Professional Labor Support
The Westar Doulas are private practice doulas who provide professional labor support to Central Ohio families. Our doulas are independently employed, and trained and certified through DONA International. Professional doulas provide emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum period. Westar Doulas support women and their partners with a wide variety of plans including VBAC, un-medicated, epidurals, inductions, high-risk, and cesareans.
RESEARCH | Clinical research has shown that women who received continuous labor support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and feel positive about their birth experience. They were also less likely to have Pitocin, pain medication, cesareans, and babies with low Apgar scores at birth. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) included continuous labor support by a doula among their recommendations for the Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery.
PRENATAL SUPPORT | We provide two in-home prenatal meetings to learn your personal preferences, discuss labor & delivery options, and develop a trusting relationship together. We can assist with your questions and research, and provide referrals as needed.
LABOR SUPPORT | We are on-call for your birth, and join you when requested at your home or hospital for continuous non-medical labor support. Professional doulas do not perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure checks, monitoring fetal heart tones, vaginal exams, and others medical procedures. We remain with you throughout labor, and stay up to two hours postpartum to help you get settled with your newborn. Our doulas strive to be a calm non-judgmental presence, fostering self-confidence and a supportive environment. We can assist you in the following ways:
- • Reassurance of a trusted support person
- • Labor positions to aid labor progress and ease discomfort
- • Assistance with the shower, tub, birth ball, peanut ball, and squat bar
- • Massage, touch, and counter pressure
- • Breathing techniques, visualizations, and positive affirmations
- • Hot and cold packs (except when using narcotics or epidural analgesia)
- • TENS unit (select doulas are trained in this modality)
- • Support when the partner needs a break
- • Liaison for extended family
- • Assistance with facilitating communication and questions with care providers
- • Initial breastfeeding support
- • Photography (select doulas are also professional photographers)
- • Written timeline of events
POSTPARTUM SUPPORT | We provide a minimum of one in-home postpartum visit. We can discuss your birth, feeding and sleeping questions, and offer referrals as needed.
CONTACT US | You may contact the Westar Doulas directly for information about their doula services. Contact information is included with each doula's bio, listed below. You can also follow the Westar Doulas on their Facebook page, Westar Doulas.
Jenn Elfner, CD(DONA), LMT
Jenn became a licensed massage therapist in 1998 through the Ohio State Medical Board. She went on to complete continuing education courses in prenatal and postpartum massage, massage labor support and infant massage instruction. Jenn then began having the opportunity to provide some of her pregnant clients with labor support. She fell in love with the birth process and the hands-on work of labor support. In 2007 Jenn completed birth doula training through DONA International and went on to become a certified birth doula in 2009. She has been a full-time birth doula since 2007 and accepts three doula clients per month.
In addition to providing birth doula and massage therapy services, Jenn is a professional photographer and offers birth + newborn photography to her clients. She and her husband, Nate, have two amazing kids, Drew and Rory. They live in northern Delaware County on their small family farm. Jenn and her family have a dog, two cats and a flock of free-range hens. In her free time she enjoys reading, exploring new photography techniques and exercising at her local YMCA.
Sharon Gourlay, CD(DONA), C.Ht., HBCE, HBFC, HBIMI, RMT, BA
Sharon graduated from Otterbein College with a BA degree in speech communication. She worked in Corporate America for 17 years as an Account Executive Sharon became a HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator in 2006 and went on to become a Clinical Hypnotist that same year, graduating from the Ohio State School of Hypnotherapy. While working with her HypnoBirthing® families she found her passion for birth. Sharon went on to pursue additional certifications as a HypnoBirthing® Infant Massage Instructor and HypnoBirthing® Fertility Consultant. She also utilizes her skills as a Reiki Master when working with clients. In her quest for further education, Sharon took the Advanced ICEA Professional Childbirth Educator Training in 2010. In 2012 she attended a DONA International doula training workshop and went on to complete certification. Sharon also teaches traditional childbirth education and offers hypnosis and reiki maternal sessions.
Sharon uses her soft relaxing voice along with her gentle presence to help create a secure space for families during their birth. She is always honored to witness the transformation that happens during pregnancy and birth. Sharon accepts 1-2 doula clients per month. She and her husband, Jeff, have one angel son, Niko, and two beautiful daughters, Samantha and Isabella, and one dog. In her free time Sharon enjoys reading, swimming and painting the house.
Hollie Lau, CD(DONA), CLC
Hollie received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Findlay and taught third grade. After her son was born, Hollie started to understand how much support mothers need. She became a Certified Lactation Counselor in 2012 and has been offering breastfeeding classes and home consultations ever since. Through her lactation training, she fell in love with birth process Hollie took a DONA International Birth Doula training in April of 2013, and through the process realized that a lactation and doula business would work well with her strengths, her goals, and her family. It allows her to do the work that she loves (hanging out with moms and babies) while furthering her knowledge and understanding of supporting families through the childbearing year.
Hollie also offers birth photography to her doula clients. She lives in Columbus with her husband (lawyer by day, photographer by night) and her two rambunctious, energetic, creative toddle boys. She has a very fat kitty named Ting Ting who loves with when the boys share snacks with her. When her children are sleeping peacefully in bed, she sneaks down stairs to sew, quilt, catch up on client emails, and watch movies with her husband.
Stephanie McCarrell, CD(DONA), CLC
Stephanie has always been interested in the amazing process that is pregnancy and childbirth. When she became a mother, Stephanie realized what a significant and transformative journey childbirth is for a woman and how essential a supportive and caring team is for a positive experience. After having her second baby Stephanie knew that she wanted to be positive support for other birthing women and went on to become a DONA International Certified Birth Doula. She loves to use her knowledge and expertise to help others on their birthing journey. Stephanie accepts 1-2 birth doula clients per month.E-mail: email@example.com
Stephanie is a native Central Ohioan currently residing with her family in Gahanna. She is a mother to two young children, Jack and Molly. Stephanie is an avid reader and also enjoys cooking and crafting.
Megan Van Aelst, CD(DONA), LCCE
Megan is a full-time DONA International Certified Birth Doula, attending 3-4 births each month. She is passionate about helping women and their birth partners experience their best birth, no matter their preferences for labor. As a former athlete, Megan can offer a hands-on approach; she loves an active birth! After being home full time with her children for many years and then learning how rewarding it can be to serve women in a retail/customer service role. Megan felt called to serve them through birth work. She is also a Lamaze® Certified Childbirth Educator.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan lives in Westerville with her husband, Craig. They have three wonderful children: two girls and a son who made them grandparents! When she is not attending births, Megan enjoys reading, gardening, kayaking, and walking her dogs.