Welcome

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site! I am a birth doula, working with expectant mothers in the Lehigh Valley and Berks County. Questions are welcome, please contact me at any time.

Congratulations! By visiting this site, you are taking the next steps to be better educated on your birthing options. Better education means more knowledge which will help you feel relaxed and prepared for one of the most incredible experiences of being a woman—delivering a child. With the assistance and support of a birth doula, you, your baby and your partner will have a more comfortable experience.


EricaAbout Erica

Ever since she could remember, Erica Hesselson has always been drawn to children. At age 11, she started her first job as a mother’s helper for a young boy, Christopher. Erica has always loved working with people, and when she found the Doula field, she found her calling.

Being “in the room,” as Eve Ensler would put it, has been an awe-inspiring experience and to offer support and encouragement is aligned with Erica’s Social Work background. She has witnessed several births and wants to expand her services to those in need—eventually hoping to create a multi-service non-profit, around the needs of women.

Living in Berks County has offered Erica many rich experiences. Since birth and sex can be considered “hush, hush” topics, her mission is to encourage people to talk about their experiences as women, and as mothers. With a License in Social Work, Erica also works as a clinician at Berkshire Psychiatric. You can reach her at Erica.hesselson@gmail.com or (610) 413-6516.

TESTIMONIAL:

"Hiring Erica as our doula was one of the very best decisions we made as we prepared for the arrival of our first child. We interviewed several potential candidates, but Erica was the clear choice from the moment we met her—not only was she experienced and competent, she was also warm, friendly, and so easy to talk to. We felt comfortable with her right away, and we knew that she was someone we could trust with this very intimate and vulnerable moment in our lives.

We met with Erica several times before our son was born, and she gave us great information, helpful positions and exercises to practice, and lots of books for reference. When my water broke a month early, she dropped everything to meet us at the hospital; she massaged me, held my legs, and coached me through childbirth so that my husband could just focus on holding my hand and comforting me. I have a very distinct memory of Erica telling me to be strong like a mother tiger when I felt like I couldn't push anymore!

We are so happy that we found Erica, and we will wholeheartedly recommend her to every expectant parent we know."

TESTIMONIAL:

"A wonderful source of information, encouragement and support for us on our first birth journey! For those considering a doula in Lehigh Valley or Berks County, I would absolutely recommend Erica."

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What is a Doula?

A doula is a support person for a laboring woman and her partner. A birth doula will attend to the family before, during, and once after the birth to offer continued support. As your birth doula, I will deliver emotional support from home to hospital, ease the transition in to the hospital enviornment and be there through changing shifts to provided consistent emotional and physical support. I will serve as an advocate, labor coach, and information source to give the mother and her partner the added comfort of additional support through the entire labor.

According to DONA, the Doulas of North America, as your doula:

  • I recognize childbirth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life.
  • I understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of women in labor.
  • I will assist the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth
  • I will provide emotional support, physical comfort measures, and an objective viewpoint--your choice is of optimal importance
  • I will stay by your side throughout the labor.
  • I will help you get all of the information you need to make thoughtful choices both before and during your birth.
  • I also will help facilitate communication between you and the clinical care providers if needed
  • I will work to nurture and protect the woman's member of her birth experience—please see the information below for a description of the additional services I can provide.

What are the benefits of using a Birth Doula?*

With a study group of 600 normal labors, the research team of Klaus, Kennell and Klaus found that the use of a doula had an incredibly positive affect on the outcome of the birth experience compared to births without the additional support. In 1989, they did the first large scale study to investigate the use of continuous one-on-one support in labor.

The most currently researched benefits of doula support as reported by Hodnett's Meta Analysis:

  • 26% less likely to give birth by cesarean surgery
  • 28% less likely to use any analgesia or anesthesia
  • 41% less likely to give birth by forceps or vacuum extractor
  • 33% less likely to be dissatisfied or negatively rate their birth experience

* Reference: Hodnett E, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003. Issue 3, Art. No. CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.

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Services

Before your birth, we will meet in the comfort of your home to discuss your birth plan. We can go over different topics including birth options, pain management, relaxation, visualization, and breathing skills, labor massage, the importance of your partner's role, and assistance in various helpful positions. 

As a Birth Doula, I will help you with creating a birth plan, ease pain, create a menu of positions during birth, and support you after the delivery.  I will meet with you a total of three times, once before the birth to share information about the doula role, the birth process, pain management, traditional and alternative births, and answer any questions. Once you are in active labor, I will be there from start to finish to support you and your partner with anything you need. I can even take pictures of your baby being born—capturing those first moments of mommy and child together. 

Additional Services:

Photo Service At Birth - $50.00
I will take photos during your birth with a digital camera. You will receive a CD of these photos after your birth. These are not professional photos; they are candid shots of you, your family and your baby. The photos are not copywrited and you may do with them what you wish.
 
Postpartum Visits - $20.00 Per Hour Per Doula
A doula will meet with you in your home after your child is born for free for the first time. If you are interested in having me come again, I will assist with infant care or any other parenting questions or concerns. I will work with you to aid recovery, with suggestions for aftercare. I am also available to assist you in your home or watch your child while the mother rests or showers.
 
Organizing a Meal Tree - $45.00
Luna Doula will organize a meal tree with your friends and family. You will need to provide a list of names and phone numbers, suggested meal items and a time and place for the meals to be delivered.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a birth doula?
A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.

2. Where does the word “doula” come from?
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “Woman’s servant.” Throughout history and in much of the world today, a cadre of women support a woman through labor and birth, giving back rubs and providing continuous emotional support. Like their historical counterparts, DONA International birth doulas know how to help a woman in labor feel better. However, today’s doulas are much more diverse than their predecessors. DONA International membership includes men and women from a wide range of ages and cultural backgrounds.

3. What effects does the presence of a doula have on birth outcomes?
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
  • reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans

4. What effects does the presence of a doula have on the mother?
When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression.

5. How do doulas practice?
Doulas practice in three ways: privately hired directly by clients,
as hospital employees, and as volunteers in community or hospital programs.

6. Does a doula replace nursing staff?
No. Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.

7. Does a doula make decisions on my behalf?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.

8. Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.

Adapted from www.dona.org

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Contact Erica

Click here for a resource list for clients in Berks County, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area.The PDF includes contact information for healthcare, doulas, support groups, shelters, childcare, and other relevant resources.

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Contact Erica

Email: Erica.hesselson@gmail.com

Any time by cell: (610) 413-6516

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