CELEBRATE the special journey of pregnancy and birth through the support of a doula.
Through support and a variety of techniques such as aromatherapy and homeopathic remedies, East Bowral resident Kelly Pyne offers an inclusive service to pregnant women.
"I am a doula and that means I support parents during pregnancy, childbirth and the early post-natal period," Kelly said.
"No matter how or where you choose to birth your baby, I am there to provide support, empathy, compassion and information."
Kelly holds a Certificate IV in Doula Services, the only government accredited doula training in the world.
"A doula provides continuity of care, which in busy hospital environments these days can be difficult due to staffing issues and protocols," she said.
"Doctors and midwives are very busy with many patients and it's virtually impossible for them to be with birthing mothers 100 per cent of the time. I am there with them for the entire labour, providing reassurance to both the mother and her partner. Doulas do not have shift changes."
Kelly's focus is on providing information and options for pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.
"Women and their partners need to be informed and supported during pregnancy and childbirth. I want to help empower parents so they feel good about the choices they've made," she said.
A key part of Kelly's service is to provide clients with balanced information.
"I converse with my clients about their fears, expectations and choices, so they can then make decisions based on this information that best suits them," she said.
"It's all about informed consent and basically, it's not informed consent if you haven't been given all the information, or have been given biased information. Everyone has a right to all the information when it comes down to medical procedures. It's a human right."
One of Kelly's clients, Buxton resident Bec Hogarth, is pregnant with her third child and has chosen to work with a doula during this pregnancy. After a traumatic first birth and two caesareans, Bec is already feeling the difference with Kelly around.
"When Kelly comes to the appointments, she is able to explain everything to us in detail and it makes the whole experience more personal, rather than just walking out the door feeling like another statistic," Bec said.
"With Kelly's help, I'm more prepared now. We have done three birth plans and having that in mind, I feel a bit more relaxed and prepared."
Kelly's doula services include prenatal visits, attending medical appointments if required, attending the birth and providing post natal services that include a labour debrief, breastfeeding and settling techniques and housework support to allow new mothers to rest.
"I attend the birth from whenever the parents feel they need me there and I provide non-medical support that involves massage, the use of aromatherapy, lots of positive encouragement and support and affirmations to make parents, especially mothers, comfortable," Kelly said.
"I support the partner as well because a lot of partners don't know what to do or how to help the mother during labour. I help show them how they can support the mother so that they can play a more active role in the birth of their baby."
An important part of Kelly's services is trying to avoid medical intervention for women to start off with.
"Pregnancy and childbirth are a journey that should be honoured and I think the spirituality of this process has been lost over the years because it's become such a medical procedure," Kelly said.
"That's not to say there's no need for medical assistance. Sometimes there is a genuine reason for medical intervention and without it mothers' and babies' health can be compromised."
"I believe that sometimes these procedures are used unnecessarily and can sometimes lead to unexpected and unwanted outcomes. The statistics at the moment are 97 per cent of women who birth their babies, have some sort of intervention during childbirth, and that's ridiculous."
"Birthing our babies is one of the most natural things that we are put on earth to do and our bodies are made to do it. Women have been doing this for centuries and we don't give our bodies enough credit for its amazingness," she said.
Kelly offers along with her doula package, the chance to celebrate this magical time with a belly casting, blessingway hosting and birth photography, as well as placenta encapsulation through traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) methods.
"Benefits of TCM have been proven for centuries and include, but are not limited to, reducing the incidence of post natal depression, balancing hormones and helping to retract down the uterus after birth," Kelly said.
"I have been consuming my placenta [in capsule form] after the birth of my fifth baby, and have never felt more energised. The baby weight has literally dropped off me, I have so much energy and I just feel a sense of overall wellness."
As part of her doula services, Kelly is 'on call' two weeks before the estimated due date and two weeks after. Kelly also works closely with other local doulas in the unlikely event that she cannot attend a birth due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness.
"You can't put a price on that kind of support," she said.
"I'm always learning and I don't intend to stop learning, especially because there is always new research coming out which keeps me on my toes."
"I love what I do. It's about seeing parents happy and empowered with their birth choice. It's amazing to see that transformation and I really do think that every woman should have a doula."
Kelly's doula business Birthing Love, offers different packages to suit the needs and requirements of most expectant parents and payment plans are available.
Placenta services and homemade Mummy Munchies are also offered. Kelly's homemade Mummy Munchies help increase breast milk supply.
Visit Kelly's Birthing Love website for more information: www.birthinglove.com.au/ or call Kelly on 0416 073 440.