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How do you doula?

Local woman offers services to expectant mothers

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Birth Doula and Herbalist Hannah Pye, of Fort Dodge, holds her daughter Ezran, 1. Pye is working on getting her practice up and running after recently moving to the area.

For Doula and Herbalist Hannah Pye, of Fort Dodge, the question of just exactly what a “birth doula” is and what she does isn’t uncommon.

She’s a helper.

“A birth doula is a birth coach, a support partner and a bridge of communication between the coach and the provider.” Pye said.

Pye said a doula has a different role than a midwife.

“Doulas are working much more hands on,” she said. “We’re there longer, we don’t catch babies unless we have to. We’re focused on the physical and emotional support of the mother. We really get to know the mother. Midwives try but often they don’t have as much time as a doula. A doula is just there for the mom. A midwife is for the mom and baby, it’s more of the medical side. I offer emotional and physical support from a less medical point.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Birth Doula and Herbalist Hannah Pye, of Fort Dodge, watches as her son, Ronan, 5, zips down the slide at Snell-Crawford Park.

Pye, who’s recently moved to the area, has four children of her own. During the pregnancy and birth with her third, she had a doula, too.

“That’s what did it for me,” she said. “It was great to have someone support me, help me post partum. It was also great support for my husband. It was a new hospital, she helped make sure things went according to my birth plan.”

Pye trained under Sabbath Schrader and other members of the Sacred Doulas group. Like other professionals, Pye continues to learn and expand her knowledge and experience.

“I continue to learn from the amazing birth workers I’m privileged to work alongside of,” she said.

She said health care providers are happy to have a doula working with their patients.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Birth Doula and Hebalist Hannah Pye, of Fort Dodge, holds her daughter Aletheia, 3, after a little boo boo on the playground. A Birth Doula serves as a support during pregnancy, birth and post-partum. Her own experience with a Birth Doula inspired her to train to become one herself.

“Lots of providers love doulas,” she said. “They’re happy to see us there. They’ve learned we’re cooperative, it’s beneficial to both sides.”

She said having a doula help an expecting mother can offer them several important benefits. She said the need for C Sections is reduced, ACOG scores are better, there’s less need for pain medication and the informed consent is much more “informed.”

“All in all,” she said. “Mom and baby have better outcomes.”

Besides working on building her new client base in Fort Dodge with several local health providers, she’s also an herbalist. She said she hopes to be able to open a clinic for that sometime in the next year.

Herbal medicine is also something she uses in her role as a doula.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Birth Doula and Herbalist Hannah Pye, of Fort Dodge, spends some quality time with her own children at Snell-Crawford Park recently. Pye is working to establish her practice in Fort Dodge. She's holding Aletheia, 3, catching Ronan, 5 and waiting on Demian, 7, to make his way back up to the top of the slides.

“Herbs can be surprisingly helpful in every stage of pregnancy including post-partum,” she said.

Pye can be contacted through her Facebook page “Hannah Pye Herbalist and Doula” or via email at hannahpyesapothecary@gmail.com

“The consultation is free,” she said. “I encourage everyone to ask lots of questions.”

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