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Estacada business ready to support mothers-to-be

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MEGAN BEATY - After completing Birthingway College of Midwifery's doula training program, Megan Beaty opened Labor of Love in Estacada to guide women through pregnancy and birth.Giving birth may seem like a daunting ordeal.

That’s why Megan Beaty opened her Estacada-based doula business, Labor of Love, in February.

Beaty recently completed Birthingway College of Midwifery’s doula training program and is working toward certification. Meanwhile, she’s eager to support women during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period.

“A doula is like an educated friend,” said Beaty. “I want to show moms that they can do this. I want to show them that their bodies were made for this, and that they were made for this.”

Unlike a midwife or an obstetrician, doulas don’t actually deliver the child. Instead, they act as a source of support for the mother and her partner during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

They can provide emotional support and assist the mother with breathing and relaxation techniques when the big moment arrives. Doulas also facilitate communication between the mother and her care providers during labor.

“There’s such a need for an intermediary between the doctor and the mother,” Beaty said. “That’s really important.”

Experts agree that a doula can make a big difference during labor.

One study found that mothers who worked with a doula were four times less likely to have a baby with a low birth weight and two time less likely to experience complications during birth.

Laura Bartko of Trillium Midwifery in Estacada also said that women who work with a doula are less likely to require pain medication or a cesarean section. She said this is because the assistance from a doula reduces stress.

“When a woman feels safe and supported, everything goes better,” said Bartko. “It makes such a difference.”

Bartko said doulas are particularly valuable in a hospital, where nurses may care for multiple women or switch shifts.

“The doula is only there for that specific woman,” she said.

Whether they’re planning on a home or hospital birth, Beaty is eager to help any expecting mothers in Estacada.

“If you need extra support, I’d be happy to be a shoulder to lean on,” Beaty said.