Welcome! My name is Beth Marsh and I am the owner of Birth Haven Doula Services. I provide labor and birth support as a certified labor doula (CLD) for families in the Sioux Empire area. I am also an RN with a BSN, and my background includes ten years working as a nurse in labor and delivery as well as teaching childbirth education in the hospital and private setting.
I completed my doula certification through CAPPA and have attended Spinning Babies workshops as part of my ongoing professional development.
As a labor doula, I work with families planning hospital births as well as home births attended by a licensed midwife. I feel incredibly blessed that God has asked me to help usher into the world these precious gifts we call our children.
Why Birth Haven?
My role as a labor doula is to help you have a positive and empowering birth experience which I believe happens best in an environment where you feel safe and supported, nurtured and respected. Every birth is different and each woman's birth is unique to her. As a labor doula, I understand that individual needs and birth preferences vary and my role is to support you in whatever way you desire to give birth.
photos courtesy of Kate Jones
What Is A Doula?
Taken from the Greek language, the word doula means "woman who serves". During labor and birth, a doula remains in constant and close proximity to the mother while providing physical, emotional and informational support. A doula does not perform clinical tasks such as cervical checks, monitoring of vital signs or checking baby's heart rate. A doula does not replace your husband or partner, but encourages your support person to play an active role if desired. A doula does not make decisions for you or speak on your behalf, but will encourage self-advocacy and help facilitate communication between you and your birth team.
Why Hire A Doula?
"The most predictable thing about birth is its total unpredictability." -Penny Simkin
Birth truly is unpredictable and every birth is different! Sometimes labor can happen very quickly, but labor can also be long or more challenging than expected and having a doula present can help you and your partner get through some difficult moments. A labor doula is knowledgable about comfort measures that can help a birthing woman cope with the work of labor and help her to feel more in control. These include things like: assisting the mother into positions that will help facilitate birth, helping her relax in a warm bath or shower, using therapeutic touch such as massage, and offering words of encouragement and reassurance. A doula's presence contributes to a calm and peaceful environment which can be beneficial in helping the mother to relax. A doula is familiar with how birth looks and sounds, and can help the birthing woman and her partner understand what is happening at different stages of the labor. A doula offers back up to the partner when they need a break to eat, sleep or use the restroom. Doulas are equipped to support all the varied ways that birth occurs, including inductions, medicated and unmedicated birth, cesareans, and VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean).
What Does the Research Say?
In 2013, an article was published reviewing the results of multiple research studies that looked at the impact of continuous labor support, such as a doula, on birthing outcomes. Their findings showed the following positive outcomes: more spontaneous vaginal births, fewer cesarean and instrumental births such as vacuum or forceps, decreased use of epidurals and pain medication, shorter labors, and greater satisfaction with the birth experience. (Article Link)
In 2017, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) made the following recommendation: "Evidence suggests that, in addition to regular nursing care, continuous one-to-one emotional support provided by support personnel, such as a doula, is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor." (Article Link)