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Doula: Take time, build the birth team you deserve

Raleigh-based doula Kelly Collins shares what "Continuity of Care" is and how it can help expectant mothers and their families.

Posted Updated
5 things to know about pregnancy past age 35
By
Sara Davison
, Founder of Kinly
RALEIGH, N.C.Editor's note: Sara Davison is founder of Kinly which supports Triangle families (and beyond!) through access to expert support, education community and events.
Today Sara interviews Raleigh-based doula Kelly Collins, who is also an expert on the Kinly network.
Sara: Tell us a little bit about you, your family and how you got into the work you are doing now.
Kelly: I am a certified trauma conscious, full-spectrum doula. I currently reside in Raleigh with my husband, DeAntony and our 11 year old son, Preston. I have over 20 years of experience working as a professional caregiver and family consultant. At 14, I started babysitting for families in my neighborhood. While attending Shaw University, I worked as a child care worker, tutor and nanny. Although I did not become a public school teacher like I planned, I stayed connected with the families I worked with and eventually transitioned into being a career nanny. After getting married and becoming a mother, I quickly realized that I needed support in a major way. While searching for new blog topics one afternoon, I came across the word "doula" and it was then that I had a light bulb moment. I had found my calling. In 2020, I was called to do more. I am now planning and preparing for my midwifery journey and I hope to impact the NC birth community in a major way.
Sara: What exactly does ‘Continuity of Care’ mean? What does it look like practically? 
Kelly: Continuity of care is my main goal as a doula. One of my priorities is to ensure that my clients are heard and cared for properly. Throughout pregnancy there are so many things to remember, plan and schedule. More often than not, this can be overwhelming and leave many feeling lost on where to begin. My job is to help families face the unknown head on and develop a plan. I am committed to educating and informing my clients on all of their options while building their confidence and diminishing their fears about childbirth and parenting. I am the support person they will likely see and talk to the most throughout pregnancy. And even after birth, I still provide the same level of care by checking in regularly, answering questions, providing referrals and resources and as always, a listening ear.
Sara: Why is continuity of care so important? What kind of outcomes do you see for mothers and families when this is in place?
Kelly: Continuity of care is important because it not only gives new parents peace of mind and reassurance, it can be especially beneficial for first-time parents. Knowing that you have a handpicked professional to be there for you can make the adjustment period easier. Families know what to expect ahead of time and are better prepared for new things that may arise. With plans and support people in place, families tend to thrive so much better.
What would be your top 3 tips to moms who want to ensure that they have continuity of care in place for themselves & their families?
Kelly: I only have one tip: Take the time to build the birth team you need and deserve. A birth team is a group of support people who will be there for you in some capacity during pregnancy and birth. This includes your partner, other family, friends, your OB, midwife and of course your friendly neighborhood doula! Your team may also include a chiropractor, massage therapist, lactation consultant and pelvic floor therapist (for postpartum). When it comes to family planning, it's never too early to start preparing. Most parents want supportive, knowledgeable professionals in your birth space that will guide and empower them through each stage. Someone to answer questions and give reassurance when faced with the unknown. Having a strong birth team that supports you and your birth plan is an added level of security and ensures everyone knows what you want during labor and delivery.
Sara: What’s a key takeaway on continuity of care you want to leave the reader with?
Kelly: Support is a verb. And when it comes to your body, baby and family, there is no greater time than pregnancy and birth to have the support you need and want to help you navigate and adjust to your new life. A doula can be that constant support you desire and can rely on.
Sara: Tell us a little more about your practice and how you can support families with your services.
Kelly: As a birth worker, I educate and share my expertise with families while supporting and holding space for them during any and all parts of their parenting journey. I prioritize the needs and preferences of my clients while providing continuity of care and reassurance through pregnancy, birth and beyond. As a full spectrum doula, I offer a wide range of services and packages for new and expecting parents. That includes but is not limited to birth and postpartum support, consulting services, health and fitness services and doula mentorship. You can find out more about me and my services at www.bestofbothworldsnc.com.

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