As a maternity photographer in Chattanooga and a mother myself, I can assure you that each birth is a unique journey - emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Whether you’re a first-time mom or delivering your fifth, there’s always something new about how your baby comes into the world. It’s also one of the most meaningful experiences in life, with the potential to be among the most empowering, too. One way to make the most of your birth experience is to enlist the assistance of a doula, a birthing professional who acts as a coach, advocate, and ultimate support person throughout your labor and delivery. Keep reading to learn more about what a doula does and 6 amazing Chattanooga area doulas!
What is a Chattanooga Doula, And How Can They Help Your Journey?
So, what does a doula actually do? Most birth doulas typically start working with expectant families before childbirth, helping to create a realistic birth plan. They’ll walk you through all of your options for things like birth positions, pain management, and other birth tools available. Most are happy to assist home births or hospital births, medicated or unmedicated. However you choose to give birth, your doula is there to support you!
Then, when it comes time to have your baby, your doula will be right by your side throughout labor and delivery. They’ll help communicate your birth plan to your care provider and do their best to ensure you know exactly what’s happening every step of the way (through the expected and the unexpected.) Doulas can also help keep you comfortable using massage and other techniques, as well as keeping you mentally and emotionally grounded throughout the experience. Unlike a midwife, however, a doula does not perform any medical tasks; you will still need a midwife or a physician to help deliver your baby.
While you certainly don’t need a Chattanooga doula in order to give birth, this ancient practice has been around for millennia. The presence of a doula during childbirth has been proven to help alleviate the need for an emergency C-section, reduce pain medications, and even make time in labor shorter. They are true experts in childbirth, and the reassurance of knowing you have someone knowledgeable on your team throughout this vulnerable and overwhelming experience can truly make a world of difference.
6 Chattanooga Doulas You Can Trust To Support Your Birth Journey
Finding the right doula is an important journey in and of itself. You definitely want to find someone you trust and whose presence you want by your side as you give birth. If you’re pregnant and looking for a doula to help support your birth experience, right here is a great place to start! I’ve put together this list of some of the best Chattanooga doulas for you to consider. I did reach out to all of these doula's personally but only heard back from 3 by the time this blog was posted. These 3 Chattanooga doulas were so kind to answer a few questions for me so I've listed them first along with some of their own words!
Birth Chattanooga is a collective of doula women who specialize in various aspects of birth and early parenthood. Their three birth doulas support families throughout pregnancy and childbirth, and they can continue to help ease the transition back home with a new baby with postpartum doula services. If you’re preparing to welcome your new baby, Birth Chattanooga also offers classes to help you prepare for childbirth, as well as learn how to care for your newborn. They are here to empower new parents to make their own decisions while providing a reliable helping hand and consistent support.
I asked the ladies of Birth Chattanooga a few questions and here is what they had to say in their own words! Be sure to check back for more from Birth Chattanooga soon!
In your opinion, what is the number one reason why someone should consider using a doula?
"You will always remember your birth experience, whether positive or negative. It can be the most transformative experience in a woman’s life if she has the right support. Giving birth with a doula lowers your risk of a negative or traumatic birth by 30-35 percent." - Chelsea Wells
What do you consider the best benefit of using a doula?
"We know your birth plan and what you are dreaming to be the best birth experience. A doula also knows how to support you when things come up that you might have to navigate during birth. We aren’t there to tell you what to do or to replace your medical team, but to guide you with knowledge, wisdom, and intuition. Your wishes are at the top of our goal! A lot of people say, “But the baby was healthy…” when talking through a previous birth that didn’t go as planned. And to that I say, “But what about the Mom?” How was she supported and advocated for?" Danielle Giselbach
Birthing Well Doula Agency is a team of spiritual women who believe in the power of holistic healthcare and the natural process of childbirth. Their doulas also share the belief that “when a mother is supported through the embodiment of shared decision-making, maternal health will change two generations at a time.” Birthing Well offers both birth and postpartum doula services, as well as childbirth education, placenta encapsulation, lactation assistance, and other baby and birth-related services.
Cayleigh Alston was kind enough to answer a few questions as well!
What is something most people don't know about doula services?
"We love supporting mamas through more than just natural birth! We are there during epidural births and surgical as well."
What is your favorite tool to use as a doula?
"My favorite tool to use is my heart & hands. After many many years and hundreds of births, no physical tool can compare to empathy and compassion for mothers than your own connections."
ChattaBabyWhisperer owner, Ashley Kline, was inspired to become a doula after her own Chattanooga birth experience was less than satisfactory. Today, she helps other families have fulfilling, positive births. Ashley is certified to assist with birth and postpartum, as well as lactation, maternal mental health, and CPR. Her main focus is to “create a safe, comfortable, and soothing environment for you to bring your baby into the world and begin your new adventure.”
Here are few more of Ashley's thoughts in her own words!
What do you love most about being a doula?
"As a doula, what I love most is the opportunity to love and support well-deserving mommas during such a special and precious time in their lives. It is truly a privilege to be trusted by these incredible women as they navigate the journey of pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood. Being able to provide comfort, guidance, and a listening ear is incredibly rewarding, and witnessing the strength and resilience of these mommas is truly inspiring. The bond that forms between a doula and a momma is a beautiful thing, and I am grateful to be a part of their journey."
What is your favorite tool to use as a doula?
"As a doula, my favorite tool to use is a peanut ball. This versatile and innovative tool is truly all-inclusive and can be used in a variety of ways during labor and childbirth. The peanut ball is designed to provide support and comfort for birthing individuals of all shapes and sizes. Its unique shape allows for better positioning and alignment of the pelvis, which can help facilitate labor progress and ease discomfort. Whether it's used for side-lying positions, sitting, or squatting, the peanut ball offers flexibility and adaptability to meet the individual needs of each birthing person. Its inclusive nature makes it an invaluable tool that I frequently rely on to enhance the birthing experience for both mommas and their babies."
What is something most people don’t know about doula services?
"Doula services can even extend into the postpartum period, which is something most people don't know. While doulas are commonly associated with providing support during labor and childbirth, their role doesn't end there. Postpartum doulas offer invaluable assistance and guidance to new parents in the weeks and months following the birth of their baby. They help with tasks such as breastfeeding support, newborn care education, emotional support, and household chores, allowing parents to rest and adjust to their new roles. By extending support beyond childbirth, doulas play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transition into parenthood and promoting the overall well-being of the entire family."
I'm so grateful that the ladies from Birth Chattanooga, Birthing Well Doula Agency Chattanooga, and ChattaBabyWhisperer took the time to answer a few questions for me in preparation for this blog post. Any of those 3 options would be a great place to start your journey if you're looking for a doula in Chattanooga.
The last 3 Chattanooga doula's are included below to round out the list!
Ease Birth Doula Services is owned and operated by certified birth doula Karissa Muilenburg in Chattanooga. Her passion is walking at the side of other women, helping them understand their bodies, know their options, and fuel their power. With her as your doula, you’ll spend plenty of time getting to know what you should be looking for as you approach labor and delivery, as well as how to prepare your body, jobs for your partner, and what to expect when bringing home a new baby. She offers a variety of packages to suit every budget and need.
Scenic City Birth Collective is the ultimate resource for expectant families. It’s a membership of independent businesses working together to provide a full spectrum of evidence-based care for families preparing to welcome a new baby. Their members include birth doulas, midwives, educators, massage therapists, yoga instructors, and many more who can provide valuable support and services based on your specific needs. Their Chattanooga doulas come experienced in home and hospital births, water births, VBACs, teen pregnancy, multiples, and C-sections.
Mama Doula, or Jess, is a Chattanooga mom to her own seven babies. After seven unique birth experiences, she knows the ins and outs of childbirth pretty well - not to mention she’s been assisting with other people’s births for over 13 years. The joy she finds in the before, during, and aftercare of childbirth and helping your family have a positive experience is what drives her to be the best and most supportive doula in the Chattanooga area. When you choose Mama Doula to help bring your baby into the world, you won’t just be a client; you’ll be family.
Check Out These Chattanooga Doulas to Help You With Birth
If you’re ready to begin your search for a Chattanooga doula, start by checking out these incredible organizations to see if one could be the right fit for you! Be sure to set up consultations to meet with their doulas ahead of time. I’m sure the perfect Chattanooga doula is waiting just for you and your beautiful new baby!
Now that you have found the perfect doula for your little one’s arrival, let’s chat about their first photography session. As a newborn photographer in Chattanooga, I strive to provide you with the best experience, capturing the moments after your baby arrives. Check out my website to see my work and how we can connect or contact me with this form!