Birth Doula Services

Our certified birth doula team goes above and beyond to make you feel supported during your birth. We love what we do!

Childbirth Education

Childbirth preparation classes help you (and your partner) get ready for birth and new parenthood. Click here to find out more.

Counseling Services

Having a baby is a huge life transition. Let our licensed counselor help you through this transition as an individual or as a couple.

Photography

We have options for documenting your pregnancy, birth and newborn with beautiful photographs.

Placenta Encapsulation

Placenta encapsulation is a way to nourish yourself in the postpartum period. Click here to find out more.

Why have a doula?

Doulas provide continuous care and support throughout labor and delivery.  We are available prenatally to help you (and your partner, if you have one) prepare for the type of birth you desire.  After the birth, we can assist with initial transitions and help you access any needed support.

Research has shown that having doula support can reduce the need for interventions during labor and increase feelings of satisfaction with your birth experience.
Specifically, having doula labor support has been shown to*:

  • Decrease need for a cesarean section by 50%
  • Decrease duration of the labor by 25%
  • Decrease requests for interventions such as epidurals (by 60%) and pain medications (by 30%)
  • Decrease need for other interventions such as Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) by 40% and the need to use forceps by 40%
  • Increase mother’s sense of self-esteem and decrease the rate of postpartum depression six weeks after the birth
  • Increase continuation of breastfeeding six weeks after the birth

Our doulas will help you gather information in preparation for your ideal birth and will support you throughout the birthing process and immediate postpartum period.

*from Klaus, Kennell and Klaus (1993) referenced in the article Doula Care: An Age-Old Process Meets the 20th Century by Naomi Bromberg Bar-Yam (IJCE 18(4) p.18-20

Our training and experience

The Portland doulas have been trained and certified through Birthingway College of Midwifery, or DONA International, or CAPPA

All doulas part of the Portland Doula Collective have at least 3 years experience as a working doula. We also strive to complete continuing education through various workshops and training.

Some of our doulas also specialize in other birth-related services such as childbirth education, lactation education, and placenta encapsulation. We take pride in keeping up-to-date with the latest advances and research in the pregnancy and childbirth industry.

We proudly support families of all types, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and cultural and religious backgrounds.

Who we serve

We proudly support families of all types, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and cultural and religious backgrounds.

We have Supported:

  • first time mothers
  • experienced mothers
  • surrogacy
  • adoption
  • vaginal births
  • VBACs (vaginal births after cesarean)
  • cesarean births (planned and unplanned)
  • unmedicated, natural labors
  • medicated labors
  • twins/multiples
  • hospital, birth centers and home births
  • deliveries with both Obstetricians and Midwives
  • LGBTQ parents
  • single moms
  • teen moms
  • women and families with a history of trauma
  • women using a variety of birthing techniques including, Bradley, Birthing from within, Mindful birthing, hypnobirthing, and Rebozo support.
Core Beliefs
  • We understand that there is wonder and joy in bringing your child into the world.
  • We believe that the process of birth can be transformative for both parents.
  • We understand that birth has both physical and emotional aspects.
  • We work to share our knowledge base with our clients so that they can make choices that are right for their family.
  • We support client choice and believe that it leads to higher satisfaction with the birth.
  • We believe birth can be wonderful in whichever setting you choose.
  • We are respectful of the individual needs of our families.
  • We are passionate about what we do!

Our Team

Prudence Leith
Certified Labor Doula
Massage Therapist
Rebozo Instructor

Keely Helmick
Certified Labor Doula
Licensed Professional Counselor

Michelle Carman Cushing
Certified Labor Doula
Certified Childbirth Educator

Scarlett Lynsky
Certified Labor Doula
Certified Childbirth Educator

Jenny Gullen
Family Photography
Placenta Encapsulation Specialist
Certified Labor Doula

Serving the Greater Portland, OR Metro Area

Testimonials

When I met Scarlett I was instantly struck by her easy-going nature and how it made me feel calm just to be around her. What more would you want during childbirth? Additionally, upon our first meeting Scarlett demonstrated her depth of knowledge and her ability to communicate with different personalities. My husband and I have very different approaches to stressful situations, and Scarlett was able to relate to and help us both process and prepare for the events ahead. My labor was fast and furious. Scarlett had prepared my husband and he was able to help me get through the initial stages. When she arrived, Scarlett took action immediately. Alongside my husband, she coached me through one of the most difficult processes I’d ever been through. After my little girl came into the world, Scarlett stood by us and helped us with our very first feeding. Later, her postpartum visits were always positive, reassuring and supportive times. I would recommend Scarlett to any future mom planning any type of birth experience.  I’m so grateful I had her there during mine.

-Kathryn F.

Jenny was absoultely wonderful. She provided continued support to us pre-labor, during the labor and delivery, and after the birth of our precious baby daughter. Both my husband and I felt more secure knowing that Jenny was there for us and on-call before my labor started. My baby was late and Jenny provided invaluable advise and ideas as to how to naturally induce labor; once in the hospital, Jenny arrived shortly after we contacted her and provided us with further support. I felt her presenece was comforting; my husband also appreciated the added help, which allowed him to be more relaxed and enjoy the birth of our little one.

We highly recommend Jenny as a birth doula. Whether you are deliverying at home or at a hospital, like I did, a doula provides tremendous help and support for both the mother and her partner. With her pleasant personality, calming presence, useful ideas, and great photography skills, Jenny defintely contributed to making my labor and delivery a positive experience!

– Maria M.

Michelle supported me through a tough second pregnancy. It was nice to have someone to talk to because all of my family lives far away. When I was admitted for preterm labor, she came to be with me at the hospital. Thankfully I was able to not deliver my baby early! Michelle provided endless support in the days leading up to my delivery. During the birth she was absolutely amazing! She gave my husband ways to help me through contractions. She encouraged me to work through each contraction even when I wanted to give up. She made sure my wishes were followed by the hospital staff. I can’t say enough great things about her! My birth was absolutely perfect. This is due largely to Michelle’s support and encouragement.   
-Rhiannon

Scarlett was a guiding light for us during our pregnancy, birth and directly afterwards. Before our birth, Scarlett met with us a few times discussing our feelings on what we wanted, the process of birth, positions and coping techniques and working within the hospital system. We were extraordinarily grateful to have her support and guidance when I had to be induced for a health concern 3 weeks before our due date. For every intervention, Scarlett was there to talk us through what was happening and gave us comfort when things didn’t go as expected. She was a wonderful support for my husband who found that Scarlett was there for him just as much as she was there for me. We couldn’t imagine our birth without her and highly recommend Scarlett as a doula, confidant and teacher.

-Kat M

I went online and searched local doula’s and found Jenny. We meet up and when we left my husband said, “she is your long lost best friend that has the exact same ideas you have.” He was right, she was. My family didn’t understand why I needed a doula when I had doctors and my husband. I explained it and they stopped asking, pretty sure they never got it. I had a vision of what I wanted, birth is magical and my “best friend” got that, she knew what I meant. I was laboring for FOUR days, major back labor. Jenny texted or called me constantly until I asked her to finally meet me in the hospital. My “plan” did not get followed as much as I wanted, I got my epidual and pitocin, but Jenny was amazingly positive about and supportive even though she knew it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. She did everything she could to make me comfortable, put gloves on, held my leg and helped me push. She took AMAZING photographs as well. My husband was amazed and so happy to have her there to help me. I’m glad she was there to help me with my first VBAC because I was so scared I would not have one. I am happy to have met her and call her my friend. I would never want to be pregnant without a doula best friend to talk to.
– Courtney H.
Our son had the distinction of being the first birth Michelle assisted with on her own as a student doula.  However, you would never have guessed she was a student from the care we recieved and the professionalism she showed.  She came to our home to help me during early labor and then transitioned to the hospital with us.  Her help was invaluable.  She has a quiet, calming presence.  My memory of labor is a bit fuzzy (no surprise there!), but what I do remember is that Michelle and my partner were there every step of the way.  Michelle knew the right spots to press on my back during contractions.  She reminded me to keep my moans and groans in a lower pitch.  She kept me in constant supply of Gatorade.  And she must have helped me up and down… about as many times as I had contractions over the course of hours of labor.  My son is now approaching 3 years old and is a happy, healthy boy.  I am now expecting my second child and guess who we will be contacting to see if she can be the doula for us again?  I highly recommend her!
-MerriBeth

We had a wonderful experience with Scarlett as our doula.  She is warm, caring and matter-of-fact at the same time.  Prior to our due date, she made several visits to our home to help us prepare for the birth, including positions, massage techniques, visualizations, using a rebozo, and emotional support.  I went into labor a few weeks early, and Scarlett made herself available immediately by phone and arrived at the hospital soon after we did.  Scarlett provided invaluable help with positions, breathing, and emotional support during labor.  We wanted a natural birth and one of our main concerns was minimizing interventions and ensuring that we made informed decisions about all medical issues.  Throughout my labor, Scarlett made sure that we understood the options being presented to us by the doctors and nurses, that we had enough time to discuss and consider our options, and that we felt empowered to make decisions.  My labor did not go as planned, and I ended up having a C-section.  Scarlett was extremely helpful in helping us process everything, both at the time it was happening and afterward during her postpartum visits.  She came to visit us and our new baby at home twice in those first few weeks, and provided emotional support, tips on breastfeeding and newborn care, and even marriage counseling!  Scarlett is a knowledgeable and caring doula and a lovely person, and I wholeheartedly recommend her to any expecting mama.

-Esther W.

Michelle was steadfast by my side the entire labor with comfort measures and words of encouragement. She was positive and focused and helped me to stick to my birth plan, but still gave me room to make my own decisions with issues arose. She reminded me of the benefits and risks of the interventions and procedures which helped me to make informed decisions in the heat of the moment. I would definitely recommend her as a doula to any expecting couple. Her demeanor is calm and her energy is professional yet sincere.
-Caroline

Scarlett was amazing.

We had a little different scenario with an amazing surrogate carrying our baby boy. We wanted to make sure Alicia, our surro, was well taken care of during and right after birth so that we could focus on baby (but also knowing Alicia would need someone there during that time)…Scarlett was amazing- she came over to our house and met us all, she showed us some techniques to help Alicia with labor, she answered any questions, she made sure we had plans B,C, D and went over our birth plan. Her presence was perfect- she was there but did not interfere with the flow of what was happening (since that was what we wanted). She could magically change the direction of labor and helped Alicia as well throughout and after labor. She was a great support system and our biggest advocate. She was amazing and our birth story was smooth and wonderful because of our great team!

She visited, texted and called Alicia afterwards and came over to our house. She was a great tool in the postpartum period as well, helping all of us navigate hormones and feelings and new life with baby 🙂 We can’t thank her enough!! She was everything and then more!

-Julie B

Portland Doula Collective Blog

Mindfulness and Birth

By Keely C Helmick, LPC, Doula Mindfulness has been incorporated into most aspects of life, including birth preparation. But what is mindfulness as it relates to birth? In this blog I will be giving an overview of mindfulness and how it relates to birth preparation...

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Bottle Feeding Support Group

  Portland Doula Collective's Keely Helmick has teamed up with Portland Doula Love to offer a Bottle Feeding Support group to help women who are feeding partially or exclusively by bottle. When: Second Tuesday of Every Month at 10am     Where: Doula...

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Yoga Way to Birth

One of our doulas, Keely Helmick, is training as a Yoga Way to Birth instructor. As part of that process, she is co-facilitating several upcoming birth classes. You can find out more about the dates and location of those classes on our website or visit the Yoga Way to...

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Choosing Childbirth Classes in Portland

Choosing the right childbirth class for you and your partner can be difficult; fortunately, Portland has a variety of class types to fit your needs. There are different aspects to consider from the location and type of birth you hope to have, to particular birthing...

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