Hope to empower, inform and support
WORTHINGTON — Sandra Maurer, a native of Philadelphia, is bringing doula services to Worthington and the surrounding area.
What is a doula, you may ask? According to Maurer — “labor support.”
“Traditionally, a doula will just be present during labor, but also does about one or two prenatal and postpartum visits,” Maurer said. “It’s not a medical provider. It’s educational, informational and emotional support.”
Maurer said that she is the only doula in the surrounding area, but doulas are common in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Minneapolis.
Sandra and her husband, Bryan Maurer, the newly hired music instructor at Minnesota West, moved to the area last summer. Prior to the move, she practiced doula services in Virginia, where her husband is originally from.
In addition to doula services, Maurer is also a holistic health and birth coach and a pre-natal yoga instructor. She is a certified birth doula through Birth Arts International and studied to be a yoga teacher and was certified through Yoga Life in Pennsylvania. Maurer also studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York.
“Unlike a traditional doula, I work with moms for several months before and often after birth,” Maurer said. “I also am certified and trained in teaching yoga and received additional training for prenatal yoga, so I sort of combine all of those things,” Maurer said.
Maurer said some of her coaching clients are also her doula clients. However, she is taking limited doula clients since she just had a little one of her own.
“I just had a baby five months ago, so generally I only take doula clients who are also coaching clients,” Maurer said. “As a doula, you are on call when the mother delivers, and if a doula client is also a coaching client, I’ve really gotten to know the mother and there’s trust there.”
Maurer hasn’t yet had many local clients because of her pregnancy. However, in Virginia she saw about four clients each month and had just started the coaching before she moved to Minnesota.
There are some benefits of utilizing a doula that expecting mothers may not know about.
“Often women don’t realize that their doctor or even nurse-midwife spends very little time with mothers in labor, and in fact they may have a different care provider all together on the big day,” Maurer explained.
“They also don’t know that their nurse may or may not be supportive of their birth choices and will not be able to spend a hundred percent of her time constantly caring for her even if she wants to,” she added.
According to Maurer, studies have shown repeatedly that consistency of care and one-on-one support from another woman statistically reduce chances of interventions or surgery, and women who have a doula often report feeling more positive about the birth experience.
Another benefit Maurer explained is that dads often feel more involved in the process.
“Sometimes I joke that I’m really dad’s doula,” Maurer said with a laugh.
“They (dads) can feel overwhelmed by the experience, too, and doctors can sometimes use scary and unfamiliar language, and a doula can sort of translate that,” Maurer said.
Maurer also shares her experience and training in yoga with her birth coaching clients. She teaches five yoga classes a week between the Worthington YMCA and Studios on Fifth. One of those classes beneficial for expecting moms is prenatal yoga at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
For more information and how to contact Maurer, visit www.wholebeginnings.com.