Julia Szalai birth doulaHow are my work and doula services I offer different now that everything has moved online?

I was at a birth in an Amsterdam hospital when a text came from my husband that schools are closing down for at least 3 weeks. These 3 weeks have already passed and it seems there are a couple more still coming where in person services and in general, social connections are limited.

Doula support in the time of coronavirus

My work is about connection. The initial preparation sessions are leading up to the birth, where my role is to be present in your individual life story for a day (sometimes more). It is a life event that is nothing like any other that has passed or is about to come. It is an ever changing, extraordinary moment that I am honoured to be able to peek into when someone gives birth and someone is being born.
During this pandemic I am unable to be physically present in a hospital room, yet, I can still offer my time, my experience and my continuous support to my clients. 

What is still the same – my services

Birth preparation – consultation

My birth preparation sessions are aiming at helping parents find out and articulate their own wishes, worries and preferences for the birth of their child. I find it important that they learn what the available options are for them and that they can choose from these options, knowing they can also change their minds later should there be any need for that. During the 2 x 2 online consultations we have the time and flexibility to talk about topics that are unique to their lives like a long fertility treatment journey for example. Offering the birth preparation sessions online is a very easy alternative, both parents can join at basically any time during the week, weekends included.
Details of the birth preparation session:
Date and time: flexible during the week and weekend
Price: €180 / 4 hours

Book a consultation

Birth preparation – course

During the 8 hour birth preparation online course there is also the possibility to get to know other expectant couples. The course is on 4 Friday afternoons, requiring no special equipment or gadgets. The course also includes a detailed handout with tools to create a birth plan, explanation and details of birthing positions and useful tips for both home birth and hospital/birthing center births.

The topics of the 4 sessions are going to be the following:
1. Roles of hormones through the stages of labour and birth, what does labour feel and look like? Your own unique view on birth
2. Informed decision making, pain management, interventions – is having a birth plan a good idea?
3. Birthing position, comfort measures, breathing techniques – practical tips and physiology behind the different labouring and birthing positions for an easier birth
4. The baby is here- breastfeeding, caring for the newborn

Details of the next online birth preparation course 
Date: 10th, 17th, 24th, of April and 1st of May
Time: Fridays between 15:00 and 17:00
Price: €180 / couple

Sign up for the course

What is a little bit different in birth support

Early labour

During the coronavirus pandemic I offer online birth support. This means that I am dedicating my time, being on call for you just the same way I would be in any other time, making sure that whenever you call me I am available to listen, to consult. As labour usually starts during the nights it also means that I am happy to wake up to your call at 2am and talk about the mucus plug or the duration and sensation of contractions that are difficult to assess on your own. In early labour we keep in touch through the phone to see how you are doing, to make sure you rest, eat and drink enough and that you are able to assess your plans based on how you feel.

Active labour

As you move into active labour and find it difficult to talk to me on the phone I would suggest to switch to video chat on a tablet or a laptop, so I can be present without the constant need for you to check your phone. Maybe you put me in the corner because it is enough that I am available if you need me, but I am there for you nevertheless. If you transfer to a hospital room, I can fit nicely onto the windowsill (OLVG West and Oost have both wide windowsills). If I am present in the room the medical staff can also see me and know that you and your partner are supported by a doula, when they are not in the room with you. This is also useful them to know, that you are emotionally supported and encouraged, and you and your partner are not left alone. I can suggest you positions based on how I see you move, can remind you to drink, to go to loo and can also reassure your worrying partner that what they see and experience is healthy and normal.  I can stay with you regardless the lengths of your labour until your baby is born just as I would be if I was physically present in the room.

After your baby is born

After your baby is born you can also count on my support until the kraamverzorgster arrives, sometimes it happens only the next day. I can help you with breastfeeding and with the care for your baby and just being there and keeping you company if you feel uncertain, tired or vulnerable.

Details of the online birth support
Date and time: I am available for April/May/June/July due dates with being on call from week 37
Price: €790 – including 6 hours of consultation, 4 before and 2 after the birth

I have adjusted my prices to the current situation, firstly because I don’t need to calculate with my regular expenses and secondly because I would like my services to be more affordable. Payment in installments is always possible, please contact me to talk about what would be suitable for you.