Jessica Thomas is a Pittsburgh Birth Doula

Labor Support

Labor Doula Services

It is easy today for expectant parents to experience decision fatigue with the overwhelming amount of decisions they are expected to make for the birth of their child. The role of a birth doula is to help your family navigate through the various options available to you, prioritize what you as a couple feel is most important, and make the birth process a little easier.

You will see that there are no birth philosophies when exploring Under My Heart Birth. There is room for only one philosophy in a birth space, and that is the one of the expectant family. It is important for me to help my clients, without preexisting bias or judgement, and offer support and guidance instead. 

Jessica would love to be a part of your birthing team and provide you with the quality emotional, physical, and informational support you deserve. Please note that it is never too early or late to inquire about availability!

Birth Doula FAQ

What are the benefits of having a doula attend your birth?

Studies done in recent years show the impact a doula can have on a woman's labor experience. Birth doulas are becoming much more well known in the birthing world and even some states and insurance companies are realizing how cost efficient having a doula can impact a birth. Births that have a doula in attendance show a 25% shorter labor, 60% reduction in epidural requests, 50% reduction in cesarean rate, 40% reduction in oxytocin use, 40% reduction in forcep delivery, and a 30% reduction in analgesia use. You may read more about those studies and benefits here. Aside from the medical interventions birth doulas can help to avoid, doulas prepare and support you and your family through your pregnancy and even postpartum.

What if I have questions or something comes up where I need support before or after our formal prenatal appointments?

There is no limit on how much you can contact me if you decide to hire me as your birth doula. I am on-call for you and your family when contracts are signed and deposit is paid. I am accessible through phone call, text messaging, and email. My goal is for you to always feel supported in this process.

Do you have a back-up doula if something happens where you are not able to attend our birth?

I am only a birth doula and birth photographer. I don't have weddings to shoot or another daytime job. I only take between 1-3 clients a month so I can honor a mother's expected due date. By doing so the risk of overlapping or having clients with close due dates are reduced significantly. Missing a client's birth because I was assisting another client who went into labor first would be unlikely. That being said, there could be sickness or emergency situations that would prevent me coming to a birth in which I would utilize my back-up doula. I work with Blessed Arrivals, a highly repected and one of the oldest collective groups in Pittsburgh. I will always provide you with another doula that you may meet with before birth if you choose to. It is important to me that I know the back-up doula personally and are professionals with training and experience. I will provide you with someone I trust and know if I were to have to miss any aspect of the birth.

My partner wants to be very hands on in our birth. He/She doesn't want to be pushed aside. What ways would my doula include my partner?

This is a very common concern among partners who want to be involved in the birth process. A labor doula's role is not to take over the woman's birth and inject her own beliefs in the couple's experience. I simply assist the birth partner while he or she physically and emotionally engages the mother while in active labor. Having a support person that is less emotionally attached to the situation can help if complications arise or if the mother is having a difficult time coping with labor. Partners should also realize that labor will be exhausting emotionally and physically for themselves. Doulas keep an eye out for the birth partner to make sure they are taking care of their needs such as eating, drinking, and taking short breaks if needed. They may have a difficult time enjoying the birth if they themselves become stressed or overwhelmed. A doula helps birth partners feel important, and shares some of the difficult physical and emotional load so he or she can enjoy the birth and relationship they have with the mother. Please read Penny Simkin's The Doula and the Partner: How They Work Together to Help the Birthing Woman as well as DONA's Dads, Partners and Doulas.

My mother is attending my birth. Shouldn't that be enough since she gave birth to me?

Having another woman with previous personal birth experience can be very comforting to you. Your mother or mother-in-law can be an excellent choice. However, it is most likely that your mother hasn't actually given birth for quite some time and things have probably changed drastically since then. It is good to have someone there that is up-to-date on current practices and knows about the most recent research. I love to see families who want to support each other in such an intimate way. I myself had my mother present for the birth of my first child. Have your mother or mother-in-law also learn about professional doulas and about what our roles are since she probably did not have the opportunity to have one back when she birthed. See the question about partners above to learn more about how a doula works with your existing support system.