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FAQs

Herbal Care Questions

What is an herbalist?

An herbalist is someone who uses plants (or other Earthly matter) for physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual healing. An herbalist does not replace a doctor or mental health professional. However, including an herbalist to your health team offers you support as you discover the patterns and root causes of your health challenges. An herbalist then figures out with you what goals make sense based on your lifestyle, and finds best ways to integrate plant medicine into your existing health plan.

What is community herbalism?

Community herbalism is largely focused around traditional folk preparations and historical uses of herbs, but of course is also informed by modern uses and research.  Community herbalists can be trained through traditional or non-traditional methods such as self-study or apprenticeships. Another distinguishing factor of community herbalism is that it often leaves more room for creative and spiritual exploration with herbs. Since there are no specific requirements or set certifications involved in becoming a “community herbalist,” this leaves a lot more room for creative expression and engagement in one’s practice.

Are herbs safe?

It depends. There are SO MANY bountiful, edible, nourishing, and tasty herbs! Some herbs we're more familiar with like "kitchen herbs", such as sage, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, or garlic. Some other herbs such as echinacea, dong quai, linden leaf, eyebright - not as common or well-known, although great for health. Some herbs interact with pharmaceutical drugs and some with existing health conditions. Herbalists can help determine what herbs are safe for you and your current health plan. However, they are not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a medical or psychological condition, you should consult your appropriate health care provider.

Birthkeeping & Womb/Sexual Wellness Questions

Who can benefit from womb wellness?

Our wombs are home, and in this space lies the potential for creative power: reproductive, or otherwise. Not just those who carry a uterus can benefit from womb wellness. Those who chose to explore their womb space may include those who have a hysterectomy or were born without a uterus; those who are looking regulate irregular menstrual cycles; those looking for long-term healing for chronic vaginal/yeast infections; ; those looking to release suppressed emotions; and more. If you have more questions, schedule a consultation.

Why don't you self-identify as a 'doula'?

I choose to self-identify as a birthkeeper. The term 'doula' dates back to Ancient Greek, and is often translated to "woman servant" or "woman slave". As a Black and Indigenous woman, 'slave' is definitely not a word that I want to embrace into my name, work, or put upon my community members. Further, the word is gendered, and not all doulas are women.

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

Midwives are healthcare providers who offer services similar to your local OB/GYN, including assisting with the delivery of your baby. Birthkeepers (sometimes known as doulas) are non-medical support persons who focus on the needs of the birthing person – offering mental, physical, and emotional support. Think of the birthkeeper as more of a childbirth coach. They do not replace your healthcare practitioner during birth, but rather can add extra services, such as helping you with techniques to manage pain and better cope with labor.

Your Midwife will:

  • Run prenatal tests

  • Advise you on health during pregnancy, birth and postpartum

  • Prescribe maternal health related supplements or medications

  • Monitor you and baby during labor, birth, and postpartum

  • Perform physical examinations prenatally, during labor and postpartum

  • Consult with an obstetrician if a medical complication arises which is out of the midwifery scope of practice

  • Do their best to help you have a comfortable birth, but their primary responsibility will be their clinical responsibilities

 

Doulas, on the other hand, are not medical professionals. Birth keepers provide emotional, informational, and physical support during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Your Birthkeeper/Doula will:

  • Establish a prenatal relationship with you

  • Help you articulate your vision for your birth

  • Give you evidence based information so that you can give informed consent to things happening to yourself & baby

  • Direct you to resources in the community for pregnant women and families

  • Help keep you and your partner calm and supported during labor

  • Use tools and techniques to help you manage the intense physical sensations of labor and birth

  • Make suggestions regarding laboring and birthing positions depending on how your labor is progressing

  • Ensure you feel confident communicating your needs to your health care provider

  • Provide postpartum emotional support and help with breastfeeding initiation

  • Direct you to your doctor or midwife for any medical questions

How is a doula different from a delivery nurse or a birthing partner?

The most important thing a birthing person needs during labor is continuous support. This means that you have someone by your side continuously from start to finish. A birthkeeper (or doula) rarely leaves your side. Nurses have many other responsibilities other than you. Aside from helping care for you, the nurse is communicating with your care provider, taking care of other patients, documenting care, taking breaks, and more.  A nurse’s support ends when the shift does. The birthkeeper only has one commitment the whole time they are with you—and that is YOU!

 

Birthing partners (who can be a spouse, intimate partner, sibling, parent, or close friend) and birthkeeper can work together to make a support team for the birthing person. Sometimes people think that they don’t need a birthkeeper because their partner will be with them continuously throughout labor. Your partner is an essential support person for you to have by your side. However, your partner will need to eat, sleep, and use the bathroom at times. Also, most partners have limited knowledge about birth, medical procedures, or what goes on in birth, so birth keepers and partners  work together for support.

Can a postpartum doula help me with depression?

Postpartum doulas are not therapists, and cannot diagnose or treat depression, but they are trained to recognize the potential signs. The doula can provide resources for you to receive treatment, and nurture you at home while you are healing, helping you to gain confidence in mothering your baby.

Can a postpartum doula help me with lactation troubles?
Postpartum doulas are trained to support normal breastfeeding. Your doula can give you tips on overcoming basic problems. If these issues persist, the doula can provide resources for lactation consultants and local support groups. Using nurturing, loving encouragement is the postpartum doula’s way of helping you gain the confidence to breastfeed your baby.

What areas do you serve?

We serve clients virtually across the country, and in-person for birthkeeping and womb wellness in Greater Boston including: Boston, Cambridge, Malden, Medford, Somerville, Quincy, Brockton & Brookline.

Are there payment options?

If the different services and payment options do not fit your budget, contact us. Let us know you current circumstances and we can discuss payment options for you to get the services you need. We're definitely open!

Will my health insurance pay for or reimburse doula services?

Doula services are usually not covered by insurance. However, some insurance companies will reimburse for doula services as ‘out of network’ care services. Additionally, FSA or HSA may reimburse for doula services. 

As of 12/2023: MassHealth covers doula services, subject to MassHealth coverage limitations, for MassHealth members while they are pregnant, during delivery, and up to 12 months after delivery. MassHealth plans accepeted - MassHealth Network, Community Care Cooperative (C3), PCC Plan, and Steward Health Choice.

 

Lean more here: (English), (Spanish), (Haitian Creole), (Cape Verdean Creole).

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