Alaska Birth Services Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Doula?

    A Doula is a trained labor support professional. A companion who provides continuous emotional and physical support and comfort for laboring women and their partners, and offers assistance with obtaining information during pregnancy and childbirth.

  • What is your philosophy on birth and Doula support?

    I believe that there are many ways to have a positive and empowering birth experience, and my goal as a Doula is to assist women in having their best birth.  I also believe that one of the most important aspects of birth is how supported, informed, and secure a woman is made to feel during her birth process.  As a Doula, I do not make decisions for you.  I am there to support your emotional and physical needs and supply information you may need to make the choices that are best for you, your partner, and your baby.  

  • What is your professional training and personal experience with birth?
    I have Birth Doula Certifications through DONA International, BEST Doula Training, and Childbirth Professionals International (CPI/CCD).  My Postpartum Doula Certification is through IPPA.  I am also a Certified GentleBirth Instructor (GBCE), Spinning Babies Parent Educator, Evidence Based Birth Instructor, Happiest Baby Sleep Educator, and certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (CPES).  My first birth support experience as a shadowing Doula was in May of 2009, and I will always treasure the memories of supporting that sweet mama as she brought her baby girl into the world.  Her birth ignited a true passion in me for birth work, and I began pursuing certifications as a Childbirth Educator and professional Birth Doula.   
    It has been my privilege to support  so many Alaskan families through their pregnancies, births, and postpartum. 
    My own birth experiences also shaped and inspired my desire to become a Doula.  Our first and second sons were born in 2003 and 2006 at Providence Hospital in Anchorage.  Our daughter was born at home in 2008, and our third son was born at Geneva Woods Birth Center (now Anchorage Birth Center) in 2014. 


alaska birth doula services shanna switzer

  • Do you have references?

    Yes! Readtestimonials from past clients.  I am also happy to provide contact information from past clients who welcome the opportunity to share their birth experience with me as their Doula and Childbirth Educator.

Alaska Birth Childbirth Doula Placenta Support Services

  • My partner is worried about a Doula taking their place.  Can you reassure them?
    Partners and doulas make a wonderful birth support team.  As a doula I not only support you, but also your partner.  I offer nervous or unsure partners guidance and tips on how best to comfort and assist their loved one, and remind them to take care of their own needs during labor as well. Your partner is an expert at knowing you, and I am experienced and knowledgeable about the process of labor and birth.  This kind of team approach offers great benefits to laboring women.  
  • I plan to get an epidural.  Would a Doula still benefit me in labor?
    Labor and birth are hard work, whether or not a woman chooses to use pharmaceutical or other forms of pain relief.  As a Doula, I support women through all birth choices, and have experience working with women using nitrous oxide, narcotic pain relief, and epidural and spinal anesthesia.  There is still much to be done after an epidural is placed, and as your Doula I assist with position changes, cool cloths, warm blankets, drinks, massage, and making sure you have everything you need to be as comfortable as possible throughout your labor.  I support women unequivocally and without judgement, regardless of the choices they determine best for themselves during pregnancy and birth.
  • Do you meet with clients before labor?  Can I contact you with questions?
    I typically visit with clients several times prenatally.  Connecting frequently is beneficial for discussing birth preferences, practicing positions, chatting about postpartum plans, and getting very comfortable with each other before your baby’s birthday.  You are welcome to contact me at any time throughout your pregnancy with questions or concerns, and we will be in touch often via phone, text, or email in the weeks leading up to your labor.

Alaska Birth Services Doula Childbirth education Placenta


Alaska Birth Services


Alaska Birth Services Doula Childbirth education Placenta


  • Do you have experience with birth centers and hospitals?  Do you attend home births? What types of birth do you have experience with?

    I have experience with most local birth centers, and support births at all Anchorage and Mat-Su area hospitals, including JBER.  I also attend Midwife-assisted homebirths.  I have experience supporting VBAC and VBA2C,  multiples, waterbirth, breech, and Cesarean.  I am familiar with Hypnobirthing/Hypnobabies, Birthing From Within, The Bradley Method, and Lamaze.  I teach GentleBirth Classes, Evidence Based Birth Workshops and Courses for expecting parents and professionals, Spinning Babies Parent Classes, and general childbirth education classes with a focus on relaxed, empowered, positive birth. 

    I’m often asked about my favorite kind of birth, and I can honestly say that my favorite births are those where the birthing person feels safe, supported, honored, respected, and treated with kindness and love.  That can happen in any environment, and it’s my mission to help foster that for every laboring woman and couple I support.

  • What are your requirements for clients?

    • Complete and return contract and deposit at time of hire. 
    • Complete and return prenatal questionnaire before our next visit.
    • Inform your care provider that I will be your Doula.
    • Attend a childbirth education course (client and partner, if applicable.)  I teach classes, or can give you a list of other classes available our area.  A course completed during a prior pregnancy will be accepted.
    • Keep me informed of any changes to your birth plan and health updates for mom or baby.
    • Contact me when you have any signs of labor, or if plans have changed and an induction may need to be scheduled.
    • Clients are required to CALL, not text or message, when they desire for me to join them during labor.
    • Allow me up to 2 hours to reach your home, birth center, or hospital after you’ve requested my presence.  
  • Are Doula services covered by insurance?
    Some insurance companies are recognizing the many evidence-based benefits of doulas, 
    and beginning to cover our services.  I have had many clients get reimbursement for services through their FSA or HSA/HRA (Health Savings/Reimbursement Account), or make payment with HSA funds.  I will provide a receipt for you to submit, and am happy to help you with seeking reimbursement (I can also provide a letter to your health insurance company), but I am unable to bill your insurance company for doula services.
  • What types of payment do you accept?  Do you offer a payment plan?
    Cash, Check, or Credit Card.  Half your total doula package price is required as a nonrefundable retainer when you sign my contract, with the remainder of your service package fee due by 37 weeks.  I am open to accommodating payment plans and am happy to discuss your needs.

Flexible for Your Needs

Contact me for more details, to get a free quote, or to schedule an appointment.


I offer flat rates for Birth Doula Services for full prenatal, labor, and postpartum care (cost does not increase based on labor length), and various levels of support service packages. 

Please contact me for additional rate information or to discuss your specific needs for your pregnancy, birth or postpartum.