How can you serve three cities in the southeast?

The Happiest Doulas began in 2012 to provide Atlanta families with doula support, birth classes and private lessons. We added the option of documenting the maternity year via childbirth and newborn photography when Christina Hodgen, photo journalist, joined the agency in 2015.

In December 2017, The Happiest Doulas began a new chapter in the Tampa Bay area. Agency owner, Cynthya, has joined forces with three local doulas and childbirth instructors, Shaela Daugherty, Ameenah Jackson and Megan Ciampa, to offer private and group prenatal education and labor support to families living between St. Pete, Lakeland, and Orlando.

As of February 2018, Shaela provides one-on-one personal fitness training for the perinatal time. Helping women get into peak condition for childbirth, Shaela brings her joyful enthusiasm and expertise for pregnancy fitness and postpartum recovery into the homes of new moms throughout the Tampa Bay area.  

Shouldn't I hire a doula who is also a birth photographer?

Combining roles and services is a great way for you to save money. We know it's expensive to hire Christina Hodgen to provide you with birth photography and it is certainly twice as costly to secure the support of one of our experienced doulas too. But oh so worth it.

When hired to photograph a labor and birth, Christina's time isn't divided between providing the hands-on attention a doula should be able to provide to you and grabbing the opportunity to capture an important moment of your labor and baby's birth. Let alone the fact Christina is documenting the story of your birth - your doula is a big part of the special day and if your doula is also your photographer, your baby's birth story will be incomplete.  

Considering her specific doula training and her own two natural birth experiences at Atlanta Medical Center, Christina is quite knowledgeable in normal birth practices and offers help from time to time throughout labor and postpartum. Rather than splitting her focus at a client's labor, Christina masters her craft of capturing the fleeting moments of birth so you'll get the photographs of a lifetime.

What differentiates The Happiest Doulas from other agencies or doula collectives?

12 active perinatal doulas, childbirth educators, and lactation counselors make up our agency allowing us to provide holistic support and educational opportunities to families in both metro Atlanta and the Tampa Bay area. When a client chooses a Birth Support package, they agree to work with their choice of a primary doula and a secondary/back-up doula, ensuring a knowledgable and experienced team is available to guide them through pregnancy and their postpartum time.

When working with The Happiest Doulas, you have a 99% chance that your selected birth doula will be available when you request her presence during labor and she will stay by your side for an hour or two after you've met your baby. If the rare occasion arises for a back-up doula to fill in for your primary doula, she will likely be the person you've selected as your secondary choice. Typically, back-up support is provided by your childbirth instructor - someone you have become very familiar with prior to the birthday party.

Doula collectives (aka collaboratives) are a group of doulas who receive sales leads and independently work with each client, with several members belonging to multiple groups too. In a collective, you may encounter many different service fees, contracts, back-up arrangements, and even be subjected to a rotating on-call schedule.

Our doula agency is focused on giving the premium support clients expect when reserving labor and birth services. To ensure our clients receive priority care, our doulas do not work for any outside collective, group, collaborative, etc. or contract independently, meaning that The Happiest Doulas are able to provide you with the full attention you deserve and expect.

What Happens If I Need a C-section?

Our doulas provide support for all types of births, including surgical births. For cesareans, we provide in-person support as much as the birthing facility will allow us to do so. We are often alongside clients in surgery - some OBs encourage us to assist clients with breastfeeding - we can take photos with your phone or camera and offer support any way a client sees fit. If the hospital or provider won't allow doulas in the OR, we will be with you before surgery and join you post op to help you establish a proper breastfeeding latch. If your OB is flexible, we may be able to join you in surgery when your partner escorts baby to the nursery.

Labor and birth can be very unpredictable. Research has shown repeatedly that having a doula with you during this time reduces the rate of c-section, and is more likely to result in positive outcomes. Occasionally, cesareans are medically necessary due to preexisting circumstances. The majority of these are breech position, twins/triplets, etc., babies that need to be born before 34 weeks, and placenta previa (placenta is laying over cervix). All but one of these conditions are known well in advance of a due date and a breech baby can often be turned externally, allowing for labor and a vaginal delivery. Almost all other reasons for c-section occur during labor.

We never quite know which path a birth will take us down and our team is prepared to support clients however they need us to do so on their journey.

Will you work holidays?

Absolutely. There are many independent doulas who choose not to work major holidays leaving pregnant couples seeking support from a limited amount of local professionals. Our group will happily attend holiday birthdays and offers a secure back-up doula just in case she is needed.

Be sure to secure doula services now as our group books quickly for December and January birthdays - request an interview here.

Do you have client testimonials or reviews of your work?

Yes! We have many love letters from happy clients. Watch videos or read written testimonials by our birth and postpartum clients about how we've helped them achieve their goals. We hope this helps you to learn what to expect when working with us.

The Happiest Doulas Facebook page has over 30 posted reviews and 5 star ratings for your reading pleasure. We have a dozen or so reviews on Google and Yelp.

When will you arrive to support my labor?

We'll be talking over the phone during the stages of labor so that we can give you extra support prior to our arrival, which we determine based on what's happening, where you live, and the time of day - darn traffic!

If we are not yet with you and you believe labor is progressing quickly or that you might be transitioning, then we would advise to meet you at the hospital. After your exam, if you are in early labor and not as close as anticipated (it happens), we can walk around the hospital together to keep progress moving forward and decide on a new plan, if necessary. Sometimes, clients who live more than 45 minutes from the hospital choose to check into a hotel and labor in luxury! 

How do you help my partner during labor?

Let me count the ways....we can reassure them that everything is normal and right on time. We calmly explain what's happening if a curve ball is thrown and a medical intervention must take place. We provide information about interventions if one is suggested by your maternity care provider to "speed things up." We will remind your partner to ask your care provider for any known risks and possible benefits of the suggested procedure or medicine (since you may not be able to speak or think clearly). This allows time for informed consent and consideration of your original birth plan and all the available options.  

Our presence at a labor allows the partner to take breaks, make phone calls, use the bathroom and catch a quick nap. If your partner wants to be your main support person and actively involved, we support them by showing where to apply counter pressure, massage, etc. We provide an extra pair of loving hands during labor and help to relieve the load of stress on the shoulders of your partner.

How many waterbirths has your group witnessed?

500? Maybe even more! If you desire a waterbirth, consider Intown Midwifery at Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) in the Old Fourth Ward/Midtown area or Providence Women's Healthcare and Nile OB/GYN at North Fulton Hospital in the Roswell/Alpharetta area.

Our doula group recommends each of the above practices and can help guide you in selecting the right choice for you. We have much experience working with each individual midwife at these practices and also with the nursing staff at all the listed hospitals.

Are you familiar with HypnoBirthing or Hypnobabies?

Definitely. Many of The Happiest Doulas are trained Hypnobabies Hypno-doulas and love supporting clients who choose this method of childbirth. We've seen clients snore through transition / transformation and breathe their babies out gently. It is truly remarkable but leaves the OB speechless!

We believe to effectively use hypnosis during childbirth, clients need to practice regularly and have a trained hypno-doula present to assist during the birthing time.

Do you support clients that plan to use an epidural?

Yes, we most certainly do! The point of the birthday party is to welcome your baby with joy and love and if you are upset, in pain, or exhausted, you probably aren't having an enjoyable time. Birth is wonderful and beautiful however you choose to celebrate it! We've got "special tricks" for epidural clients and encourage you to choose what is right for your labor. We won't judge you.

How many times will we meet?

When you select our Basic Birth Support Package, we will meet in person a few times times overall. Your primary doula will visit your home for a prenatal meeting at week 36 of your pregnancy to review your birthday wishes and discuss what to pack in your hospital bag. After that, we will meet again during labor for the birthday party! If you would like a follow-up postpartum visit, please request this of your doula - there is no additional cost to you.

Do you offer a postpartum follow-up visit?

We are happy to support you in person, over the telephone, via text or email, and even using social media. In the weeks or months that follow birth, most of our clients ask to meet us for coffee and catch up on each other's lives. We love our clients and want to stay in touch with them beyond childbirth! In fact, The Happiest Doulas manage the Atlanta and Tampa Pregnancy & Beyond group on Facebook.

Do you accept insurance?

No. It would be wonderful if your insurance provider covered our service fees, and we encourage you to file a claim with your insurance company. Go ahead and stir the pot a bit, make some calls, write some letters and request changes. Doulas are proven to lower c-section rates and postpartum depression and hopefully your efforts will make a much needed difference!

The Happiest Doula, LLC has the required National Provider Identification number and taxonomy information and include this information on all our order confirmation receipts and invoices, should you require it for filing for reimbursement with your insurance provider or via your FSA/HSA account.

The advantage of hiring a group of doulas...

Our team is well known throughout Atlanta and our reputation is positive. Our clients have the distinct advantage of working with a group of dedicated professionals that support each other and provide back-up help when needed, which is not a guarantee when working with a doula who is an independent contractor. We encourage you to make sure you will have dedicated support for your birthday celebration and have hired the best choice to meet your needs. 

In metro Atlanta and Tampa Bay, certified doulas who have attended 50+ births charge a fee ranging from $950 - 1,600. A trained but less experienced doula may only charge $400-900. In NYC, the going rate for a doula who has attended 100+ births is more than $2,500. Some doulas even charge $10,000 per birth. 

The amount of in-person support you might receive for labor and delivery could be anywhere from 3 to 24 hours, plus on-call "ready" time 24/7 for several weeks in a row. When you factor this, even the most expensive doulas are a bargain! The right doula for you is priceless.

The Happiest Doulas offer two levels of birth doula support and our clients select their dedicated primary and secondary (back-up) doulas. We accept credit card payments right from this website and encourage you to submit your order confirmation, which contains our NPI and taxonomy codes, to your health insurance provider for potential reimbursement. A payment plan via invoicing is available too.

Have you previously worked with my caregiver?

We have worked with some great OBs and midwives! During labor, we introduce ourselves to all care providers and encourage collaboration on how to better serve our clients/patients. We are often asked for a stack of business cards for future referrals - a nice perk for carefully advocating for our clients. 

Our team has three Registered Nurses, all who have years of experience working in Labor and Delivery at Northside and Piedmont Hospitals. We know the inside scoop!

What is your birth philosophy?

It is your body, baby, and birthday party, so you should decide how we will support you during labor. Specifically, The Happiest Doulas support whatever decisions you make and feel are best for your family. Our job is to make sure your wishes are heard by your care providers and the hospital staff, and that you have the pertinent information to give informed consent at all times. This helps you achieve your goals and heart's desire!

How many clients does each birth doula work with per month?

Each of our birth doulas decide how many clients she can comfortably work with per month/year. We work on a first-come, first-served basis. Your spot on our client calendar is not guaranteed until payment is received so don't delay in securing the support of our doula team or seats for an upcoming class.

Please take note that the busiest time of the year is from August until December. Most babies are born in September so our doulas are in high-demand and stay booked throughout the holiday season. Learn these simple Steps To Hire Us.