Chéna Davis of Butta’s Holistic Services

Full-Spectrum Doula Services

Chéna (Chey) Davis is passionate about guiding parents-to-be throughout the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. We spoke to Chey to find out how she helps new moms and dads make empowered choices on their path to parenthood.

What does a doula do?

A doula is a labor and support coach—sort of a birth “guru.” I help parents understand what to expect, prepare for the reality of labor, and be ready for the postpartum months. I strongly believe in preparing the body with good nutrition and exercise before pregnancy. I also help moms to understand their rights and be comfortable with speaking out to their medical professionals.

Tell me more about “speaking out.”

Studies show that Black women are more likely to die in childbirth than White women. All women need to know how to speak to their doctor, for example, when to ask questions or press for an appointment if they don’t feel “right.”

Moms should understand that their due date is just an estimate, not a hard-and-fast day on the calendar. Do your research and listen to your body. Sometimes moms are induced too soon. Moms should never feel that they are being rushed to be induced into labor—you are allowed to say “no” to anything at any time.

How did you become interested in being a doula?

I was 19 when I was pregnant with my first child, and I wanted to make sure it was a perfect pregnancy. My medical provider seemed to keep pressing me with specific questions because I was young and Black. I felt it was an impersonal experience that could have been better. For someone who should be caring about me and my life, the experience left me rather cold.

Over the next few years, I began helping and advising my friends who were having children. When my eldest was 5, I learned of the doula profession, and right then and there, I knew that was what I wanted to do.  

Are there special populations you especially enjoy working with?

I enjoy working with all women, but especially Latino and Black women. Many minorities are unfamiliar with how a doula can help them throughout the process. These women think of a doula as a “luxury” and don’t realize how essential their support is. It’s also important to know that Medicaid and insurance may cover the services of a doula to some degree.

Can you help with fertility issues as well?

I provide full-spectrum doula support, including fertility support. Many times, I begin working with couples before they start IVF treatments. I guide mom in preparing her body for the process by eating right and moving right. Understanding the functional nature of the body, each person’s individual menstrual cycle, and unique signs of fertility are essential in promoting conception.

How do you specifically help a woman through labor and birth?

My best tools are my hands. I use massage techniques, acupressure, essential oils, and various other comfort measures. Once we determine the baby’s position, I can help position the mom more conducive for labor. Emotional support and affirmation are so important, too.

Do you also provide nursing and postpartum support?

I stay around once the baby is born to ensure mom’s “golden hour” with her new baby is happy and uninterrupted. I help her with her first nursing session—having a positive first experience is important because everything will progress from there. I teach mom how to get the baby to latch on and to position the baby properly. This helps to increase mom’s confidence.

Raising a baby takes “a village,” so I teach all of the family members how to help with general care: changing, bathing, swaddling, using car seats—mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa--everyone needs to know how to do it! I also provide additional postpartum ancestral or cultural healing techniques like yoni steaming (room steaming with herbs), belly-binding, and baby-wearing.

What is your favorite part about your job?

Seeing women feel empowered and victorious when they realize that they can do it. I also enjoy seeing their partners offer support and play an active role throughout the pregnancy, labor, and postpartum weeks. It’s important to have dads involved because they feel more connected to the experience when they play a part in it.

What are some of the challenges?

Seeing the disparities within some of the communities I serve--because I may need to jump in to provide additional resources and connect my clients to the right people. Sometimes, I have to play a more significant role in advocating for underserved populations.

Chey helps couples prepare for all the changes that pregnancy and parenthood bring. Visit her website to learn more.

Benefits of using a doula

·         Lower risk of maternal death

·         Less chance of a C-section

·         Less chance of tearing during vaginal birth

·         Better post-partum mental health

·         An empowered, enjoyable experience

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