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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Belly to Cradle Offers Comprehensive Birth Care

May 07, 2017 10:09AM ● By Allison Gorman

Childbirth has traditionally been a team effort. True, one team member does most of the work, but since ancient times, she’s been supported in her labors by a small but vital community of wise women—traditionally family members, friends or neighbors who had attended many births before. Only recently was that deeply personal, nurturing approach supplanted by the western medical trend of prenatal care happening exclusively in a doctor’s office, and childbirth in a hospital.
And that trend is quickly reversing. That’s why Amber Roman, a doula who has provided birth care in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties since 2011, has expanded her one-woman company, Belly to Cradle, to include the services of three more doulas.

Unlike midwives, who are clinical specialists for pregnancy and birth (monitoring mom’s blood pressure and baby’s heartbeat, checking the cervix, etc.), doulas do what wise women have done throughout human history.
“Doulas are the support specialists for pregnancy and birth,” Roman explains. “We provide the emotional, informational and educational support that layers on top of what clients receive from their other care providers. We develop a close relationship with them, help them figure out what they want for their birth and why, and then support them through the execution of those goals. We’re knowledgeable on options and alternatives for all the choices that clients may face—we provide them with ideas and information they might not know about.”
Roman was inspired and informed by having four children of her own—the last two with the help of a midwife, who “opened my eyes to what cooperative care could be like, and what informed consent in maternal care really was.”

As the name implies, Belly to Cradle is about more than just the birth experience. Instead it provides a comprehensive approach, with services encompassing the whole year surrounding birth. (“Sometimes clients need more support after they have their baby than before,” Roman notes.)  Now, with four doulas with a combined eight years’ experience providing doula support, childbirth education and placenta encapsulation, Belly to Cradle can give clients the benefit of deeper and broader experience. Roman also plans to add professional breastfeeding consultations to its services.
“Clients can choose which services are best for them and the type of doula that’s best for them, and then continue to benefit long after the doula’s services are complete,” she says. “From our collaborative relationships with other service providers, to our community support systems like our Thursday Mom-Baby Circle, the care clients receive from us can last months or even years after baby arrives. We help moms build their villages.”
Roman obviously enjoys being part of that village; she’s planning to broaden her own role in it, which will mean even more choices for local women.  “Part of the goal of expanding Belly to Cradle has been so that I can seamlessly pass the work on to these other fantastic ladies as I move on to midwifery school,” she says. “I believe women deserve as many options for health care as possible. No one should be pigeonholed into choosing a certain type of care or place for childbirth simply because there aren’t enough choices.”
For more information, contact Amber Roman at 850-324-5393 or [email protected], or visit BellyTo
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