"I am a mother of three, former labor and delivery nurse, and an OB/GYN nurse practitioner. I have more experience than most with pregnancy and birth, and I would have a doula every time no matter the circumstances!" Keri
Pregnancy is such an amazing time in a woman's life — unlike anything else she'll experience — and as a Birth Doula, I get to be a part of that. It's a blessing and a privilege.
What exactly does a Birth Doula do?
I offer professional support for laboring mothers and their partners, which includes physical comfort, information and ideas (drawn from my knowledge as a childbirth educator and 20 years of experience as a Birth Doula), and emotional support during labor in any birth setting – hospital, birth center, or home.
The most common definition of a doula is "a person trained to provide emotional, physical and educational support to the pregnant woman and her support team prenatally and during labor and birth." The focus is on the pregnant woman yet extends to include her husband, other family members, and friends who will be present during the labor and birth.
Those closest to you are experts on you. I'm an expert on birth. Together, we combine our resources to become the perfect team.
According to current research, "if you have continuous labor support (that is, someone who never leaves your side), you are statistically more likely to have better outcomes and your baby is more likely to have better outcomes!"
How do I accomplish that? What does that continuous support look like? There are a variety of skills an experienced birth doula will use while helping a woman through labor. The list below highlights techniques and tools I use with every client. I call them the Doula Care Essentials.
Doula Care Essentials for Every Client
- Phone and email support throughout pregnancy
- 2 prenatal video conferences
- 1 prenatal home visit for labor rehearsal
- Collection of Evidence Based Birth® Signature Article handouts
- Spinning Babies® Daily Essentials with birth preparation exercises and Blooma prenatal yoga class video
- Insight into local birth options
- Assistance in creating a birth plan
- 24/7 on-call availability during your birth month
- Backup doula provided if needed
- Unlimited hours of support (flat fee for support, no overtime costs)
- Assistance by text, call, or video during pre-labor and early labor
- Continuous hands-on guidance at home and/or hospital in active labor
- Partner support & instruction
- Maintaining a positive birthing environment
- Non-pharmacological comfort measures
- Explanation of risks/benefits of common interventions
- Calming touch and massage
- Reminders of birthing positions
- Self-advocacy reinforcement (helping you speak up for yourself)
- Emotional encouragement
- Access to labor tools such as birth ball, peanut ball, CUB birth stool, and rebozo
- Relaxation guidance
- Holistic pain relief techniques such as acupressure
- Availability of aromatherapy tools
- TENS unit for pain management
- 2-3 hours of support immediately after birth
- Assistance with initial breastfeeding
- Phone support during first days after birth
- 1 home visit or video conference (client preference)
- Review and process your birth experience
- Birth notes / timeline when possible
- Unlimited text, email, and phone support for 6 weeks after your birth
- Medical terminology “translation” into everyday terms
- Professional referrals throughout the childbearing year (chiropractic, photography, placenta encapsulation, lactation, craniosacral therapy, massage, acupuncture, CPM and CNM midwives, OB/GYNs, etc)
- Peanut ball positioning for labor
- Kaya birthing stool
- CUB inflatable birthing stool
- Optimal Fetal Positioning tips
- Spinning Babies® techniques
- Birth pool setup for home birth
- Christian spiritual support (if desired)
"I never doubted myself or my ability to birth my baby because I had Heidi with me. She knew from experience (and I think intuition) what I needed before I even asked. Heidi was able to support me, soothe my partner’s fears, and deal with the midwife and nurse quietly without me even noticing. She was like my grandmother, mother, sister, and best friend all rolled into one tiny package." Amy B
My birth doula pricing is detailed below to allow you to make an informed decision about my services, in the same way that I intend to help you make informed choices about your birth care. A complimentary 30-minute interview via Zoom is available to all potential clients as an opportunity for us to interview each other and determine the best avenue for meeting your labor and birth desires.
"Heidi was hands down the best part of my home birth! I didn't have a doula with my first baby, but I would never birth without one again! Heidi helped me work through contractions, gave me wonderful advice on how to make the most of my contractions and stay comfortable, and most importantly she advocated for me when I needed it most! She was a solid, cool and collected, and just immeasurably knowledgeable part of my birth experience!" Lauren
Birth work has been my calling since the late 1990s. I've passionately pursued "all things birth" for 20 years now! Having supported 350+ families as of mid-2021, I’m one of the most experienced birth doulas in Middle TN.
My birth support package includes 3 prenatal consultations, unlimited hours of labor and birth support, and a follow-up visit to process your birth experience. All of my clients receive access to resources for parents from Evidence Based Birth®, a wealth of information in itself. And I am available as needed for guidance throughout your pregnancy. My unique sliding scale pricing is available to all clients. (Keep reading!)
This payment plan is unique, so listen closely as I explain. I can comfortably accept between $1500 and $2500 as payment for my doula services. This is a "no questions asked" flexible fee scale — no application, no expectations, no guilt.
If you pay $2500, I'm happy. If you pay $1500, I'm happy. If you choose an amount in between, I'm happy. It's really that simple.
Everyone receives the same professional care and support, regardless of which fee on the scale they choose. Fees are paid in two payments: deposit upon contract (minimum $500) and balance at 36 weeks (minimum $1000). You are welcome to break up the balance into smaller payments or pay the fee in full upfront.
Still not sure you understand? I'll be happy to explain during a complimentary interview. Simply click the button to schedule.
Why is my pricing set up this way? I would like the opportunity to be fairly compensated, but I also don't want to leave behind families who may not be able to afford my services if I set a flat rate. The market value of my services — a reflection of my training and experience and in comparison to fees of other doulas in the region — could easily reach beyond $2500. The average cost for support from a Nashville doula with less than 10 years of experience is $800-$1200. My sliding scale bridges the two, allowing you to choose what fits your family.
You will receive:
- Doula Care Essentials (detailed above)
- 2 birth planning consultations via video chat/phone (2 hours)
- 1 prenatal visit in your home personalized to your needs (3 hours)
- Mentoring support via text, email or phone throughout pregnancy
- Support during labor, birth and early postpartum (no additional fees regardless of the length of labor)
- 1 postpartum home visit to review your birth and check in on your adjustment (2 hours)
- Payment Schedule: $500 as a deposit, balance due by 36 weeks. Custom payment schedules available upon request.
A non-refundable retainer/deposit of $500 secures your due date on my calendar; any unpaid balance is due at 36 weeks. There is no change in my fee if your labor is long. I accept 3 clients per month on average. If your month is already full, we may be able to make special arrangements or I can refer you to one of my wonderful colleagues/back-ups.
"I had the not uncommon desire to want to do it all and be it all (as it relates to support) for my wife throughout the labor process. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize the huge value our doula Heidi Duncan had. There was simply no way that I could have done everything on my own that we were able to accomplish together for my wife." Trevor
"My husband was great at supporting with words and touch but Heidi supported in such a different, much-needed way. She was the gentle voice, the light or heavy touch whenever it was asked for." Hayley
Did you know? The modern usage of the word doula is derived from an ancient Greek word that literally means "a female slave." It comes from the feminine form of the word that is used in the New Testament of the Bible when Paul refers to himself as a bondservant. Yes, I'm here to serve you!
In my career, I have worked with new and experienced mothers, natural birth, hydrotherapy, water birth, cesareans (planned, unplanned, emergency), induction, medicated births, vaginal birth of twins, VBAC, VBAmC, mVBAC, preterm birth, high-risk pregnancies and births, mothers over 40, families conceiving with ART and IVF, open adoption, trauma survivors (Childhood, Sexual, Birth), and more.
Over 400 families have chosen me to be their doula, their “tour guide in a foreign land.” I’ve consulted with hundreds more through my community education efforts in public forums and in private conversations.
Since moving to Middle Tennessee in 2011, I’ve attended births at Vanderbilt, Baptist/St. Thomas Midtown, Centennial, Gateway/Tennova, Blanchfield, NorthCrest, Summit, TriStar Hendersonville, Sumner Regional, Williamson Medical, St. Thomas Rutherford, and Baptist Health Madisonville KY. I’ve supported many births at Baby+Co/Vanderbilt Birth Center in Nashville and love attending home births. If your chosen birth place is not listed, contact me to confirm that it is within my service area. My travel radius covers locations within 1.5 hours of zip code 37035.
"I am so thankful for Heidi! She was such an encouragement during the birth of our son. When I got pregnant again with our daughter, there was never a doubt that we wanted her to be there for her birth also! Her calming personality helped me stay focused and her knowledge helped me stay more relaxed and my pain more manageable. My husband is also so thankful for her!" Rachel
Calendar and Reviews
My availability calendar is maintained via DoulaMatch.net; however, always confirm with me before assuming that I'm booked for your due date. I always have a few other doula colleagues on-call for me as a backup should there be a schedule conflict, should your labor overlap with another person in labor or with one of the professional workshops I teach locally. My commitment to providing you with support includes this backup doula provision at no additional charge.
You may also want to visit my reviews page to hear what past clients have to say about my birth doula work. Or do a Google search for “Heidi Duncan Doula” to find more. (There are over 30 reviews on my Google profile alone and another 95 on my Facebook page.)
My FAQ page addresses the most common doula interview questions.
You should soon be ready to request a free interview where we can meet in person and discuss working together. I'm looking forward to meeting you!