Pediatricians generally begin working with families once a baby is delivered, however, one of the unique things about Healthy Home Pediatrics is that we begin working with families during pregnancy. Local Obstetricians, Midwives, and Doulas refer pregnant or adopting parents to us and we begin with a complimentary in-home or virtual (for the many busy families in the area) visit to meet me, Dr. J.
During the "Expecting Parents" chat I coach parents through birth planning including how to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. Two of the services that I always recommend and have used myself are working with a Birth Doula and a Postpartum Doula.
Founded by local mothers and doulas Jacquelin Knighton and Emily Smith, Doulas of Capitol Hill and Doulas of PG County, are my go-to for expecting parents looking for a local birth or postpartum doula. On a personal note, Doula Jacquelin is our doula for our upcoming birth of our Baby Girl this Spring 2020.
Here Founder and local Doula Jacquelin Knighton shares her story:
Let's start with what everyone needs to know, what is a Doula?
A doula is a non-medical professional who provides physical, educational, and emotional support in childbirth. We help parents to be, understand their options and help them become empowered through promoting self-advocacy. Now, please tell us about yourself:
How did you know becoming a doula was the path for you?
I had two very different birth experiences. My first was born via cesarean section, which was a very disappointing experience for me. When we decided to have another baby, I wanted to take back my birth experience and prepared to have a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean), so I hired a doula, and began to learn more about my options, things I could say yes or no to. It was so empowering to use my voice and speak up for myself. I had that VBAC and it was a beautiful experience. It was then that I knew I wanted to help other women have that same experience, one of empowerment and self-advocacy. Can you tell me more about your training and how you started out as a doula?
I researched different doula training bodies and found one that (at the time) matched my morals and how I wanted to doula. I wanted to be a doula but I also wanted to be able to continue to support my family. I completed my training and then I reached out to Doulas of Capitol Hill to see if they were hiring...they were!
What was your path to becoming the founder of Doulas of PG County?
Doulas of Prince George's County was founded on our motto: Trusted. Supported. Empowered. We TRUST women and believe that they know what is best for them and their bodies. We want women to feel SUPPORTED in their decisions and support them on their journey through childbirth. Lastly, we want women to feel EMPOWERED before birth, during birth and after. Prince George's County has a large population of people of color, specifically black women and since we know that the health disparities that affect black women are not limited to any socioeconomic status, these women were at risk as well. We believed that this population deserved doulas, could afford doulas and even would want a doula....they just didn't know we existed! Doulas of Prince George's County was born!
I don’t believe in work life balance, but what are some of the ways you find harmony in your work and life?
I have learned to recognize my boundaries and saying no. I take breaks when needed to keep my peace of mind and to practice healthy mental health. I make sure to try to be around for important holidays and milestones for my children. This career is so unpredictable and you are constantly on the go, but I make sure to practice self-care. Now, please share information about your area of expertise - maternal support services:
What do you wish more expecting families knew about doula services?
That they exist! I think there are a lot of people that still don't know what we are and what we do. What is something you wished every parent or family did? Became educated about all of their options.
Take a childbirth class! What are the things you say over and over every day to your patients that you wish could be shared with the masses?
You CAN do it. :) Are there any recent and worrying trends that you are seeing?
Obviously, the health disparities that black women face in childbirth is alarming. Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women and have higher rates of preterm labour and premature infants with their own health disparity and low life expectancy rates.
What online resources do you frequently share with patients?
We are constantly posting great resources on our blog at www.doulasofpgcounty.com/blog but another favorite of mine is www.evidencebasedbirth.com, it is very informative when you need to learn more about your options. Please share your preferred contact info/ website/ social media handles: