Support for your best birth.

You want a great birth. What does that look like for you? This is your birth, your baby, your voice. We support all your choices. Birth is an intense, amazing journey, and we're here for you step by step.

Doula Natural Birth in Kalamazoo

You want a great birth. What does that look like for you? This is your birth, your baby, your voice. We support all your choices. Birth is an intense, amazing journey, and we're here for you, step by step.

What's a birth doula, anyhow?

Your doula is like a guide through new terrain. Could you explore an unfamiliar country or a mountain range without a guide? Of course you could. But an expert really helps you make the most of the travel experience — sharing insider tips, helping you think through your priorities, and leading you to hidden gems. It's the same thing with the doula. You know your body and your priorities. Your partner (if you have one) knows you. Our doulas know birth. Your nurse, midwife and doctor will be in and out, and you can't predict who'll be there on the day your labor begins. Shifts change, energy and attitudes change. Your doula is steady and familiar, and she'll be with you for the long haul.

We know how to help.

Birth Kalamazoo has been supporting families since 2005. Every one of our doulas is trained and personally selected by our owner, Jessica English. We look for the best of the best, who will nurture you and guide you on this journey.

You can have a baby without a doula. Of course you can! But we are focused on helping you experience your best birth. Research supports the ways doulas improve outcomes, and our clients tell us it's true. Our job is to help you have a more centered, better informed, more supported birth. That matters a lot.

doula in kalamazoo venn diagram

Here's what to expect from our birth doulas:

  • Physical support.

    Your doula will help you be as physically comfortable as possible throughout your birth. This might include hands-on massage, heat or cold in just the right spot, suggestions on when and how to use the bath in labor, ideas for position changes, and techniques to help bring your baby down and out (that includes tips to get your baby into a great position for birth). The doula is always thinking about how to help you be as physically comfortable as possible, whether it's a natural birth or if you choose medication — birth is physically intense.

  • Emotional support.

    When birth is straightforward, it's one of the most emotionally intense things we ever go through. And when things get complicated, you can take that up another notch or three! Your doula is the only person on the team who is always thinking about your emotional experience and wellbeing. We want the medical staff's attention to stay focused on the health and safety of mom and baby. Even if things get complicated, your doula is focused on helping you stay positive and centered, with great nurture and support from someone who understands the emotional experience of birth.

  • Information and advocacy.

    There is so much to know about birth! Your doula doesn't replace great childbirth education (check out our class for that), but we can connect you with evidence-based information and resources to help you prepare. When you're in labor, we'll encourage you to ask questions about what's happening, and we'll give you a heads up when things might be straying from your plan. We're always thinking about options, and encouraging you to explore them and figure out what feels right for you. Your voice matters in this birth, and we'll lift you up to use it.

  • Partner support.

    We support single parents too, but for those who have a partner, it's important to know that you doula doesn't replace them. That's worth saying again — your doula does not replace your partner. You two have a love bond. Your partner knows you. We support partners by helping them be great support for you, as much as they want to be involved. We'll help them find just the right way to rub your back, or we'll whisper a suggestion that this would be a great time for the bath. We can also help with information and reassurances about what's happening in labor, or we can just keep everything running around you, so you two can keep working together. If it's a long birth, partners really appreciate a doula to trade off labor support (17 hours of the double hip squeeze or counterpressure can really wear a partner out). And in some births, you just might need one person rubbing your back and another one helping you with your breath. We'll have it covered. Our doulas also make sure partners are fed and hydrated, and that they can even get a little sleep if it's a long journey. For the partner, working with a doula is kind of like having a wing man for one of the most important missions of your life.

  • A focus on your most important goals.

    Your doula will know your heart. We spend a lot of time connecting with you before the baby comes, and we go into your birth ready to do everything we can to make this a positive experience as you welcome your baby. We remember that you want the lavender on your pillow. We know that it makes you anxious when people try to push things on you. We won't forget how important it is for you to have skin-to-skin on the operating table if you have a cesarean. And that special song that makes you feel so calm and connected? Your doula's on it. This is your birth, and research tells us that people remember their births in great detail, for their whole lives. This will be a formative memory, and it's your start in parenting this little one. However things unfold (exactly according to plan, or totally unexpected), we're focused on helping you have your best birth.

Research tell us that doulas help make birth better. It's known as "the doula effect":

1

Shorter labors (yes, please!)

2

Less likely to need pain medication, less use of vacuum and forceps, and significantly lower cesarean rates; higher APGAR scores for your baby and fewer admissions to a special care nursery (NICU)

3

Higher birth satisfaction. Research tells us you'll remember your birth, in detail, for your whole life; our births impact self esteem and confidence, and they're the beginning of our mothering story for each baby

Doulas aren't just helpful for the person giving birth. We also support your partner and all the other people who love you. Here's what some partners had to say about their experience with our doulas:

We know how much birth matters.

Birth Kalamazoo was founded to help people have better births. It's honestly just that simple. We know how much birth means to a new family and it should be a centered, loving and positive experience. We'll help you work toward your best birth.

Our doulas don't care how you have your baby, aside from the fact that we'll work really hard to help you meet your goals. We care most that you have options, you have choices, and that you are nurtured, heard and respected.

family after birth kalamazoo - small
gentle cesarean birth kalamazoo-small

All births can be beautiful births.

Vaginal birth, cesarean birth. Unmedicated birth, medication. Hospital, birth center, home birth. We love supporting all kinds of births. Sometimes we hear this outdated idea that doulas are just for extra crunchy families who want everything natural. We love those all-natural home births, but we also love supporting parents who are experiencing high-risk situations and need a high-tech delivery. And we have plenty of clients who just know from the beginning that they want medication. Your priorities are the ones that matter. Things come up, plans can change, and babies are born in all sorts of ways. Doulas make all births better, and everyone deserves a doula.

Hey, did we mention there are no extra fees for a long birth? That would go against everything we believe. Our fees stay the same whether your birth takes six hours or 60 hours (yep, we've supported 60-hour births). Birth Kalamazoo even has a special backup fund to bring in a fresh doula if things run really long, at no extra cost to you. We've got you covered.

One more thing to know about us.

We believe in professionalism and certification. All of our doulas are either certified or working toward certification with DONA International. Our owner Jessica English is one of less than 60 advanced certified doulas worldwide. This is an important time in your life, and we take our role seriously, as professionals.

There are more than 70 organizations that certify birth doulas now, and most of them have just sprung up in just the past few years. And because this isn't a licensed profession, some people call themselves doulas without any formal training at all.

We've chosen DONA International because it is the largest, longest-standing and most respected certifying agency. The training is rigorous, in-depth, hands-on and... well, legit. To maintain certification, our doulas also need to stay up to date with continuing education. (Some other "certifying" organizations just certify a doula for life after a short training, without any documented hands-on experience and without the requirement for long-term continuing education. That's not for us.) DONA International has a strong code of ethics and clear standards of practice. If there was ever a problem with your doula, you'd have recourse not just through Birth Kalamazoo, but also through our certifying organization. All of this matters to us, a lot.

Certified Birth Doula Kalamazoo

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME IN YOUR PREGNANCY TO CONNECT WITH A BIRTH DOULA?

Now is a great time. Some clients hire us when they're all of two seconds pregnant (you'll have the most choice in doulas and you'll get their support throughout your whole pregnancy), and other people catch us last minute. We've even been hired a few times by someone in labor — that's not ideal, but it's always a fun adventure!

Investing in a birth doula

Payment plans are available. Insurance doesn't usually cover doula services (except for cost-sharing Christian plans — they often reimburse for doula support), but be sure to check with your flex or HSA account, which could allow your doula fee to be paid with pre-tax dollars.

Packages

Varies
  • We've put our packages together to give families total support through their pregnancy and postpartum time. Check out the packages page for all the details.

Birth Doula

$1000 - $1500
  • Most of our birth doulas work at the $1000 level. Our owner Jessica English's doula fee is $1500. The basic birth doula services include phone/email/text support, two prenatal visits, lending library access, 24/7 on-call availability, labor support at home and/or in the hospital (however long your birth lasts), backup doula support, and one postpartum visit.

Families on WIC

Discounted rate
  • Our "Fund for All" allows us to reduce fees for under-resourced families who are receiving WIC. Twelve times a year, we offer birth doula services or 20 hours of postpartum support at the rate of $400 for qualifying families.

Ready to take the next step?

Are you starting to visualize a doula as part of your team? We'd love to connect you with one of our doulas for an interview. That initial consult is free, of course.

Our owner Jessica English and our office coordinator Sarah are great doula matchmakers. If you tell us a little about your personality, your vision for your birth and anything special you're looking for in a doula, we'll check the doulas' schedules and work to find the perfect doula for you. That means you don't have to email a dozen doulas to find out who's available for your due date. And of course, let us know if there's a particular doula you have in mind right from the start — we'll see if her calendar is open for your birth.

Most people love the first Birth Kalamazoo doula that they meet, but if it's not your ideal match, just let us know. We can always set up a second meeting with someone else. Everyone here is committed to helping you find just the right doula to complete your team. Experience and skill set matter, but the right personality match is most important.

doula using rebozo

Working some doula magic with the rebozo during labor. 

Let’s get connected!

The next step is to get in touch for a free consult. You can call, email, text or fill out our online form. We'd love to help you find a doula.