LA's most sought-after doula answers our questions
We spoke with birth doula and founder of C & The Moon, (Who happens to make Kim Kardashian's favorite body scrub and was present for the birth of Elsa Hosk's baby) Carson Meyer, to learn all about the advantages of a home birth. We talk about everything from water births, to eating placenta, natural labor pain remedies, as well as advice for new moms struggling with postpartum depression. Carson also shares her tips on how to make the birthing process easier, as well as self-care tips for new moms.
What inspired you to become a doula?
The first time I ever saw footage of unscripted birth was in the documentary The Business of Being Born. I watched it as a sophomore at New York University and I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. Up until that moment I had only been exposed to Hollywood’s terrifying portrayal of birth that always seemed to take the power away from the woman and put it into the hands of a male doctor. I was moved to tears by the sheer strength of the female body and the triumphant emotional transformation of the mother. I was also driven towards this work after learning about how the medical industrial complex had led us to view birth as an illness over the past century while profiting from unnecessary intervention and instilling fear in parents. It broke my heart to learn how the medical system has treated birthing women and babies in the US resulting in one of the highest maternal mortality rates of the developed world.
Can you tell us about what a doula does?
A birth doula is a trained professional who supports parents through pregnancy, birth, and the initial postpartum period to help guide them through a healthy and satisfying transition to parenthood. Doulas work closely with their clients to prepare them for birth and postpartum by providing them with evidence-based information and resources so that they can make empowered and informed choices for themselves and their babies.
During labor, a doula is present either at home, hospital, or birthing center to provide physical and emotional support in a non-medical capacity. Doulas also act as an advocate in the birth space to assure the mother’s needs are honored and voice is being heard. Every doula brings a unique set of offerings to a birth such as massage, reiki, birth photography, meditation etc.
Is there a difference between a midwife and a doula?
Yes. A doula offers non-medical support, advocacy, and education, whereas a midwife is a trained birth professional who oversees the medical aspects of the birth process. A doula does not replace a midwife in the birth setting. As a doula I support clients working with midwives and OBs. However, one may choose to work with a midwife instead of an OB. In fact, in a low-risk pregnancy, having a midwife and a doula results in a lower likelihood of cesarean and better birth outcomes for mom and baby.
What is the best way to go about finding the doula that is right for you? How do people usually find you?
I am generally found via word of mouth, Instagram or am referred by local practitioners such as doctors, midwives, and acupuncturists. There are some doula match sites like With Akin, that can also be helpful when searching for birth support.
At what point during a pregnancy do you usually start working with a client and how long do you work with them for?
This really depends on when I am hired. Some hire me at the final hour, others find me before they conceive, and we work together on preconception health, and preparing the mind and body for pregnancy. Most of the time we begin working together at around 15-20 weeks gestation. After birth we have one postpartum follow up visit a week after birth, but I always stay in close touch with my clients and they know they can lean on me at any time, for anything.
What are the benefits of a home birth vs a hospital birth?
Birthing at home presents many benefits for a low-risk mother, (85% of pregnancies are considered low risk). Being in the comfort of your own home, having complete control over your environment and choices, the ability to move freely, ability to labor in water, being surrounded by your chosen support team, being cared for under the midwifery model are just a few of the many benefits of birthing at home. Those who give birth at home have an increased likelihood of delivering vaginally. In fact, 94% of homebirth result in vaginal delivery with no intervention. Whereas, in hospitals that number drops to less than 50%, and half of those interventions have no clinical indication.
The benefits of birthing in a hospital include access to pain medications for those who want it. It is also a beneficial place to be for the 15% of pregnant women with “high-risk” pregnancies who may benefit from immediate access to medical interventions.
What remedies do you recommend for reducing labor pain?
The perception of pain is so personal and really something that is defined from within. I believe that our experience of pain is very much influenced by our fears. Working through those fears and redefining one's relationship with pain in the context of birth is a powerful way to increase comfort. On a more physical level, movement, massage, vocalization, touch, heat packs and water are all wonderful ways to help ease the physical intensity of labor.
I’ve heard that water births can cut pain in half. Is this true? And are there any other advantages to a water birth?
Water birth can be a tremendously helpful tool. I call it the aquadural because I do see it dramatically reduce pain for many laboring women. Water birth or laboring in water, not only provides for a peaceful transition for the baby but also is associated with higher rates of maternal satisfaction, vaginal birth, and shorter labors.
What are some things women can do during pregnancy to make the birthing process easier?
Become educated on the process of labor, learn about all of your choices. I recommended visiting the Evidence Based Birth website and working with a doula to learn about the importance of advocating for yourself. Find a provider that is going to practice evidence-based care and support you and your autonomy. Consider birthing in an out of hospital setting if you are low risk. The film Why Not Home sheds light on how home birth can make the birth process easier for some. I also recommended good nutrition, doing lots of walking and drinking red raspberry leaf tea daily after 35 weeks to help tone the uterus.
What are some self-care tips for women who just gave birth?
REST! Protect your energy field. Be patient with yourself. Create boundaries. Give yourself permission to prioritize your needs before anyone else's. So often I see parents feel obligated to entertain and appease others when it doesn’t serve their best interest. I really recommend honoring the first 40 days with nourishing foods if possible. Building a strong support team is crucial.
Do you recommend a woman eats her placenta?
I have many clients who consume their placentas and report increased milk supply, more energy and decrease in baby blues. Placentophagy has not only been used to benefit human mothers for generations but is a common practice for almost every mammal immediately after birth. I say, go for it!
Do you have any tips for postpartum depression?
Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS) is used to describe the spectrum of symptoms that can affect new mothers. It is reported that 1 in 7 mothers experience PMADS. PMADs can range from subtle to severe and if left unaddressed can lead to worsening symptoms. Having a strong support system in place is so important for every new parent. It is worth noting that a postpartum mother experiences greater hormonal shifts than a teenager! Be patient with yourself.
There are a number of different contributing factors when it comes to PMADs such as lack of support, nutrient deficiencies, birth trauma, family history, stress, and unrealistic expectations. Sometimes good sleep, self-compassion and a strong support system makes all the difference. For others, professional clinical support is essential. The Motherhood Center and Postpartum Support International offer helpful resources.
Call: (800) 944-4773
Click for link to Free Weekly Support
Free Psychiatric Consult Line: (800) 944-4773 x 4
What can someone expect to pay for your services?
Doula rates can vary depending on location, experience and the services offered. In Los Angeles doula services can vary between $1K-$6K. There are organizations such as the Joy In Birthing Foundation that help match low-income families with affordable or volunteer doula care. Some insurance plans may also cover doula support.