Doula does it

Anne Junge


Los Molinos resident Anne Junge left the hospital after having her first baby knowing the 35-hour-long labor could have gone better. So she began researching “doulas”—women who support mothers during pregnancy and childbirth—and learned that she and her husband could have had the physical and mental support they needed in the hospital had they pursued one. Today, the mother of two is certified with DONA International, the world’s largest association of doulas, and takes on about two clients per month. So far, she has tended to seven births, and supports women and their partners in executing the kind of birth plan they envision. She is also a volunteer doula at Enloe Medical Center, where she tends to women on an on-call basis. Junge is one of about 20 North State women who are certified or are currently pursuing certification. To contact her, e-mail <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,104,97,112,112,121,112,117,115,104,64,104,111,116,109,97,105,108,46,99,111,109,34,62,104,97,112,112,121,112,117,115,104,64,104,111,116,109,97,105,108,46,99,111,109,60,47,97,62)) } </script> or call her at 592-7887.

What does a doula do?

If you think back to Little House on the Prairie days, Caroline Ingalls used to go to every birth. She wasn’t a midwife, she wasn’t a doctor, but she was there. That’s kind of what a doula is—we’re there to provide emotional and physical support.

How is a doula different from a midwife?

A doula does not do anything medical. A midwife will deliver a baby, she’ll do vaginal exams, she’ll listen to fetal heart tones. We’re just there for support. We’re all used to seeing a woman laboring in bed, and that’s not necessarily what a woman wants to instinctively do when she’s in labor—she wants to move around and work through what she’s feeling and experiencing.

How did having a doula change your second labor experience?

My husband is my best friend; we are very close. So I went into my first labor saying, “Oh, we’ve got this under control.” But you get in there and it’s a totally different experience. We didn’t know how to communicate with one another, and both of us were wanting to please the other one. When you have a third party that knows a lot about labor and delivery and how to help you through it, it helps the couple communicate better and it makes the process smoother.

Why are you a doula?

It’s very rewarding. I think after the first woman I tended to, I was on an emotional high for 24 hours. When I’m on call [at the hospital], I just go there and hang out and introduce myself to women. I’ve never had anybody turn me down, and after they give birth they say, “I am so glad you were here.”