2017 Statistics

2017 is almost over, and it’s time to do my yearly, birth review!  I had the honor of attending 16 births this year.  Fewer than I normally attend, but traveling with my family was a major priority this year. 🙂  So, out of 16 births….

14 were vaginal deliveries, 1 was vacuum assisted, and 2 were cesareans

2 of my clients were induced, and neither of them got an epidural!

5 of them had their water break before labor started

8 occurred in the hospital, 6 in a birth center, and 2 at home

3 of the hospital births were birth center transfers (1 for vacuum delivery and 2 for becoming high risk)

2 clients had epidurals

2 Successful VBACs, 1 Repeat Cesarean

2 delivered after 41 weeks, 9 delivered after 40 weeks, and 5 delivered after 39 weeks

2 babies were born on their due dates

I would love to be your doula in 2018 and help you have a great birthing experience!  Contact me for a free consultation.

Marie Bigelow, MT, AdvCD(DONA)



Anniversary Sale!

14 years ago I began my journey into the world of doula work and childbirth education. Since then, I have been able to support 130 births as a doula, given birth to 4 children of my own, and teach hundreds of couples in my Music Birth classes.  It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my adult life.  To celebrate this milestone, I’m offering some great discounts for the next 14 days!

Take $14 off your Music Birth Class Tuition.  ($60-$14= $46)

Take $14 off the cost of the self-study course, Music and Miracles.  ($75-$14= $61)

Take 14% off your doula deposit.

Basic Package ($350-$49= $301)

Supreme Package ($400-$56= $344)


Contact me for a free consultation.  I would love to help you have a great birth!

Marie Bigelow, MT, AdvCD(DONA)

All sale prices end at 11:59 pm, Saturday, September 28th, 2017.

Professional Presentations

Do you run a professional or church group that would benefit from a guest speaker?  Today I am excited to announce 7 classes/presentations that I would LOVE to present to your group!  By combining LDS doctrine with scientific data, my presentations are sure to inform, engage and excite your group.  With over a decade of teaching experience and public speaking engagements, you can trust that you will be educated and entertained.  Currently, all of my presentations are available in the Treasure Valley and the Wasatch Front/Salt Lake Valley.  Contact me here for more details or to get something scheduled.

Below you will find my options.  Want something different?  Just let me know!  I’m happy to cater my presentation to your group’s needs.


Complimentary Presentations

Appropriate for Activity Days, Young Women/Young Men, Youth Firesides, Relief Society Meetings, etc.

Each presentation is approximately 1 hour- 45 minutes plus 15 minutes for questions/discussion.

  1. Redeeming Childbirth: Understanding God’s design for childbirth and how it fits into the plan of salvation. Also discusses how women are changed and magnified through the process of giving birth.
  1. Historical Birth: From pioneers to millennials, understanding how birth has changed for better and worse.
  1. Heavenly Mother: Where did She go and how can I find Her?

Stipend Presentations ($50-$100 depending on distance traveled.)

Appropriate for expectant couples, doula groups, childbirth educators, parent support groups etc.

Each presentation is approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes plus 15 minutes for questions/discussion.

  1. What is an empowered birth and how can I have one? Evidence based decision- making will also be discussed.
  2. A doula’s role to educate and still provide unconditional support. Finding the line between judgement and trained support.
  3. Make or break: How those you invite to your birth will influence it for good or bad.

Tuition Class (outside of Boise)

3 hour Music Birth Class, $75/couple.  Minimum of 2 couples.

As a one-night comprehensive class, Music Birth is perfect for busy parents-to-be, a great refresher course for experienced parents and an empowering class for all parents who want to have a safe and comfortable birth. This class teaches moms how to become deeply relaxed, support people how to effectively encourage and comfort the birthing woman, and is the only class that teaches how to effectively use music during birth.

Class tuition includes 3 hours of professional instruction, one signed copy of my book The Sacred Gift of Childbirth: Making Empowered Choices for You and Your Baby, Music Birth Class Manual, Playlist sample CD and Imagery practice CD.

Presentations by Marie Bigelow, MT, AdvCD(DONA)

Giving Good Gifts: Observing the 4th Trimester

“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2: 10 & 11 

Who doesn’t love Christmas?! A joyous but stressful time filled with the hustle and bustle of celebrating and gift-giving. It reminds me of another joyous time in our lives, (often filled with exhaustion and stress…) having a baby. Mindfulness and careful preparation can lighten the load for either event. If you prepare and keep in mind the reason for this season in your life, slowing down can be a great blessing and gift to you and your family.

The Gift of Being Prepared

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Jesus Christ’s birth has been foretold and testified of by prophets since the beginning of time, and is a necessary part of our Heavenly Father’s plan for our happiness. In the pre-existence, a plan was presented to us. We chose to follow that plan, and if we persevere in following that plan, we are promised blessings now and in the eternities. Similar blessings are yours if you take the time to plan the important events in your life. This goes double for childbirth.

Most people are now familiar with the term ‘birth plan’. A birth plan helps you prepare for your birth and helps you communicate to others what your needs and wishes are.  I also think women should create a postpartum plan.  Adding a postpartum plan will help when you are being bombarded with the unfamiliar. It will remind you of what you need to be be doing (or not doing) for yourself and baby, as well as empowering other loved ones who want to support you during this special time.

If possible communicate with your husband about ways he can lighten your load during this time, and let any visitors help out around the house. Make a list of chores you are comfortable allowing others to do. Things like dishes and sweeping would be easy suggestions, even things such as food preparation and laundry can be included… depending on your comfort level and your visitors’ willingness. If you have older children consider if they would benefit from some extra care and attention and enlist others to help you fill those needs. Allowing others to serve us isn’t always easy, and we often forget that serving blesses both the giver and the receiver. Be sure to give others the gift of a chance to serve!

A doula would be a great resource to assist in understanding what sort of things to include in a postpartum plan. Your birth doula will be there to support you for an hour or two after baby is born and can help you protect that invaluable time for bonding. Some doulas are even trained as postpartum doulas whom you can hire to help out at home after baby comes. This is a great option if you don’t have a lot of close family or friends around who have extra time to lend a hand. Benefits of a postpartum doula can include anything listed in the above paragraph as well as breastfeeding support, running errands, and assisting in newborn and self care. A Doula will also have a good list of local resources such as care providers and support groups that she can help refer you to for additional support.

The Gift of Rest

After your baby is born, I suggest taking a page from Mary and Joseph’s experience. They were only visiting Bethlehem when the “days were accomplished that she should be delivered.” Yet we know that they remained in Bethlehem for at least 40 days.  And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;’ Luke 2:22. We find an explanation of this law in Leviticus Chapter 12 (verses 1-4)  that gives us a better time frame. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days;… And she shall then continue in… her purifying three and thirty days…”  For further clarity the bible dictionary notes : “Uncleanness referred to being ceremonially or ritually unclean and should not be taken to mean that…. the bearing of children was morally evil. These regulations… were introduced in the law of carnal commandments (of performances and ordinances) of the law of Moses; being fulfilled by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, they are no longer required of the believers.”

The word ‘carnal’ can simply refer to that which is earthy or natural. I think we can take the word ‘purifying’ and equate it instead with healing, opposed to some sort of “cleansing”.  I tend to think that the Lord gave this law to protect this essential time of healing for mothers and babies.

Even today, many cultures understand this important concept and observe this postpartum period in various important ways that we seem to have forgotten in American culture. Places like Mexico and the Netherlands as well as Vietnam and China use this time to have other caregivers around to do household chores and take care of mom- giving her a chance to focus on resting and caring for baby.

There are science-based reasons why this is an important time for babies and mothers. The World Health Organization has supplied recommendations for postnatal care of infants and mothers with the preface that “The days and weeks following childbirth – the postnatal period – is a critical phase in the lives of mothers and newborn babies. Most maternal and infant deaths occur during this time. Yet, this is the most neglected period for the provision of quality care.” It may also be noted that observing this time could even help to keep postpartum depression at bay.

Momentum is growing to encourage families to take better care of themselves in the 4th Trimester and consciously reserve at least the 12 week period directly after childbirth as a time of healing and bonding. There are many things you can do to prepare before baby is born. The way you take care of yourself before birth as well as the environment and procedures involved in delivery can continue to influence your postpartum period.

The Gift of Bonding and Development

Behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Matt 2:1-2

After the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Wise Men celebrated by bringing him gold, frankincense and myrrh. These thoughtful gifts held both symbolic and practical meaning and would serve the family well. The gifts we give new families should support the mother’s healing and the infant-mother bond. The greatest gift we can give others and ourselves is the the time to enjoy the gift of bonding with a new baby.

Birth is a big transition for everyone in a family, especially for babies. They are busy adapting to the change of environment that comes from leaving the womb as well as continuing to develop in some major ways. One of the reasons we use the term 4th trimester is because, even at term, human babies are born in a very helpless and immature state. It is an important time for development of the brain. This helplessness does not make them subhuman in fact I would argue that it’s more of a superhuman state. They are developing at an impressive rate and their experiences during this time can have a powerful effect on that development. A lot of this learning is done through sounds and touch, especially that of the mother. Next to breastfeeding, this is the best gift you can give your baby.

Taking this time to be with your baby helps to facilitate the rest that you need. Parenthood is a marathon. You can think of pregnancy and birth as the training stage and the postpartum period as the rest and recovery stage. It isn’t simply resting but knowing what to do to recover.  Taking care of your exhausted body for the long but satisfying road ahead is the best gift you can give to yourself.

Remember the old adage “you can’t pour from an empty cup. ”  When you make taking care of yourself a priority, you increase your capacity to care for others. So, remember to celebrate the birth of your baby by giving the gift of a peaceful 4th trimester.  

 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2: 13-14  


Share with us: What was the best thing that you did for yourself and your baby in the 4th trimester?

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!

Written by Karrie Green.  

Wife and Mother of 4.

Owner of Green Touch Doula Care

Madriella Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula, Pre Certified Birth Arts International Birth Doula

Serving women in southern MN and northern Iowa.

“As the middle of 7 children I was introduced to birth and breastfeeding at a young age, even being in attendance at my younger siblings births. I was always fascinated with my mother’s pregnancy books especially the pictures of baby developing in the womb. After my own birth experiences I felt a desire to help empower other families but didn’t know how to go about it. I was very happy to have finally figured it out when I discovered my calling as a doula!”  Karrie



Give the gift of a great birth!  The Sacred Gift of Childbirth is the perfect book to give this Christmas.

A Necessity Disguised as a Luxury

“Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension”. *


As a licensed massage therapist, birth doula and postpartum doula, I have seen first-hand the benefits and effects of massage on pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period.  Today I want to tell you how I incorporate massage into all my areas of support and expertise, and teach you the many ways massage can support a mother from conception through postpartum.


During pregnancy I recommend at least one massage a month, but more if they are experiencing pain and tension. Some of my clients get massages every 2 weeks. I’ve had others who get far less. Whatever you decide, there is no doubt it will have a positive effect for you and your pregnancy. One of my clients decided to get massaged on the same schedule as her doctor’s appointments; once a month until 28 weeks, then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks when she started coming every week. I thought it was a brilliant plan.

Massage provides many benefits during pregnancy including: “*Reduced back pain, reduced joint pain, improved circulation, reduced edema, reduced headaches, better sleep and reduced stress.”  Plus, it feels amazing! Many women I know just do not take the time to take care of themselves. To me, massage is therapeutic, not a fancy “rich person” thing to do. My business slogan is; massage is a necessity disguised as a luxury. I get massaged every two weeks because I need it, and not just when I’m pregnant! My body goes through a lot and If I don’t take care of myself then I won’t be able to keep doing the work I love for long.

Some pregnancy symptoms that I have personally helped clients with include; SPD, carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJD, headaches, back aches, round ligament pain and edema. I cannot guarantee results but most of the time women see a lot of improvement.

Labor Induction:

Many women contact me during the end of their pregnancy for a kick-start labor massage. This is actually one of my favorite massages to do. Of course it doesn’t always work, but well over half the time it does. I have even had women go into labor on my table! (Which I never get tired of.) A kick-start labor massage includes relaxing the back, neck and hip area as well as focusing on the acupressure and reflexology points that are known to start labor. If it doesn’t work, at least the pregnant mama got some needed relaxation and tension relief.  I’ve learned special points to induce labor in classes and from mentors that have done this for years. I have practiced and honed my skills in the 6+ years since I’ve graduated from school.


There is a small percentage of women who don’t like touch during labor but most of them find that massage relaxes them and lessens their discomfort.  When my clients ask me if I can massage them during labor I always respond with “Yes!  And it will feel amazing!”

Almost all of my doula clients love foot rubs and back rubs during labor, as well as the counter-pressure techniques I do. There are certain acupressure points I use to make sure their labor progresses smoothly, especially if they have an epidural. I also use clary sage oil and some blends made by my doula agency, Beautiful Birth Doulas.

Since I specialize in massage I include one massage in every doula client’s birth package, with the option of adding on more massages if requested. I actually have a good reason to include this, besides the fact that everyone needs massage. First, women seem to go into labor when they are relaxed. so keeping them relaxed in the final weeks of pregnancy is very beneficial. Second, by giving my pregnant clients a massage before they are in labor, I can gage their pressure preferences, ticklish spots, and tense areas. This allows me to know exactly what each client prefers and automatically do it when I’m massaging during labor! (Sneaky, I know, but it really does make me seem like I have “magic hands”.)  Just as you want your doula to get to know you, it’s a good idea for her to get to know your massage preferences, too.


As a postpartum doula, I cannot neglect the “4th trimester.”  Though the first 6 weeks after birth are critical for recovery, this is a time most American women seem to skimp on. They feel the need to get up and go to church or go to the store mere days after giving birth. Here is my opinion, if you feel a surge of energy, save that energy for healing! And massage can be a great way to facilitate postpartum healing.

Massage is appropriate and useful any time after a woman has given birth. Massage done within the first few days postpartum is typically most comfortable for the woman inside her own home, and I am always happy to provide these (even when mom is wearing her postpartum underwear!).  Most moms who’ve had epidurals find that their back muscles around the injection site are sore and tender. Also many women give birth squatting or are bouncing on the birth ball during labor, which leads to sore legs and glutes.

Generally I tell women that 2-6 weeks postpartum is an ideal time to come in and get a massage. During postpartum massage I always include the stomach, which most women love. Don’t confuse this stomach massage with the often painful “uterine massage” nurses perform soon after a woman gives birth. This is a very gentle, soothing massage that can help your uterus shrink down to normal, organs return to place faster, helps with constipation and also with digestion.

If you have had a cesarean birth, I can’t do stomach massage until 6 weeks. If you are breastfeeding, postpartum massage can help with your strained back and neck from those awkward breastfeeding positions we sometimes find ourselves in.

Pregnancy changes the body drastically over 9 months. I believe massage can help facilitate these changes and make for an easier birth and recovery. I would encourage all pregnant women to make prenatal massages a part of their pregnancy journey.


Written Jennifer Anderson LMT, Beautiful birth doula and postpartum doula

Owner of Tachi Massage

898 S State St STE 310, Orem UT 84058

Mention this post and get $15 of a massage or $50 off a doula package.

Jennifer has been a licensed massage therapist for over 6 years. She graduated from UCMT. She’s loved every minute of it. The last few years especially, Jennifer has focused on prenatal massages, and is now a birth doula and postpartum doula. She usually incorporates massages into everything. Over the years she has worked at spas and chiropractor’s offices as well as private practice. She is always hungry to learn and grow her knowledge to share with clients and friends. Jennifer is married to an amazing guy Dennis and together they have 2 daughters, 6 and 4 as well as another on the way!


*I am not a doctor and you should discuss any lifestyle changes with your doctor or midwife

From Scary to Sacred: How One LDS Doula Utilizes the Holy Ghost.

Sometimes, birth can be terrifying, especially if you put it in the wrong light.  Today I would like to share with you some of my more intimidating birth experiences and share how I turned scary into sacred.

The Sacredness of Following a Prompting

With over 20 years of doula experience, I have learned to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost when I am supporting a birthing woman.  I know that following these sacred promptings has made the difference for me and for those that I support. I can remember one specific birth I was supporting when the client had been pushing for over an hour.  She had been lying on her back in stirrups.  The OB said that if something did not change soon they would end up on a c-section.

I had the thought of taking a sheet and playing tug of war with the laboring mom during each contraction.  This helped mom to change her position, and gave her something to hold on to as she bore down.  This was the game changer, and in less than 30 min mom had given birth.

www.Mariebigelow.com (4)

The Sacredness of Mother’s Intuition

I am not the only one that can hear the promptings.  I have always believed in a “mother’s intuition”, and feel that a mother’s intuition is the prompting of the Holy Ghost.  I am reminded of a laboring client who was laboring at home over night.  Everything seemed to be going well, and on schedule.  We had talked about when we were going to head to the hospital, trying to take rush-hour traffic into account.  After taking into account how her labor as going, and timing we had decided to stay home until after rush hour.
While standing in the shower, mom looked at me and said, “I have to go in now.”  So we packed everything up and headed into the hospital.  It was before rush hour, but I believe in following a mom when she says something.  As we walked into labor and delivery her water broke, and there was meconium in the water.

Had we labored at home we would have been fighting rush hour traffic to get to the hospital. Because of the way her labor progressed she might have given birth in the car on the way to the hospital.  With the meconium in the water this would have been a risk to the baby.

Sacred Healing

I also believe that heavenly father can give us the gift of healing when things do not go the way we plan or want.

A couple of years ago I was excited to work with a young family that was planning to use a birthing center for their birth.  Not only was everything in the pregnancy going well, this baby was their surprise blessing, as she was told she was not able to bear children.  She planned on giving birth in a birth center, and there was nothing to indicate that a birth center birth would not happen.

After supporting this couple in their home for a few hours, we left for the birthing center.  Mom was amazing as she worked through each phase of labor. As the time passed, the labor progressed slowly.  At times it seemed like labor would stop progressing, and we would consider transferring to the hospital.  But every time we considered it, mom’s body seemed to know what it needed to do to move forward, and it did.

After laboring for three days at the birth center, mom was finally dilated to 10 cm!  When the urge to push came, the midwife checked and gave the go ahead.  Mom pushed like an amazing warrior woman for 3+ hours.  The law states that after the water is broken for over 24 hours and the mom has been pushing for over 3 hours that they must transport the patient to a hospital for care.  We had hit our times limits, so the midwife transferred mom to the hospital.  She just could not push the baby out, not for lack of trying, but because the baby was stuck.

I followed the client to the hospital, and was there when the family came out of the cesarean.   The mom felt like she had lost something.  I remember feeling the warmth of the Holy Ghost as it gave me the words to say to comfort this mother.   I told her “You are amazing and strong.  You did everything you could.  It was not your fault when your daughter- for whatever reason- needed to come into the world this way.   You did everything you could.  And you will be an amazing mother.”

After her birth, Haylie, the mom from the above story, posted this about me “My birth was a hard and long journey. I was happy to have Bev with me the whole time. She stuck by my side with all 3 days of my labor and even stayed when we transferred to the hospital. She helped me through the pain even better than my own mother could.  She made me feel powerful and like a real woman. She reassured me that even though the birth ended up in a c section, I tried my hardest and that I was doing the best thing for me and my baby. I would recommend her to anyone who is about to give birth. I will ask her back for another birth if I ever get pregnant again.”

Four years later, I was given the privilege of supporting Haylie in the VBAC of another daughter.  The labor started naturally.  Mom was scared that something would go wrong with this birth, such as this little one would also get stuck and mom would end up with another C-section.

The labor progressed quickly, and soon it was time to push.  As mom started to push we felt the Holy Ghost fill into the room with comfort.  Mom had a natural VBAC.  I knew that our Heavenly Father provided healing for both of us during this amazing birth.

Though birth can take turns that can fill us with fear, by utilizing the Holy Ghost we can replace those feelings with feelings of peace, and know that God is always aware of the birthing woman.


Written by Beverly Young-Reed

Web: www.birthnmore.com

Email: Bev@oakharborbirth.com

Phone: 360-292-5976

Beverly started her path into the birth world over 30 years ago when she was expecting her first child.  She took a couple of different childbirth classes because she really wanted to be prepared.  It was during one of those classes she knew she wanted to become a Childbirth Educator.  She took a training to become a “Birth Coach”.  In April 1, 1985, Bev coached her first birth

Bev decided to certify as a “Doula’ with a local organization that has since closed its doors.  Bev received her first international doula certification in 2003 with DONA, then in 2013 with Madriella.  She is currently working on cross certification with StillBirth Day as a bereavement doula, and ProDoula.  In 1996 Bev received her “Childbirth Educator for Doulas” certification and started teaching private and group childbirth classes.  She is currently working on the CBE certification with ProDoula. In 2008 Bev received her accreditation as a Level 2/3 provider for the Power of Positive Parenting. Bev has multiple certifications, collage classes, and various trainings that help her to be a great doula.  She is always seeking out new knowledge to stay current and to learn new things.
Bev has served with various organizations that focus on pregnancy, families, and parenting.  She was a founding board member for Bay Area Birth Information while living in the Bay Area.  She was asked to join the Tacoma Labor Companions board of directors, and served on the Advisory Board for Madriella helping to create the doula curriculum while mentoring new doulas.  Bev was one of the first two Madriella Hands on Doula workshop providers.  For local hospitals Bev created a volunteer, on-call Doula program at Capital Medical Center, and was one of the first volunteer doulas at St. Joseph’s hospital in Tacoma. Bev continues to be active in her local birthing community providing outreach and resources for families.

Bev joined the LDS church at the age of 15.  She was sealed in the Seattle Temple to her husband, and they parented 5 children together.  She loves to serve her Heavenly Father whenever she can.  Some of her favorite callings have been Primary 1st counselor, Ward music leader, and Relief Society teacher.

Educating, not Shaming

Knowledge is power, and I love knowledge.  I also love power, but not in the traditional sense.  I don’t want to have power over other people.  I want to have power over myself, and the power to make the best decisions for myself and my family.  I want to understand my options, and I want to know what the likely consequences are for my choices.  I’ve always been this way.  I’m so afraid of making a wrong choice!  I’ve always been a long-term thinker… considering how every major choice will effect me as time moves forward.  (Except for my daily choice to drink diet coke… But hey, we all have flaws, right?!)

It’s no surprise that my love of knowledge led me to become an educator and author.  What is surprising is the push-back I often get from others in my desire to educate.  For some reason, our culture looks at educating women as shaming them.  As if to say “don’t tell her the truth about that, because when she makes a bad choice she’ll feel bad about herself.  Or she’ll feel like you are judging her.”  And yes, our society LOVES to judge women and their birthing and breastfeeding choices, so I do see where this comes from.  But isn’t it insulting to purposefully with-hold information from someone, assuming they aren’t intelligent enough to take that information and make the choice that is best for them?

Isn't it insulting to purposefully withhold information from someone, assuming they aren't intelligent enough to take that information and make the choice that is best for them-

I think women are more than capable of making the best decision for themselves when they are presented with factual, unbiased information, and this is what I strive to put in my writings.  So when you read my book, you will be getting the most up-to-date, scientific information on childbirth available.  It is honest.  It does point out things I was discouraged from sharing.  Things like the safety of natural childbirth, the benefits of breastfeeding, and what contributes to postpartum depression.  Things that women often feel judged about.  But things that women are grossly under-educated about and poorly supported in.  And I think with the right amount of information and support, and a faith in their maternal instincts, all women can and will make informed choices that are not only safe, but personally satisfying to them, as well.

I think one of the highest compliments you can pay someone is respecting their intelligence and decision-making abilities.  I know that my readers won’t feel shamed by reading my book.  They will feel respected and empowered.  Instead of being judged or being told what to do, they will be learning about all the benefits and risks surrounding childbirth, and then given tools on how to weigh those benefits and risks and make informed choices.  This type of education removes shame and replaces it with empowerment.  This is what families truly deserve.


Order Here

Advanced Doula Designation

Several months ago my doula partner, Virginia Bennet, informed me about the Advanced Doula Designation DONA was now offering it’s long-term doulas.  Looking over the requirements I felt like I just might qualify!  The criteria included 1: longevity in the field, 2: additional certification or licensure in a related field, 3: had work published regarding childbirth-breastfeeding, 4: made a major contribution to the promotion and advancement of the doula profession and in the maternal-child field.

It is an honor to be awarded this designation, as DONA has over 6,500 doulas and fewer than 30 of us now carry this credential.  I’d like to point out that this designation was announced in late 2015, so I have never had the goal of attaining it.  The career decisions I have made the past 12 years were made because I care deeply about childbirth, and I have a burning desire to do all I can personally and professionally to improve birth for all women.  Below is a quick recap of my qualifications for this prestigious credential.

Marie Bigelow

1: Longevity in the field: I’ve been a doula for over 12 years and have attended over 100 births.

2:  Certification or licensure in a related field: In 2005 I passed my board certification exam for Music Therapy.  I also specialized in Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth.

3: Publications: My upcoming book actually didn’t count towards this criteria because it isn’t officially published yet.  What earned me this spot was an article I had published several years ago in Doula International Magazine.  It discusses the benefits of lullaby writing.  Read it here.  I’m also a regular contributor to The Mommy Method education blog.

4. Major contribution to doula work: In 2007 I founded Treasure Valley Doulas and directed the group for 7 years.  As a group, we built and maintained relationships with hospitals and care providers, provided community outreach programs, and brought the first DONA approved conference to Boise.

It is a huge honor to be recognized for my work, but recognition is not why I work.  I work to improve birthing outcomes.  I strive to educate my clients in a way that prepares them to make informed and safe decisions during their births.  I provide physical support to them to help them have a more comfortable birth.  I encourage them and support them emotionally because everyone needs someone in their corner when things get tough.  I love being a doula.


Doulas Make a Difference

I’ve been a doula for over 12 years, so I know the good and the bad.  There’s plenty of reasons that the average work-span of a doula is about 2 years.  It’s not easy to live your life on call, knowing that at any moment you could called away from your sleep, your children, your errands, your hobbies, your life!  It’s not easy to stay awake for 36 hours, and see your flat-rate fee turn into several dollars an hour.  It’s even harder to figure out last minute childcare options.  It’s not easy to return home to children who want your attention, a house that needs to be cleaned, and shower that you desperately need to take, but all you want to do is sleep.  I’ve missed my husband’s birthday party, our anniversary, my children’s sporting events and school performances, weddings and funerals.  I’ve even gotten burnt out and taken time off.  But I always return.

To me, being a doula is so much more than a way to bring in money, or a fascination with birth.  I’m a doula because I think doula work makes a difference.  When my paycheck is small and my sleep is nonexistent, I still know that what I’m doing has value.  I’m a doula because once I was that mom walking the halls all night long, trying to get my labor to progress, and my doula was willing to put my needs ahead of her own.  A selfless act that has impacted my life forever.  I want to give that experience of being supported to all of my clients, and I want all women to have access to doula care.

It has never made sense to me that insurance companies don’t pay for doula services, as research clearly shows that doulas make births safer, shorter, and less expensive.  ACOG even supports the use of doulas, stating that they are one of the best ways to avoid a cesarean.  Many families simply cannot afford the extra expense of a doula, and even more families don’t know what doulas are or how they can improve births.  Insurance reimbursement could change all of that.  Reimbursement would make doula fees more affordable, giving thousands of women access to doula care. These women would then have safer births, leading to better physical and emotional outcomes for moms and babies, and lower medical bills.  The monetary savings alone is a huge win for families and for insurance companies.  (The only side losing money in this exchange would be hospitals, who have successfully exploited birth for decades, and made millions off of it.  So I’m pretty ok with this “loss”.)

The infographic below is from Childbirth Connection, and it does an amazing job of showing the benefits of doula care, and the monetary savings doula care could provide.  You can read the full report here.  It shows how in just one year, over $2 BILLION dollars could be saved by implementing doula care into insurance benefits.  Research on doulas is overwhelmingly positive, and it would be nothing but corrupt to continue allowing the cesarean rate in the US to remain at 33%  when we can easily lower that rate by paying for doulas.  This report shows that insurance providers pay over $9,600 in additional costs for a cesarean, when a doula typically costs less than $1,000.  The math is easy, so the choice should be, as well.


THIS is why I doula.  Because women deserve this type of support during their births.  Support that lowers intervention rates and increases positive birthing experiences.  Support that keeps birth affordable, so women don’t have to choose between what they need and what they can afford.