OPEN CIRCLE has moved our doula support services to a remote/virtual model during the COVID-19 Pandemic.* We invite you to attend one of our virtual “Tea With the Team” events scheduled the first Saturday of every month from 9-10am. This is a free opportunity to “meet” us all, ask questions and explore if we are a good fit for your family.

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. We offer consultations as well as a perinatal doula packages. Consultations are a great fit for a family that wants to have one or more conversations about specific pregnancy, birth and parenting topics. If you are interested in a more in-depth support, we recommend the two doula packages described in detail below.

*We hope to resume in-person support as soon as we’re able. While we are not currently offering this option due pandemic-related demands on our “first responder” team members, there are some doulas in the community who continue to offer in-person support. 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.

 

OPEN CIRCLE DOULA PROGRAM

Our Group Doula Program allows us to provide increased pregnancy birth and postpartum support to expecting and new families. During pregnancy, you will be matched with a primary doula who will be available via phone, text and email, and who will connect you with the other doulas when appropriate. In the months leading up to birth, attend unlimited group ZOOM meetings (minimum of two encouraged). These monthly meetings offer time to build community, learn about the birth process and life with a baby, and get to know the whole doula team. During your labor, receive ongoing phone, text and video conferencing support as you birth your baby and begin bonding and early recovery. During baby’s first month, receive the guidance of three ZOOM postpartum visits and continued email, text and phone support. Finally, reconnect to other families by joining a 4th Trimester Support Group meeting or a Parent-Baby yoga class (after baby is 3-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

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
  • Once monthly group meeting via ZOOM 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 ZOOM prenatal meeting between weeks 34 – 38
  • Unlimited daytime phone and email support
  • 24-hour on-call support from weeks 38-42
  • Continuous phone, text and/or video conferencing labor + birth support
  • Three ZOOM postpartum visits
  • One group ZOOM postpartum support group or family yoga class at Open Circle
  • Virtual Community Gatherings and Workshops with Other Doula Families
Pregnancy + Postpartum (no birth) Package Details
  • Once monthly group meeting via ZOOM 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 ZOOM prenatal meeting between weeks 34 – 38
  • Unlimited daytime phone and email support
  • Three ZOOM postpartum visits
  • One group ZOOM postpartum support group or parent + baby yoga class at Open Circle
  • Virtual Community Gatherings and Workshops with Other Doula Families
Extended Postpartum Care Details
REMOTE Postpartum Doula Consultations are offered by appointment in 30, 60 and 90 minute sessions. Please contact us for details.

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-$800 for a pregnancy + postpartum (no birth) package, $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 via phone, text, virtual conference or 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, and we work to understand and provide what is important to you. 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. We are hired by and work only for you.

As independent practitioners, not working for hospital systems, we strive to maintain positive and respectful relationships with your entire birth team, and have spent many years building collaborative relationships with medical providers and hospital staff.

Birth is a natural and unpredictable process; we will support you in being able to let go and adapt to the particular birth process 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 as you experience and integrate your personal journey. 

Our scope of practice includes but is not limited to: emotional support; guiding you and your birth support in physical comfort techniques including massage, counter pressure, position + movement support; use of water and temperature therapies; breath support; guided meditation and imagery; guidance on nourishment and hydration for mom and the birth team; providing education and information for advocating for your family; fostering positive and effective relationships with your medical providers; and providing prenatal and postpartum referrals to other professionals as needed.

Choosing Your Doula/s

Meeting the doula/s who you work with is important before choosing them. We offer complimentary virtual monthly “Tea With the Team” events for potential clients, so that we may mutually see if our team is a good fit for your family. You can also schedule a complimentary 30 minute with call with one of our doulas 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 interviewing 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 multiple specialties and years of experience to your care. Group prenatal meetings provide time to dive deeper into birth preparation and build community with other expecting families. Increased support over the first 4 weeks after baby is born supports family mental and physical health, breastfeeding and new parenting skills.

Upon hiring us, each new family is matched with one of our doulas as their primary point person.* This doula is available during daytime hours for phone, email and text support as you prepare for birth and postpartum. Anytime she feels it may be beneficial to call another of member of our team in to support you in an area of specialty, she will facilitate. While your primary doula will be in contact most frequently, all doulas are on your group chats so that they can stay updated and get to know your family better.

In addition to the text/phone/email support offered by your primary doula, you are encouraged to attend monthly virtual group meetings. Here you will you will have a chance spend time with the entire doula team, and to connect with other expecting families.

Between weeks 34 and 38, each family has a private prenatal meeting. This offers an opportunity to sit with the team to discuss your vision for birth and postpartum, and anything that is better suited to a private, more intimate meeting. Available dates are listed and can be signed up on the Family Portal webpage.

For families with a birth doula package, we are on call 24/7 from your 37th week of pregnancy until your birth. Our call calendar and instructions for how to reach the on-call doula can be found in the family portal (above). Our doulas work 12 hour shifts to make sure that whoever is with you is energized and effective.

*Your primary doula is chosen by our team, taking into account your due date and those of other families we are working with, and based on we’ve learned is important to your family. While families don’t directly choose their primary doula, we always like to hear what is important to you, be it language or cultural background, family traditions, history of trauma or loss, gender identity, etc, and will consider this carefully when choosing your primary doula

Group Prenatal Meetings

We offer one virtual group prenatal meeting 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, and are strongly encouraged to attend at least two.  Group meeting dates and sign-ups can be found in the family portal.

How Group Doula Support Works During Your Birth

Please also read the “When in Labor” section.

In order to always have an alert., clear-minded and able bodied! doula, we have 12 hour call-shifts. When a doula’s call comes to an end, the next doula on call will begin to support your family. We are careful to always give you a transition time with both doulas virtually “present” when these changes happen. We do not to change your support person in the middle of procedures or more intense moments. In longer labors, families consistently report appreciating having a “fresh face” and newly energized support join them.

While with you in labor your doula will reach out to rest of the doula team for insights and suggestions as needed. This helps us bring a greater depth of knowledge and more tools to your birth.

How Group Doula Support Works After the Baby is Born

Please also see the “after the birth” section.

The doula who is virtually with you when the baby is born will remain supporting you for the first few hours postpartum. As with all our support, she may consult with other team members to bring you the best care.

Over the next 24 hours, your birth doula and primary doula will work together with you to decide who will be your primary postpartum doula. This person will be available to you through texts, calls, emails and occasionally in person (with careful health screening).

In addition to responding to requests from your family, your primary postpartum doula will contact you at specific intervals over the first four weeks after the baby is born: at 24 hours, three days, one week, and weekly (or more) until the baby is four weeks old.

She will help schedule your postpartum virtual visits, and may call in other team members for specialized support. Not uncommonly, two or more of the team will attend your postpartum virtual visits.

As baby moves toward their fourth week, your primary postpartum doula will also be helping you adjust to the transition out of our care, making sure you are ready and have connections to other Open Circle offerings and broader community supports.

Email, Text and Phone Support

Each family has a group What’s App text thread with all the doulas. We are available by phone, text 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

For those with a birth doula package, 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 webpage. In general, we work in shifts. Once we enter your on-call period (see following section), we encourage families to check in with us each week to let us know how you’re doing, especially after appointments with your caregiver (Dr. / Midwife).

When Labor Begins

If you know you are in labor or wonder if you may be: 

Please be in contact with us by calling or texting the CALL number when you know (or wonder if!) labor has begun. The on-call doula will support you to stay as rested as possible and create an environment that helps develop a strong and healthy labor pattern. In early labor 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. You are always welcome to be in contact with us more regularly in early labor.  

It is up to you to decide at what point in labor you and for how long you would like us to be on the phone or video conferencing. If there are times during your labor where privacy feels important, we simply log off and stay ready for when our support is needed again.

During Labor

As labor intensifies, we continue to support you via telephone, text and video conferencing. We may offer suggestions, emotional and informational support and help with strategies for talking to your medical team. We may guide you and your partner in comfort measures may include breathing, relaxation techniques, movement, effective labor positions, and physical support to relieve pain. We offer guidance to birth partners’ to build confidence  in offering labor support, and remind her/her/them the importance of caring for him/her/themselves. and caring for him/her/themself.

We take seriously our commitment to help you practice informed decision-making and understand your rights. 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.

Here is an acronym to help you further imagine times in labor where our support may be helpful:

    • Suggestion  (if you desire a suggestion from us, or if an intervention has be suggested and you want to discuss)
    • Undecided  (if you are feeling undecided about what to do)
    • Position      (if you want position change suggestions)
    • Pause         (if labor seems to pause or slow down / if you need a pause in order to decide what to do)
    • Overwhelm   (if either or you is feeling overwhelmed emotionally and need support or guidance)
    • Rhythm       (if rhythm changes, or you lose your rhythm and need help getting back on track)
    • Tension      (if tension is being held in the body, and you need soothing guidance)
After the Birth

We usually remain supporting you remotely for one to two hours postpartum (after birth) to ensure you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together. We also provide suggestions on initiating breastfeeding, if desired. For the first four weeks after birth, your primary doula or birth doula 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 the day after the birth to check in, again at day three, and then weekly (or sooner/more if needed). When you are ready, we will schedule for our first of three virtual zoom postpartum visits (occasionally, this will be in person, if the benefits of in person contact warrant the possible exposure risks).

During your 3 virtual postpartum visits, we offer support with any questions that are arising, such as physical care for the mother/birthing parent, newborn care, family sleep strategies and relationship challenge. These meetings are also a time to talk about your birth experience, discuss how your family is doing and whether you would like any help finding physical or emotional health resources in the community.  After the baby is 4 weeks old, you are welcome to attend a parent + baby yoga class and/or 4th Trimester support group.

And, of course, throughout, we will spend ample time admiring your beautiful baby!

Professional Relationships

We believe that families are best supported by a collaborative birth environment. It is our goal to work closely and respectfully with your medical team, while always centering and supporting your family’s wishes. Many of our doulas have worked with local maternity care providers for years, and built strong and mutually respectful 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. We will do our best as your doulas to help you to have the birth you desire. It is important 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 qualities and experiences.

It is important to know that our births often call us into deep personal transformations that can be as challenging as they are wonderful. 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. Slowly, 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 and grow through the experience, over time.

As your doulas, is not our place to take responsibility for your birth process or the choices made by you or your practitioner.  Instead we support you to take that seat of power, while committing to offering you non-judgmental and compassionate support throughout. 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 present and connected internally and to your birth support. We commit to trusting the power of each family’s journey and each family’s capacity to choose what is best for them.

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 doulas 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 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, a 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 support 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.comhttp://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 Postpartum 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