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Sara Krivanec was drawn to being a doula after delivering her first child in a highly medicalized birth. Now she’s 14 years into the birth field, where she’s helped countless women (and herself) experience the type of care and support she yearned for when she delivered her first child.

1. What drew you to the field you’re in?

The birth of my first child was highly medicalized and ended in a C-section. A few years later I began exploring my options for a VBAC — and that’s when I really started to understand the lower rates of intervention in doula and midwifery care. My own journey to a gentle birth made me realize I wanted to deliver the type of care I wish I had at my first one. I trained to become a doula in 2001, two years before I had my VBAC.

2. What part of your daily work inspires you the most?

The couples I work with are the root of my inspiration. I love getting to build a great relationship that carries over to the birth, and the excitement I see in their eyes as they learn every month and prepare to have the best birth for themselves and their baby. I also love the hands-on work during the birth and seeing the couple work together to become a family. The strength I see in women is really amazing — I will never get tired of helping women feel supported and cared for during this transformative time.

3. How can RVA keep moving forward as great place for childbearing families?

I’ve been doing this for 14 years and have to say RVA has come a long, long way! More hospitals and physicians are rising to patient demand for evidence-based care. There are many more doulas and midwifery practices. Moving forward, we can always improve on postpartum and breastfeeding support, resources and follow-up during the first year.

4. If you could share one piece of wisdom with childbearing families or professionals who serve them, what would it be?

Have balance. For couples, find balance in taking classes, working with a doula and a provider with low rates of intervention, but also be able to surrender during the birth process by trusting your baby and your body. Be open if unexpected situations arise. For professionals — really hear women, meet them where they are, and know that they may sometimes choose something different than what they have prepared for or than what you would do personally.

5. Tell us about one of your favorite accomplishments.

It will always be being able to birth my second and third children vaginally and helping moms avoid a Cesarean in their first births or having a VBAC with subsequent babies. When cesareans are medically needed, I also enjoy seeing hospitals that allow for immediate skin to skin as I know how important it is for women to hold their babies right away. It feels good to know that I’ve helped many couples have positive birth experiences because that is really the big picture and it flows into their confidence as parents.

To learn more about Sara and her work visit her website www.motherbabydoula.com.

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