healthIssue 25

Modesto Doula Group Enhances the Birthing Experience


By Jacqui D Sinarle

The Modesto Doula Group is dedicated to enhancing the birthing experience for local moms and their families, one baby at a time.

What’s a doula? If you don’t know, you’re not alone.

“A doula is a non-medical childbirth professional who is trained to provide emotional and physical support and to empower women and their partners before, during, and after birth,” explained Teri Nava-Anderson, PhD, certified doula, and childbirth educator who co-founded the Modesto Doula Group with Jennifer Kara, certified birth and postpartum doula.

jenn-at-work“A doula is a bit of a guide through the rite of passage of childbirth, pointing out common milestones along the journey, normalizing new sights and sounds and providing reassurance and comfort during the hard parts, all the while holding the big picture in mind,” added Kara.

The term “doula” was first used in reference to labor assistants in 1976, but was not in common use until the 1990s. Doulas are especially popular among women who hope to have an unmedicated birth, but a doula can be a great asset in any pregnancy. Women who have a doula are more likely to report a positive birth experience, and studies show that doula support results in shorter labors, fewer complications, less need for pain medication, fewer vacuum and forcep-assisted deliveries, reduced cesarean rates, reduced risk of infant admission to special care nurseries, and fewer problems breastfeeding.

“It’s our philosophy that everyone deserves a doula, regardless of whether a woman’s plan includes an unmedicated or medicated experience, vaginal delivery or cesarean,” Nava-Anderson said.

MDG doulas work with members of a woman’s birthing team, including her doctors, midwives, and nurses, and provide continuous support even throughout long labors. They also help guide and assist a woman’s partner to support her effectively and confidently.

“Women find their way to us at every point in their pregnancies,” noted Kara. “Those who call us sooner can also participate in our childbirth education series or prenatal yoga sessions.”


“Few people get to witness women at their strongest and most beautiful or have the honor of ending their workday with a miracle,” Nava-Anderson concluded. “We really do have the best job ever.”

To learn more about Modesto Doula Group, visit

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