Doulas are professionals trained to care for families during pregnancy, birth and the early months of a baby’s life. They offer physical, emotional, and informational support to help your family work toward a healthy and empowered experience of the childbearing year. Once a month we host “Tea With the Team,” where you can join the Open Circle Doulas for a sip of tea, snacks and a chance to meet. This is an opportunity for families interested in working with us to ask questions and spend some time exploring whether we are a good fit. There is no cost to attending these informational sessions.

 

OPEN CIRCLE DOULA PROGRAM

Open Circle is now offering a Group Doula Program which allows us to provide increased birth and postpartum support to expecting and new families.

During pregnancy, attend unlimited group meetings (minimum of two required). These meetings offer time to build community, learn about the birth process and life with a baby, and get to know your doula team. During labor receive ongoing support as you birth your baby and begin bonding and recovery. After the baby is born, receive the nourishment of three weekly in-home prenatal visits. Finally, reconnect to your community in a group gathering (after baby is 4 weeks old). Extended postpartum care is offered on an hourly or package-fee basis by some members of our team.

To learn about our group program in more detail, please visit the expanding boxes below and our doula bios. To learn more about doulas outside of our organization, visit the professional associations, Doulas of Rhode Island, or the Umoja Nia Collective for Doulas of Color.

 

Thank you for your amazing support in bringing [our baby girl] into the world.  Your strength, guidance, knowledge and loving kindness made all the difference. We are so grateful for your support in realizing our dream of a VBAC for our second baby.  You will always hold an important place in our story – and in hers.

O + T, Providence

Birth Doula Package Details
  • Up to 2 monthly group meetings at Open Circle throughout pregnancy (families may attend as many as they like, with a minimum of 2). Group meetings provide time for education, questions, getting to know the doulas, and peer-support.
  • One private prenatal meeting between week 34 and 38
  • Unlimited daytime phone and email support
  • 24-hour on-call support from weeks 38-42
  • Continuous labor + birth support
  • Three in-home (or hospital) postpartum visits
  • One group postpartum meeting at Open Circle
  • Community Gatherings and Workshops with Other Doula Families
Extended Postpartum Care Details

Postpartum Doula Care is structured on an hourly or overnight basis (9-10 hours), with a minimum number of 4 hours per visit,  and no more than 24 consecutive hours*. 

*unless special arrangements have been made with a team of doulas

PRICING

We believe that all families have a basic right to receiving comprehensive care during the childbearing year. Open Circle Birth and Postpartum Doula fees are income-and-resource based, and range from $150-$1200 for a birth package, and $15-$35 per hour for extended postpartum care.

TEA WITH THE TEAM

WHY USE A DOULA

  • Increased sense of satisfaction with birth experience*
  • Increased breastfeeding success*
  • 28% fewer cesarean sections*
  • 34% fewer negative birth experience*
  • 9% drop in use of pain medication*
  • 31% less use of Pitocin*
  • 40 minute shorter labors*
  • Physically and Emotionally Healthier transition into Parenthood/Postpartum
  • Improved Bonding and Parenting Skills

*from Childbirth Connection, National Partnership for Women + Families and Choices in Childbirth 2016 brief on insurance coverage of Doula Care.

WHAT IS A BIRTH DOULA?

Birth doulas provide your family with physical and emotional support during pregnancy and birth, help you understand your choices, and help you learn how to advocate for yourself/selves and your baby.

Open Circle doulas support families in all types of births: medicated/epidural, un-medicated, cesarean and adoptive. We also support all types of families: heterosexual and same sex couples, teen mothers and single mothers by circumstance or choice, adoptive parents, families of color from within and without the US, and families of all traditions. Our doulas have different cultural backgrounds, professional expertise and specialties. 

Birth doulas respect your family’s individual beliefs and needs. They work to understand and support your family’s particular vision of an empowered and healthy birth. This including helping you find information, practitioners and birth locations that are a good fit for your family.

Birth doulas provide referrals to other practitioners and specialists in the community to support any additional needs of your family during pregnancy, birth and the newborn stage.

WHAT IS A POSTPARTUM DOULA?

Postpartum doulas work in your home to help your family adjust and thrive after your baby is born. They provide education to help families develop strategies and rhythms that support whole family health and mental-emotional wellbeing. Doulas may work daytime or nighttime hours, always with the goal of helping you develop skills and confidence in your ability to parent and care for your baby.  A doula is different from a baby nanny or babysitter (which can also be helpful during the postpartum time): a nanny or babysitter’s focus may be entirely on infant care to allow the parents to focus on other things (sleep, work, etc.). The doula’s focus is on providing the resources and education to help parents feel confident in their abilities to care for their babies, themselves and their family as a whole — gradually supporting a family’s independence from her help. The types of support offered depend on your family’s specific needs, and may include any of the areas listed below.

  • Infant Soothing, Feeding & Sleep Support
  • Organizational Support for a Newborn Household
  • Physical & Nutritional Support for New Parents
  • Emotional, Psychological & Social Support for All Family Members
  • Referrals to Community Professionals + Groups
  • Light household duties

How Our Group Doula Program Works

Our Roles a Doulas
As doulas, it is our job to assist you in creating a safe birthing environment and satisfying birth experience, as you define it. Each person and family is unique in her/their support needs, and it is our job to come to understand and provide what is important to you. Birth is a natural and unpredictable process; we will support you in being able to let go and adapt to the particular birth story that is yours and your baby’s. It is important to understand that we cannot guarantee a specific process or outcome for your birth, but will always support you in working with the birth that you have. 

We draw on our training, knowledge and experience to provide physical, emotional, and informational support to birthing people, partners and their families. We do not offer medical advice or perform clinical tasks. Our scope of practice includes but is not limited to: emotional support, physical comfort techniques including massage, counter pressure, position + movement support; use of water and temperature therapies; breath support, guided meditation and imagery; providing nourishment and hydration for mom and the birth team; taking pictures or video; providing education to support informed decision making; fostering positive and effective relationships with your medical providers; and provide prenatal and postpartum referrals to other professionals as needed. 

We are independent and self-employed. We are hired by and work only for you. We are not associated with a medical practice or hospital. As independent practitioners, we strive to maintain and foster positive and respectful relationships with entire birth team, and have spent many years building collaborative relationships with medical providers and hospital staff.

Choosing Your Doula/s
Meeting the doula/s who will potentially be present at the birth of your child is important before choosing them. We offer complimentary monthly “Tea With the Team” events for potential clients, so that, together, we may see if our team is a good fit for your family. You can also schedule a one-on-one 30 minute call if you have additional questions you would like to discuss. “Tea with the Team” dates can be found on our website on the Doula Services page. We encourage you to consider meeting a few doulas/doula practices to find the best fit for your family.
How Group Doula Support Works in Pregnancy
By having a team of doulas rather than a single doula you are able to work with a group of practitioners who bring diverse specialties to the team, and who can support one another in providing you with consistent and alert care during birth (even very long births), as well as thorough, extended postpartum care.

Through group and private meetings and remote support, you will have a chance come to know all your doulas. Similarly, as the team gets to know you, we are able to work collaboratively to support you more fully. All communications will be noted in your family file, so that each doula is kept up to date and fully informed.

Group Prenatal Meetings and In-Person Support

We offer two group prenatal meetings each month where families gather to learn more about birth and parenting, form community, and get to know us. You are invited to attend as many of our monthly meetings as you like, but are expected to attend a minimum of two.  Dates, topic areas and doulas attending the monthly meetings are listed on our website on the Doula Services page.

Between weeks 36 and 38, each family has a private prenatal meeting (either before or after a group meeting). This offers an opportunity to discuss your birth vision, any concerns you may have, and any matters that are better suited to a private, more intimate time with your doulas. This meeting can be scheduled on the Doula Services page.

How Group Doula Support Works During Your Birth
When you go into labor you will call the main doula phone line and the doula on-call will support you. The basic call calendar is always available for you to see on the password protected family portal page, found on our website. Depending on the timing and duration of your labor, you may have more than one doula support you as you birth.

When we transition from one doula to the next we are careful to be sensitive to what is happening in your birthing environment and to the trust that has been built in the space. Most commonly, when transitioning, both doulas will be with you for an hour or two, working together to support your family, until a secure and safe connection with the incoming doula has been established by all members of the birthing team – both you and your partner, any other family members and/or support people, and your medical team. We do not transition doulas in moments of high intensity during birth, but, if appropriate, may have more than one of us there to support you.

How Group Doula Support Works After the Baby is Born
We will visit you weekly for the first three weeks after your baby is born, and are available for remote support throughout the first month or so after your baby’s birth. We will call you to schedule your postpartum visits or you are welcome to call the main doula group phone number to let us know what times work best for you. Postpartum visits take place in your home and usually last 1-2 hours, as is helpful and desired by you.
Email, Text and Phone Support
We are available by phone and email during daytime hours to answer any questions or discuss concerns you may have throughout our time working with your family. We are available evening hours for more urgent issues, and 24 hours a day during your on-call period (see below). We have an extensive book and video resource library and can provide informational support as well as referrals to other birth and pregnancy professionals and groups as needed.
On-call Period
From your 37th week of pregnancy until your birth, we will be on-call for you 24 hours a day. Our call calendar and instructions for how to reach the on-call doula can be found on the family portal page on our website. In general, we work in 12 or 24 hour shifts. Once we enter your on-call period (see following section), we encourage families to check in with us every week to let us know how you’re doing, especially after appointments with your caregiver (Dr. / Midwife).
When Labor Begins
Please be in contact with us by calling the group phone or texting as soon as your labor has begun. If you are in early labor, we will initially support you from afar in an effort to help you stay as rested as possible and have an environment that supports developing a strong and healthy labor pattern. People in your space too early on – even your doulas — can disturb the intimacy that supports a strong labor pattern and sense of confidence for each parent. Before we join you, we will check in every two to four hours by phone, so that you can update us of progress and we can provide any information, ideas for comfort techniques, and reassurance that you request. If your early labor is very long, we may also ask to visit you for a short while to see how things are going and offer any guidance we feel might be helpful to supporting labor progress and conserving your endurance/energy levels. 

It is up to you to decide at what point in your labor you want us to come and be with you continuously. Once you make that choice, one of us will be there within 90 minutes, and from then on, as long as it is your wish, one of us will always be with you until after you birth. If there are times during your labor where privacy feels important, we simply step out and stay close until our support is needed again.  If labor stops for an extended period, we may leave until you are ready for us to be of support again. We generally stay with you after the birth until you are settled in your postpartum room and until we have been able to provide support for the baby’s first feeding (usually about 1 to 2 hours).

If, due to extraordinary circumstances we are unable to be with you, we will find a back-up doula who will support you. You will not be left alone unless you request this. We reserve the right to call our back-up doula if we become ill, or if we discover that we cannot properly support you. This is in your best interest and protects your birth experience. This is the rare exception and has not happened thus far in our practice.

During Labor
  • Our role as your doula is to provide continuous emotional support and physical comfort measures.
  • We can offer direct help as well as guide you and your partner with comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation techniques, movement, effective labor positions, and physical support to relieve pain. We strive to support birth partners’ participation at whatever level you as a family desire.
  • We take seriously our job of helping you practice informed decision-making. We will support you to have the confidence and skill to communicate questions or concerns with your practitioner or nurses, and to exercise your right of informed choice, consent, and refusal.
After the Birth
We usually remain with you for one to two hours postpartum to ensure you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together. We also provide suggestions on initiating breastfeeding, if desired. We will continue to be available by phone and email to answer questions about your postpartum healing, the birth, and your baby. We will contact you by phone or visit you the day after the birth to check in, and make tentative plans for our first of three in-home postpartum visits.

One of our doulas will visit your home once each week in the first three weeks after the baby’s birth. During these visits we offer support with postpartum questions, newborn care and family sleep strategies. These visits are also a time to talk about your birth experience, discuss how your family is doing and whether you would like any help finding mental or physical health resources in the community. We will also inquire about feedback on our doula support, and, of course, spend ample time admiring your beautiful baby!

After the baby is 4 weeks old, you are welcome to attend a group postpartum visit when it feels right for you and your baby. We will contact you about scheduling these visits.

Professional Relationships
We believe that families are best supported by a collaborative birth environment. It is our prerogative to work closely and respectfully with your medical team, while supporting your family’s wishes. Many of our doulas have worked with local maternity care providers for years, and built strong and mutually respectful professional relationships and reputations in the community. The choice of provider and birthing location are two of the most impactful choices you will make about your birth.  If you are working with a practice or provider that we have concerns may not be aligned with your wishes for your birth, we will discuss this with you beforehand. Should you wish to explore other provider options, we will offer referrals to help you in this process.
Your Satisfaction
The birth journey is not only a physical one, but also an emotional, psychological and, for some, spiritual journey. While we will do our best as your doulas to help you to have the birth you desire, it is essential that you recognize that childbirth is a natural and unpredictable process and may not go as you hope or plan. Even if it does, it will be full of unexpected experiences. 

As your doulas, we are not responsible for your birth process or the choices made by you or your practitioner.  We commit to being responsible to offer you non-judgmental and compassionate support throughout our work together. We commit to respecting your choices and knowing that you are doing your very best for your family. We commit to doing our very best to help you stay as present and connected to yourself and your birth support as possible while you birth your baby and transition in the early postpartum months.

It is important to know that our births often call us into deep personal and relational journeys that can be as challenging as they are growth-inducing. Most families, regardless of how they feel about the birth experience soon after it’s over, continue to process and gain insight on their births over days, months and years as they integrate the experience within personal and family identities and belief systems. We have profound respect for both the challenge and opportunity inherent in birth, and the capacity of each family member to find their way.

Confidentiality
It is one of our ethical priorities is to maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the families we work with. This is a commitment to which we devote care and attention. In Rhode Island, it is highly possible that we may have relationships with people you know through friendship or professional association. Please rest assured that we will never share any information that you share with us or any details of your birth experience. We will not disclose any personal information, including whether or not you have given birth, unless you have specifically requested that we do so.
Understanding What We DO NOT Do
The information shared above can help you understand what kinds of support doula’s provide. The following are things that are outside of our scope of practice and expertise.

We do not:

  1. Perform clinical tasks (i.e. taking blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, etc). 
  2. Make decisions for you. We will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision, but we will not push you toward any one decision or another. We will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth preferences during your birth, so that you can provide consent or refusal or request more information from your medical team.
  3. We do not, except in extreme circumstances, speak to the staff on your behalf. We will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner/birth support (if applicable) are the best people to speak directly to the clinical staff.
  4. We do not prescribe, diagnose or treat any medical problems that may arise and will not be liable for interpreting diagnostic procedures. This is the role of your clinical provider.

Preview of  Our Group Doula Program Meetings

COMFORT IN PREGNANCY + LOCAL RESOURCES

DATES

THE LABOR JOURNEY: UNDERSTANDING THE LANDSCAPE OF BIRTH

DATES

SELF-ADVOCACY + MODELS OF MATERNITY CARE

DATES

COMMON INTERVENTIONS IN BIRTH: INDUCTIONS, AUGMENTATION + CESAREAN SECTIONS

DATES

COPING IN LABOR: TOOLS FOR SUPPORTING LOW-INTERVENTION BIRTH + EMPOWERED FAMILY

DATES

POSTPARTUM PLANNING FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

DATES

LIFE TRANSITIONS: THE BIRTH OF A FAMILY

DATES

Thank you for everything you have done for us.  Your presence at [our baby’s] birth made everything go more smoothly.  As you know, I was somewhat terrified of having a c-section.  You created the space and time that both I and my family needed to feel more comfortable with the situation. We were all so glad to have you there, and I cannot overstate how incredibly much your massages helped me through labor!

I.H. Providence

Open Circle Doulas

Lisa Gendron
Birth and Postpartum Doula

Lisa Gendron has been a doula since 2007 and has worked extensively with families in pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum. She is a certified Birth Doula (Childbirth International) and Birthing From Within ® Mentor. In her years of work with families she has developed a whole-hearted understanding of the complex process that accompanies the transformations of pregnancy, birth, and new parenthood. She works in a holistic process, focused on building individualized support for every member of the expectant family. In this practice she seeks to center and uphold the value systems that define each family culture, with mindfulness and compassion. Lisa is the mother of three children, an artist, passionate community advocate and lover of all things green. She is currently a midwifery student with the National College of Midwifery. 

Contact:
info@agroterrabirth.com
(401) 497-8219

Felicia Love
Birth Doula

Felicia trained as a birth doula with Birth Arts International, and is the incoming co-president of Doulas of Rhode Island, RI’s professional doula association. Felicia had her first child at seventeen, doing her best to navigate her pregnancy and birth, but often felt overwhelmed and unsupported. This experience, and the powerfully positive birth of her second child with the support of a doula, set her on a path to supporting birthing families. Felicia is committed to the spiritual and sacred nature of pregnancy and birth, and to supporting a birthing woman/person’s sense of her own inner power. She believes that evert birthing person deserves to determine their own birth preferences and approach, and offers nonjudgemental, respectful support.

Contact:
www.felicia.love
(401) 536-4281

Isabel Mattia
Birth Doula

Isabel is a DONA certified birth doula, a Certified Lactation Counselor and an artist living on a small farm in rural Rhode Island. Isabel approaches birth support with a goal to keep calm energy and strength in the room. She practices a supportive, attentive, and nonjudgemental approach, focusing on the values and preferences of the birthing person. She has worked in childcare, education, and the arts. Isabel values supporting all families and has an LGBTQ+ inclusive practice. She believes doulas can be advocates for better access to care, and that our support continues beyond the birth room and into the political landscape.

Contact:
isabelmattia@gmail.com
http://isabelmattia.com/doula

Sianna Plavin
Birth Doula

Sianna Plavin (pronouns she/ her) is a DONA trained doula and midwifery student based in Providence, RI. She provides birthing people and families with thoughtful and compassionate doula care, honoring and holding space for each person, on their terms. Currently in her 4th semester of midwifery school, she brings her deepening clinical knowledge to her doula work, offering support rooted in the physiology and psychology of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Sianna is committed to expanding doula access with income-based fees, creative approaches to care, and informed advocacy. Sianna is also a musician and farmer with a background in international peace studies and community health.

Contact:
sianna.plavin@gmail.com
(413) 427-4885

Gina Rodriguez-Drix
Birth and Postpartum Doula

Gina Rodriguez-Drix is a birth and postpartum doula based in Providence’s Washington Park neighborhood. Trained by ToLabor (2010) and the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (2014) Gina has supported families in home and hospital births for the last eight years. Gina is the co-founder of the Rhode Island Doula Collective, RI’s first no-fee, bilingual social justice doula organization that primarily served pregnant and parenting teens through a partnership with the Nowel Academy (2014-16). Gina is also an artist, mother, and organizer rooted in values of love, solidarity, and reproductive justice. As such, Gina views her doula work as a practice of building sisterhood and by extension, a healthy resilient community. Gina supports families to make empowered and informed decisions during their pregnancies and birth through a practice of deep listening, respect, and intention. 

Kaeli Sutton
Birth and Postartum Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor

Kaeli trained as a Birth Doula with ToLabor (2009) and as a Birth and Postpartum Doula with The International Center of Traditional Childbearing (2016). She is a Certified Lactation Counselor (2016), pregnancy and postnatal yoga teacher (2005), childbirth educated (2007), and massage therapist (2001) specializing in pregnancy and mother massage. Kaeli recognizes pregnancy, birth, and the first few years of a child’s life as profoundly formative for each individual family member, and for the family as a whole — a rite of passage filled with potential for deep growth and real change. She believes that each family’s health can be supported through unwavering respect and care as it moves through this major life transformation. Kaeli is committed to supporting access to skilled, culturally competent, and compassionate care for all families in our community, and to acknowledging and addressing the structural systems that lead to injustice and inexcusable health disparities in our state and country.

Contact:
kaeli@opencircleri.com
(401) 338-5466