Birth Doula Services

Long Beach birth doula sleeping baby

As doulas, we will help you feel supported, cared for, and prepared as you approach the birth of your little one. We provide in-person support during your labor, birth, and the first hour or two of bonding with your little one. We support births at home, in birth centers, and in the hospital.

During labor, our role is to be present with you, walking your journey of birth alongside you. We can also assist with non-clinical tips and tricks to aid labor progress, from comfort measures and maintaining a pain-coping mindset for labors without pain medication, physical and emotional support for women laboring with an epidural, emotional and informational preparation for cesarean births, and everything in between. 

Our goal is to support you in your choices for birth. During our preparation together, we can point you toward evidence-based resources and research to aid you in making informed decisions. At the same time, we also recognize that every family needs to make the decisions that are right for them.

No matter your choices for birth, we are here without judgment to walk alongside you as you bring your baby into your arms.

 

Birth Doula Packages

Basic Birth Package: $1100
Includes continuous support during your labor and birth, plus:

  • 1 prenatal visit with Megan & Marlee
  • Access to our lending library
  • 24/7 communication with your doulas
  • Attendance of labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum by Megan or Marlee
  • 1 postpartum well visit with Megan & Marlee
  • 10% discount on additional services and classes


Preparation Package: $1450
Includes continuous support during your labor and birth, plus:

  • 9 hours of childbirth education (3 3-hour sessions) with Megan & Marlee
  • 1 prenatal visit with Megan & Marlee
  • Access to our lending library
  • 24/7 communication with your doulas
  • Attendance of labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum by Megan or Marlee
  • 1 postpartum well visit with Megan & Marlee
  • 10% discount on additional services


Care Package: $1600
Includes continuous support during your labor and birth, plus:

  • 20 hours of postpartum doula support
  • 1 prenatal visit with Megan & Marlee
  • Access to our lending library
  • 24/7 communication with your doulas
  • Attendance of labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum by Megan or Marlee
  • 1 postpartum well visit with Megan & Marlee (in addition to the 20 hours of postpartum doula support)
  • 10% discount on additional services and classes

What's Involved with Birth Doula Support?

When you hire us as your doulas, we are available to answer your questions and concerns by text, phone, and email through pregnancy and into your baby's first weeks. We will be on-call 24/7 from 38 weeks of your pregnancy until baby arrives.

Our birth doula support package includes 1 prenatal visit. We will use this time to get to know one another, learn about your preparation for birth and postpartum, and learn about your family's values and goals. We will also discuss the logistics of doula support for your birth so you feel comfortable with the ways to contact us heading into labor. If you'd like, we can also assist you in preparing a birth and/or postpartum plan. If you haven't taken a childbirth preparation class, we can teach you a few pain-coping techniques. This visit is also a great time for you to get some questions answered!

We will provide continuous labor support. After your birth, we will remain with you until you are settled to help initiate bonding and breastfeeding. If you are planning a cesarean birth, we can discuss the procedure with you beforehand so you have an idea of what to expect. 

Our Orange County birth doula services also include a postpartum check-in visit. This typically takes place within your baby's first month. It's an opportunity for us to check in with you and provide support you as you transition into life with a newborn. If you have any questions about baby, feeding, or your birth experience, we can discuss any of those things. We can also identify opportunities for referrals if there are any issues that could use some extra attention and support.

 
Before working with Megan and Marlee, I feared that hiring a doula team would be a waste of time since my husband could be a “doula” for me. It was not a waste at all! Having a doula that hasn’t known me for years gave great perspective and encouragement that helped me in a way my husband couldn’t.
— Charlene

Benefits of a Doula for Dads and Partners

Doulas aren't just for the person giving birth! As doulas, we consider our support role to include supporting dads and partners too. Dads and partners often feel social pressure to perform as a "birth coach," even though it may be their first experience in such a situation. As doulas, we can offer suggestions for things you can do to make mom more comfortable and help her feel the most supported during her labor.

Your love for your partner and our expertise in birth make us a wonderful team to surround a birthing mom with love and support.

At no time will we "take over" your role during birth against your wishes. We are here to work with and for you and your birthing partner, and we love to see well-supported birthing parents and their partners working together to meet their baby. We can provide breaks to dads and partners during long labors and offer comforting reassurance to both parents during birth.

Like moms, dads and partners often have many questions about the process of labor and birth, as well as about caring for a newborn. We will treat your questions and concerns just as seriously as we do those of birthing mothers - we are your doula too!

 
During the 30 hours of labor, they attended to my every need, and acted as constant advocates for my husband, for me, and for our baby. They rubbed my back during every contraction and eased tension in my muscles. They tirelessly supported us all day and through the night. When our daughter finally came into the world, we felt as though our joy and triumph was theirs as well.

To us, they were invaluable.
— Sarah, first-time mom
Marlee and Megan (far right) with new parents, their baby girl, and their midwife

Marlee and Megan (far right) with new parents, their baby girl, and their midwife


What our clients say

Long Beach birth doulas Megan and Marlee with a client’s baby

"Having a baby has been the most earth shattering, humbling, and overwhelming experience in our lives. Megan and Marlee’s presence throughout was always comforting, calming, and reassuring. 

Despite reading books and articles, watching videos and even taking birthing classes, we weren’t really ready to have our baby. Thankfully, Megan and Marlee were ready for us. With their knowledge, expertise, and emotional support, they helped us create a birth plan that was right for us.

During the 30 hours of labor, they attended to my every need, and acted as constant advocates for my husband, for me, and for our baby. They rubbed my back during every contraction and helped me relax and ease tension in my muscles. They tirelessly supported us all day and through the night. When our daughter finally came into the world, we felt as though our joy and triumph was theirs as well.

After the birth of our little one, they gave us a basket of postpartum must-haves and they also answered all of my many, many questions.

To us, they were invaluable."

- Sarah, Long Beach

 
Orange County birth doula client’s family

"Megan and Marlee’s birth services were absolutely invaluable. Not only were they in our home providing advice and care before the arrival of our son, but they stayed the entire 24 hours or more that I was in labor. They were either massaging me, hanging out with our parents and answering their questions, helping me breathe through contractions, or supporting my husband both days we were in the hospital. It was so nice not having to give our family constant updates when I was in such pain - Megan and Marlee handled our families with such care and understanding.

Megan and Marlee helped me make rational decisions when I was in pain and reminded me of my birth plan. It felt like they were part of my family that was protecting us during this intense hospital experience.

It was such peace of mind having advocates for me at the hospital and helping me ask questions I felt too embarrassed to ask my doctor or nurse. Most of all, it really helped my husband to feel calmer so that he was able to be “in the moment” rather than stressed and panicky.

Megan and Marlee are so thoughtful and caring and still answer any questions I have (5 months postpartum!). They always brought helpful short handouts with parenting advice and tips and tricks for life with a newborn. They even made a house visit after baby was born and brought the sweetest little gift basket and delicious homemade muffins. They are such personable and caring people!

Having Megan and Marlee as doulas was a very worthwhile expense. Before the birth I often wondered if doulas were even necessary - what if I ended up having a cesarean? Well, I did end up with a c-section, and I still wouldn’t have had it any other way! They made me feel stronger and happier while giving birth, and I felt like a tough woman that could accomplish this wonderful but trying task!"

- Vanessa, Orange

 

"Megan and Marlee brought me calmness, peace, a sense of not feeling alone, and understood that what I was feeling was ok. I so appreciated their encouragement and reliability, and that they gave me options for what I could do next during labor.

Before working with Megan and Marlee, I feared that hiring a doula team would be a waste of time since my husband could be a “doula” for me. It was not a waste at all! Having a doula that hasn’t known me for years gave great perspective and encouragement that helped me in a way my husband couldn’t.

What stands out most about my experience with Marlee and Megan is their friendliness and kindness! They are warm and inviting, and didn’t make me feel pressured into doing anything.

I wish I had Megan and Marlee there during my first birth because I know my experience would have been so much better. There can be so many negative emotions and thoughts with pregnancy and labor because a lot can happen differently than planned… having Megan and Marlee helped my self-esteem. Even though I ended up having a c-section due to unexpected issues, I’m glad they were always there for me. I don’t have any regrets about my birth experience this time around."

- Charlene


Frequently Asked Questions

So... what does a doula actually DO during birth?

We like to say that our role changes at every birth. Each family's needs are different, and each birth takes its own path. Really the only commonality that truly applies to all births we've attended is that our role is to hold space. There has been a lot of buzz around that phrase within the birth community. To us, holding space means being fully present for you in your birthing experience, no matter what is going on. Whether you're birthing at home, in a birth center, or at a hospital, we will be present and mindful during the experience, ready to assist if needed.

Sometimes births require a lot from us physically - hands-on comfort measures (massage, rebozo work, or counter pressure). Some birthing parents don't want much hands-on touch during their labor, but have lots of questions about the process, any procedures that might come up, or what their baby might be feeling during labor. Sometimes we spend a lot of time during labor helping partners to feel comfortable providing hands-on support themselves, acting as more of a labor coach.

Some forms of labor support involve running errands, braiding hair, entertaining older children, setting up a new place for the birthing person to labor for a while, making the laboring room feel comfortable and safe, helping dads and partners with some ideas for comfort measures if they'd like, and so much more. Throughout any of those activities, we are very "tuned in" to the birthing person, remaining attentive to their needs the entire time.

In addition to holding space, another key responsibility we have is to help you stay in a "coping mindset" as much as possible. Yes, most doulas bring a bag with some tricks of the trade to births, but... none of them are magical! The most important thing when dealing with the intensity of labor and birth (or any other intense experience, for that matter) is for the people involved to keep focused on the present moment, as much as possible. 

Our goal when working with you leading up to your birth will be to understand where you're coming from - your values, goals, and things that are important to you - so we can help to keep YOU front and center during your birth experience as much as possible. If any unexpected or unwished for events happen during your labor, we will be there to help you find the next best thing and move forward. When parents have the support they need so they can do what needs to be done to birth their baby, they often remark that even though there may have been challenges, nothing felt like too much. 

In a way, we won't be able to answer the question "what does a doula do during birth" until we've been to your birth!

If you want to learn more about our approach as doulas, take a look at our blog post, The 3 Most Important Aspects of Our Approach as Doulas.


Will you both be at my birth?

We work as a team to provide the best care we can for our clients, which means that normally only one of us is at a birth at any given time in case we have back-to-back labors. In the case of a longer labor, one of us may relieve the other so that you always have a well-rested doula at your side. If neither of us are available due to extenuating circumstances (very rare!), one of the other doulas on our team will join you.

As your birth doulas, we will both attend your prenatal and postpartum visits and co-teach any childbirth education sessions you choose (except in situations where one of us is with a laboring client).


I've heard that doulas are just for people who want a home birth or natural birth.

This is a common myth about doulas! In fact, most of our clients birth at hospitals.

A doula is a wonderful addition to a birth team, no matter the type of birth you desire. If you are birthing in a hospital, we can help you navigate the medical environment so you feel more comfortable. Feeling comfortable in your environment is very important for birth, especially when it comes to decisions that need to be made. Many parents find that having someone there who has been through births before is very comforting. We can help you decipher information from your care providers, prompt you to ask any questions you may have about care for you or your baby, and assist in making your wishes known to your care team.

We are honored to support birth of all kinds, including:

  • Birth at home
  • Birth at a birth center
  • Unmedicated birth at a hospital
  • Hospital birth with epidural or other pain medication
  • Induced birth in a hospital
  • Cesarean birth

No matter how you envision your birth, a doula can support you emotionally throughout your pregnancy and birth, assisting you with information and encouragement along the way.


I'm worried a doula will "take over" for my partner.

Doulas work WITH dads and partners, we don't replace them. Many women and their partners find that simply having that reassuring presence in the room allows them to relax a bit more and work together to bring their baby into the world.

As doulas, we are committed to supporting dads and partners as they participate in the birth process to the extent that they are comfortable doing so. We love to see a birthing women's loved ones providing hands-on support if they choose, and we're full of tips and tricks to help dads and partners (and even older children) provide comfort and encouragement! 

We love this quote from a respected doula, childbirth educator, and author:

 
“While the doula probably knows more than the partner about birth, hospitals and maternity care, the partner knows more about the woman’s personality, likes and dislikes, and needs. Moreover, he or she loves the woman more than anyone else there. The combined contributions of partner and doula, along with a competent, considerate and caring staff give the woman the best chance of an optimal outcome.”

— Penny Simkin, P.T.

If you want the support of a doula but you or your partner have concerns about the doula's role at your birth, we suggest interviewing several doulas, expressing your concern, and allowing the doula to explain the way she views her role. Every doula is different, we encourage families to find the right match for them.


What's the difference between a doula and a midwife?

A midwife is a medical professional with years of training who ensures the safety of both mothers and babies during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. They provide prenatal and postpartum care, and can provide healthcare throughout a woman's life, providing routine reproductive care. The role of a midwife is similar to that of an OBGYN, although midwives specialize in natural birthing methods (they are not surgeons) and follow the midwifery model of care.

Doulas are not medical professionals. A birth doula provides emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum period, focusing on the physical comfort and emotional security of the laboring woman and her partner. A postpartum doula provides practical and emotional care to families after their baby is born, generally from birth through 12 weeks of the baby's life (a period sometimes called the "fourth trimester"). Doulas act as a comforting, encouraging, and knowledgeable presence to help women and their partners or other support people during this sensitive time. She can provide information and will support your right to informed decision-making, respecting and supporting you in whatever choices you make regarding your birth and the care of your baby.

Most doulas operate under some sort of formalized "scope/code of practice." If you have specific questions about the role and limitations of a doula, we encourage you to ask her for a copy of the scope of practice she uses to define her services (ours can be found here).


What does "doula" mean?

The word doula ("doo-luh") originates from a Greek word meaning "a woman who serves." In 1969, anthropologist Dana Raphael, Ph.D. published an article in the scholarly journal Perspectives in Biology and Medicine in which she used the word doula to refer to women supporting other women through the journey of childbirth and early motherhood. She later went on to describe a doula as a woman who "mothers the mother."

Nearly 50 years later, we would rephrase Dr. Raphael's idea of a doula as a person who "nurtures the family." The specific definition of what doulas do continues to be debated within the community of birth professionals (you'll probably get a different definition of a doula from each doula you ask!), but underlying all of those different ideas is a deep desire to support families through birth and early parenthood with compassion and understanding.

As doulas, we love to support not only mothers but their partners, families, children, and communities by providing a caring, encouraging, and knowledgeable presence during the childbearing years.