas?
We took the Bradley Method class when we were pregnant with our first child. There was so much more we got out of the class than just talking about what to expect. From my husband’s point of view, he was given tools and the encouragement on how to be an active partner during the pregnancy and labor. Often partners feel like they are on the sidelines and aren’t really sure what type of support to give beyond helping more at home for their pregnant partner. The class walked us through how as a couple he could best support me and that was empowering for him. The class also taught me coping strategies for labor. What most people seem to forget is that they are usually laboring at home for a while until it’s time to go to the hospital. Learning coping techniques will help you manage labor better earlier so when the time comes to go to the hospital you’re able to have energy to finish the job! I had a birth assistant with both of my children and having a person there to help provide answers to our questions and as well as additional comfort measures made a world of difference. As much as you can learn during the pregnancy a lot of those things can go out the window when you’re in labor. Having her there was an immeasurable help!
Why did you decide to start working in the “birth world”?
My entire career has been public health based in some aspect and after I got pregnant and had children, I started to realize how little help some families had with pregnancy, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding. At first I thought working on the policy side would help but started to realize that while changing policies, such as breastfeeding support and better maternal leave policies, are really important it’s also important to support families individually as well. Washington, DC also has a lot of people who aren’t from the area. Usually families who come into town can’t stay long and often they are leaving right after the “honeymoon” phase of the baby coming home from the hospital and when partners are returning to work, which is right when the most support is needed!
How are you supporting families?
I’ve been trained to teach childbirth education classes as well as provide labor and postpartum support. I take an evidence based and research approach and studies have shown that having childbirth classes and having a doula can have better outcomes for the mother and child. I liked the idea of helping to educate families on the many choices available as well as the various ways they can have more support. By providing an opportunity for childbirth education classes outside of the hospital, they are getting non-judgment support that is informing them of their options and informed consent with the time comes to give birth. I’m will start teaching a childbirth education class at the Hill Center on March 20th and I work with Doulas of Capitol Hill to provide labor and postpartum support.
Thank you so much, Kim, for sharing your experiences with us! We are so excited to have such great options right here on the Hill! Please go check out her website to see all of the exciting things she's doing www.districtbirthservices.com and feel free to shoot her an email with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.