Teri Nava-Anderson and the Harmony Doula GroupWe provide professional birth doula services for families planning home or hospital births, as well as private and group childbirth education classes, placenta encapsulation, and birth stool rental. Our service area is the San Francisco East Bay, Tri-Valley, Delta Valley and Central Valley area, including the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, Union City, San Leandro, Castro Valley, Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore, Brentwood, Antioch, Discovery Bay, Mountain House, Tracy, Lathrop, Manteca, Modesto, Stockton and all points in between. We welcome families of every kind, regardless of race, color, creed, gender identity or expression.
What is a Doula?
A doula is a professional labor assistant who is trained to support and empower women and their partners during the last stages of pregnancy, birth, and the first weeks postpartum. She works to create a positive birth experience by providing a continuous presence during the birth, nurturing the mother, and offering physical comfort measures through breathing, relaxation, positioning, and movements, as well as emotional support and encouragement.
A doula is knowledgeable about the labor process, breastfeeding, and newborn and mother care. She is available to provide evidence-based information and support a mother and her partner as they make informed decisions about the care of mother and baby.
A doula strives to reduce tension and fear and increase feelings of safety and confidence during a mother’s labor. Studies have shown the presence of a doula reduces the use of labor-inducing drugs, such as pitocin, pain medications, and epidurals. It also tends to result in shorter labors, fewer interventions, and signifiantly fewer cesarean sections. A 2014 report from The American Congress of Obstertrians and Gynecologists identified continuous labor support is "one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes."
What a doula is not:
A doula is not a replacement for medical staff, neither nursing staff nor a midwife or obstetrician. She can not offer medical advice or diagnoses, or perform clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams or fetal heart-rate monitoring. While she may assist in gathering information, she does not make decisions for a mother and her partner or act as their voice. She also does not impose her own goals or ideals on a mother or her partner.
The roles of a doula and medical staff are vastly different. The main role of a doula is to ensure the woman feels safe, encouraged, listened to and supported. The main role of a medical staff is to ensure a safe outcome. The work a doula and the medical staff do should complement each other. Ideally, they will work together to help ensure a safe and positive journey along with a safe and positive outcome for mother, baby and partner.