Bright Heart Birth Services works to provide support for new and expectant mothers
Reno business owner Sarah Geo Walton has created a pregnancy care center called Bright Heart Birth Services. The business offers a range of doula services and education classes to provide support for new and expectant mothers.
A doula is a trained professional that supports women and their families through the various stages of pregnancy and birth. Walton said that she saw childbirth as a natural process from an early age.
“I grew up around home birth and around birth just being a normal part of life,” said Walton, who is a trained placenta encapsulation specialist and a certified birth assistant.
Walton grew up 18 miles outside of Imlay, Nev. She explained that living in a remote location often made it hard to get to a hospital quickly for not only childbirth but for other emergencies. It was not until she was older, that she realized the fear that many people had regarding childbirth.
“My hope was really to help people not feel so terrified (about birth),” she said.
She later moved to Portland, Ore. and became involved in the thriving birth community there.
“When I was in Portland and I saw how saturated the doula market was up there,” Walton said. “It was very, very obvious that it was missing down (in Reno).”
She started Bright Heart Birth Services in 2015. The business is located at 7693 S. Virginia Street and operates out of The Nurturing Nest, an education center for new and expecting parents that offers classes, a store, community building for parents and more.
Walton explained that there are many misconceptions about what a doula is and does. She explained that a doula is not the same as a midwife. A doula doesn’t make any type of medical decision. Another common misconception is that a doula is just for homebirths.
“Most of my clients have their babies in the hospital,” Walton said.
She explained that doulas also provide reliable resources and help families navigate decisions before, during and after childbirth.
“We are there to build a bridge in the care, we are not there to put up a wall,” she said.
Doulas also provided assistance and emotional support for the mother’s spouse and family during labor.
“It is great to have someone that can give you a break and you know that you are in good hands,” Walton said.
Walton charges a flat rate between $600-$800. She typically serves three to four clients per month in order to give them adequate attention and time.
“From the moment of hire we are available by phone, email and text message,” Walton said. “… Our job is to support you.”
Bright Heart Birth Services also offers postpartum doula support for new parents. She charges $35 an hour for postpartum doula support, which can include a wide range of services to support parents after birth.
“I have gone grocery shopping, cooking, holding babies so mom can take a shower, light house work,” she said.
Walton explained that her goal is to be able to support not only new mothers in Northern Nevada but also the growing doula community.
“There are more and more people training to be a doula,” she said.
However, she explained that it can be difficult for a person to run a successful doula business on their own unless the person has a unique mix of being business and community minded in addition to being able to connect with people during and after pregnancy.
“A lot of people who go into birth work are not necessarily good business people who are going to be on top of social media and reaching out to the community,” Walton said. “They are more heartfelt people.”
Possessing this mixed skill set has allowed Walton to successfully grow and run her business.
Walton recently hired an additional doula for her business and her goal is to eventually create a doula agency. She explained that agencies like this exist in other cities, such as Portland, Ore., but have yet to enter the Reno market. Having multiple doulas to choose from will also provide more options for the business’ future clients.
“Eventually, with a large team of doulas, we will be able to get (our clients) to their best fit,” Walton said.
For information, visit http://www.brightheartbirth.com or call 775-235-8272.
The cuts would come as a direct result of reduced tax collections caused by business closures across the Silver State due to the COVID-19 pandemic.