Danielle Koontz, MAA, CBE, CD(DONA)
Informed Birth Choices
Phone: (410) 456-0980
Birth Fee: $900
Fee Details: An additional fee may be applied for D.C. births to cover the cost of travel.
Birth Doula Experience: 7 years and 75 births attended
Clients per Month: 1 to 3Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
- Hospital Steering Committee on Evidence Based Practice in the hospital setting - Skin to Skin evidence based research project at Mercy Medical Center - Maryland State Representative, DONA International
Languages spoken: English
Service Area MapArea of practice: Baltimore, MD
I first spoke with Danielle when I was investigating different birth options around the area. After taking her informed childbirth and comfort measures classes, we decided that we wanted Danielle to be our Dula. She is very knowledgeable, and has it down to earth personality that made us very comfortable. She was a great source of support to both me and my husband during labor, and we were so grateful to have her with us during our first childbirth experience.
Danielle was our childbirth educator and doula for both of our births. She helped me have the birth experiences I hoped for - two unmedicated births, the second of which was at home (by accident - we didn't make it to the hospital). Danielle was a great support at both birth experiences, although they were quite different (a hospital birth and a home birth). She helped me throughout the pregnancies to prepare for natural birth and was always available to answer questions or just offer support. Her support during labor put my husband at ease and helped me have a completely natural birth, even when I was doubting that I could do it. When my second baby was born at home, we were so thankful she was there. She was knowledgeable and calm and made sure everything went OK until the ambulance got to my house. Danielle is an excellent childbirth educator and doula; she operates from a stance where she will provide you with evidence-based information to help you make decisions about your birth wishes and will support what you decide.
Let me preface that I am a non-OB physician. My wife forced me into considering a doula for our recent pregnancy. I say forced because I had no idea what one is (thought they took people around museums). I met Danielle and she explained her role and her expectations of us. Seemed reasonable enough. We took a child birth weekend class with her as well which was informative. When it came down to gametime I was so relieved that she was there. My wife and I were both exhausted and Danielle helped manage this expertly. We labored for about 24 hours at home and she was instrumental in me being able to temporarily take myself out of the fray so to speak. Once we went to the hospital she continued to be a very decisive factor in what amounted to a 41h labor. Mom and Baby came out healthy and I couldn't be happier. Thanks Danielle!
When I first found out I was pregnant, I started reseraching doulas before making any other arrangements. Danielle seemed to be a perfect fit for our family from the moment we connected on the phone. Because my husband is a physician and not generally wired to the idea of doulas or (in my case, midwives), I was excited for us to work with Danille given her background and her passion for birth and labor (not only has worked in the hospital setting but she is also very familar with the hospitals and care in the Baltimore and surrounding area). She helped us to prepare through individual support and meetings, as well as provides weekly or weekend classes through Informed Birth Choices. She is straighforward and knowledgable, but also extremely agile in helping to determine the best course of action in the moment. As a result, she was an integral part in helping my husband and I to welcome our daughter into the world. She was the perfect addition to our 'team,' and we couldn't be happier with her service and her friendship.
Although I ended up having a CS due to a breech twin A, Danielle was instrumental in preparing for my delivery, and her experience and knowledge helped me and my husband to make sound decisions for our babies immediate care following birth. Having a 3rd party to discuss our opinions with really helped us at such a new and overwhelming time. I also credit Danielle with helping me to get started breastfeeding. Lactation consultation was not immediately available following birth, but Danielle's calm, positive demeanor and skillset helped me to get the babies latched as soon as I was able to hold them in recovery immediately following delivery. I definitely recommend her!
My husband and I decided that for the birth of our first child, we would both feel more comfortable with the help of a doula. I really wanted a natural childbirth with as few medical interventions as possible, even though I chose an obstetrician to deliver the baby. My labor and delivery was beautiful - everything I had hoped it would be - and I really think that is due to our decision to hire Danielle. She taught our childbirth education class and after getting to know her, we decided she was a good fit for us. I labored at home and Danielle was there every step of the way, first coaching over the phone and then coming to our home when things started getting intense and I was ready for additional support. By the time they checked me at the hospital, I was fully dilated - the timing was perfect. I am so thrilled that I was able to labor at home for so long and give birth to my baby boy naturally. I really couldn't ask for a better birth experience and I am thankful to Dani for her part in it.
After having a very painful C-section with my first son, I think God knew how badly I wanted to have a natural delivery the second time around. That is why God send Danielle to me. She was an angel in the form of a doula. My husband and I both know that our birth would not have gone the way we wanted if it weren’t for Danielle. Actually even the nurses and doctor would agree to that. I was able to give birth naturally, without an epidural or any other intervention, and it is all due to her. Even though I had prepared myself over the course of nine months, I started to panic when I started having contractions at 4am because they were 3min apart and very strong. When I first talked to Danielle over the phone she instantly was able to calm me down. She met me right away even on such short notice. Her soothing voice kept me focused and her hands worked majic as she massaged my back and used counter pressure during my contractions. There were times I felt like I could not do it. Danielle knew exactly what to do and helped me relax. She helped me get into certain positions and talked me through my contractions and this helped me forget the pain. I would have never in my life thought I would have been able to achieve this without her. I can honestly say the only way I can think of having more children is if I know she will be my doula again. I could not have it any other way, as those precious hours spent with her before and after the delivery meant so much. She also took such good care of me after the delivery. She is truly a very patient and caring person. I never felt like she was in a rush during my labor and delivery process. I felt so comfortable with her. It was as if she made my VBAC her goal and she tried everything in her power to help me achieve it. My life has completely changed because I was able to have this natural birth and it is all thanks to the strength and support that Danielle gave me. I cannot thank her enough.
Danielle is amazing! My husband and I wanted to have a natural childbirth but still deliver in a hospital setting. With Danielle's help we were able to achieve this and have an amazing birth experience! Danielle has a warm, open and calming personality that made us feel comfortable from the moment we met her. She made herself easily accessible prior to, and following, the birth. She kept in touch with us via text messages when labor started and was at my side the moment we needed her. I ended up in active labor for 12 hours total; 8 hours at home and only 4 in the hospital. With Danielle’s knowledge and support my husband and I were able to work together through the first 4 hours at home and Danielle was at our side to support both of us for the second 4 hours at home. This allowed us to have a completely natural childbirth with no medical interventions. We truly don’t know what we would have done without her!!
Having a baby is something my wife and I had waited to do for over 10 years. Fortunately, my cousin shared the great resource of a doula with us as a result of her birth over 4 years ago. Based on her testimony, we knew we would use a doula. The only question...which one? Thankfully, my wife's research proved invaluable as she chose Danielle Koontz (aka Informed Birth Choices) for our childbirth education classes. Not only were we able to learn a lot of really helpful things to help prepare us for the process of giving birth (pregnancy and delivery), but we were also able to get a sense of who Danielle is and how she interacts with us. My wife's way of choosing Danielle was jokingly sharing that she thinks she would be comfortable having Danielle see her vagina (my wife is very modest). This fun and close relationship carried us through the birth which was longer and more challenging than we ever expected. However, we were able to have a birth very close to what we stated in our birth plan and Danielle's support, massages, and experience is a big reason for this. Her guidance, suggestions, pacing, breathing, and general presence allowed me to connect more with my wife and engage in the full experience of the birth. If you have a good sense of humor, a desire to have a positive birth experience, and think that you simply prefer another level of support and connection before, during and after your birth, I highly recommend contacting Danielle. We truly believe she is a big reason our little one arrived in the manner she did.
My wife and I are fiercely independent and feel like there is almost nothing that the two of us cannot accomplish. Having and out of Hospital birth was to be just another “impossible” feat that she and I would conquer. We took the classes and read every text imaginable and for the longest time we were convinced that we likely wouldn’t even need a doula. Changing our minds was possibly the best decision we ever made. While we never really required Danielle’s vast knowledge and expertise as a birth educator we relied heavily on her ability to help us cope with the intangible factors that we couldn’t have for seen and aren’t written about in books or taught in the classes. That is to say that the nuts and bolts of birthing is something that is easily researched and learned in a very clinical, academic sense but how one deals with the reality of it is something that frankly cannot be predicted and it is in that unpredictable world that Danielle possesses unique and essential talent. Her openness, light hearted kindness , and patience helped me coach my wife through labor while her attentiveness , level headed composure and levity ensured that the whole process was as enjoyable as it was rewarding. What makes Danielle a phenomenal Doula isn’t that she knows what she needs to know it’s that she is who she needs to be, and more importantly she was who we needed her to be when we needed it. Sharing the best day of your life with someone who is pretty much a stranger is a difficult choice to make but our kinship with Dani was instantaneous and we never once felt like having her there was anything other than the natural, obvious choice.
Stephen and Jennifer
My husband and I met Danielle through a childbirth education class taught by her. Prior to starting the class, we had discussed the idea of hiring a doula for our birth but had some qualms about having a relative stranger part of such a sacred experience. My husband was also concerned that having a doula present at the birth would minimize his involvement in the birth. After our first class with Danielle we were so wooed by Danielle's comforting and fun personality that we knew she was the doula for us. It was very important to us to not only have a knowledgeable and experienced doula, but to also have someone with whom we were very comfortable and liked. Danielle never let us down and we enjoyed working with her throughout our pregnancy experience. I have to admit, she even made labor fun (well, at lease some of the time). We also decided late in our pregnancy to switch practitioners and have a home birth. We made this decision partly based on the fact that we were confident with Danielle's ability to help us manage a home birth. And that she did- Danielle provided great advice and support leading up to the birth and was an invaluable addition to our birth team. Danielle and my husband helped me work through each and every one of my contractions, and even after pushing through 3 hours of posteriorly induced back labor I never once wished for a hospital or an epidural thanks to their unwavering support. My husband and I are so grateful that we can look back on our birth experience as such a beautiful and wonderful experience. This is in great part due to Danielle's presence and support and we are very appreciative of her and recommend her highly to any prospective parents regardless of their birth plan.
My husband and I went through extensive infertility treatments, and because of this, decided that we wanted to have the most natural possible childbirth (in a hospital setting). We researched the role of Doulas and it decided that this was the right choice for us. Danielle was one of several recommended doulas. We e-mailed and spoke on the phone, and it was clear from her background, philosophy and personality that she was a good match for us. During the last weeks of pregnancy, Danielle was always available to answer questions and to provide support. Our labor was very long, and happened on a hoilday weekend. Thanks in great part to Danielle we were able to labor at home for a long time (over 24 hours). My ob said that if we came to the hospital earlier, that most likely we would have been induced, and would likley have had a c-section (because of the slow nature of this labor). Danielle supported us during all phases of labor and delivery, and she even helped us get started with breastfeeding. Danielle puts us at ease and helped make the birth and labor one of the best experiences of our lives!
My husband and I met Danielle at Mercy, where she was our childbirth educator. My husband and I loved Danielle right away. She has wonderful energy, a very down-to-earth teaching style and is extremely knowledgable about the childbirth process. We decided very late in the game (I think at 34 weeks) to officially hire a doula and were very excited when Danielle agreed. She made herself totally available to us for 2 weeks leading up to my due date; we called her with questions here and there and she was always happy to respond. My labor was very fast so I was fully dilated when we met Danielle at the hospital; so I can't speak to abilities to help through to full-dilation. In addition, we had a surprise breach baby. Danielle was very helpful and informative to our families while waiting for us through the c-section and was emotionally supportive to me after the surpise c-section. We have enjoyed becoming good friends with Danielle and her family after our experience. For me, I value her the most through the emotional support she provided.
I thought I was open-minded about what to expect during labor, but I really didn't think I'd be in labor for four days! After such a long and exhausting labor, it's a minor miracle I didn't have a c-section. I was so tired, I couldn't think.
Without Danielle's guidance and support, I would not have been capable of struggling through it for so long and finally having a successful vaginal birth. She helped me remain calm when that seemed impossible, and led me through breathing that relaxed me and made the contractions bearable. She was supportive and helpful when I needed to make decisions about the labor and delivery -- which I couldn't imagine doing alone in that state!
Even though I was lucky to have wonderful midwives and a wonderful husband, Danielle's support was different -- comforting and unwavering and exactly what I needed to get through to the other side, where a beautiful little baby girl was waiting for me!
My husband Chris and I found Danielle through the referral of a friend. Danielle was a great resource leading up to the birth of our first child. We were understandably anxious in anticipation and Danielle helped us formulate a birth plan that was right for us and eased our concerns. On the day I went into labor, Danielle was attentive and comforting over the phone. When Chris and I decided that we were in the thick of labor he called and Danielle arrived promptly. She brought a calming feeling of support and understanding, and was a great relief for me and my husband. At the hospital Danielle helped me to focus through each contraction and we were able to make it through with little medical intervention. I will use Danielle again when the time comes (if she's available:) and recommend her to any and all who are expecting. Our experience with her was excellent!
= Available. Calendar last updated: Updated 4/24/2013