Melissa Schnurr Photo

Melissa Schnurr

Empowered Pregnancy & Birth LLC


Phone: (515) 205-7346

Birth Fee: $850

Fee Details: Repeat client discount offered. Fee includes one free consultation, up to two prenatal meetings, one postpartum meeting, my support during labor up to 1-2 hours postpartum, and unlimited phone, text, and e-mail contact throughout pregnancy. Option to add-on postpartum consultation with Basking Babies (IBCLC Lactation consultant) for discounted rate.

Birth Doula Experience: 6 years and 49 births attended

Birth Doula Certifications

  • DONA International - Certified Birth Doula

Doula Training

Not Specified

Type of Practice: Solo practice

Clients per Month: 0 to 2

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
Attends home births? Any Home Birth
Attend home births when a midwife is hired for medical needs.

Other Relevant Certifications

  • PhD in Human Development & Family Studies; Prenatal Yoga Certified Instructor (doula clients enjoy a discount on my prenatal yoga series))

College Education

  • PhD

Specialized training or previous experience

  • Cesarean birth
  • Clients on bed rest
  • Families conceiving with ART and IVF
  • Home Birth
  • Induced and high medical technology labor & birth
  • Prematurity
  • Single parents
  • Twins
  • VBAC
  • Waterbirth
  • Women and Families of Color

Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

Member of Central Iowa Doula Association; member of Holistic Families of Des Moines

Languages spoken: English

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Ankeny, IA
Travel Range: 30 Miles

Certifications for Melissa Schnurr

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Client Testimonials for Melissa Schnurr

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Jon Johnson

Melissa was excellent to work with.  She came very prepared with all the information we needed to ensure we knew what would happen and the best methods of contact.  She is very good at explaining different terminology you'll hear when going through labor and the lead up to it and that was appreciated.


Melissa made sure to understand how we preferred her involvement to be with the whole experience and respected how we wanted things done while making good suggestions in areas we weren't sure of.


I thought she did a great job of stepping in and helping when I was feeling unsure of what to do and it was very helpful to have someone there that has been through this many times and knew good things to do to help.  It was a good overall experience.

Posted 4/12/2018

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Melissa was a blessing to have during our pregnancy and birth of our baby. She made visits to our home to devise a birth plan and inform us of various birth options. It is safe to say my husband and I felt much more confident preparing for the birth with her guidance and support. She also provided us with a plethora of resources during our hospital stay and long after thr birth. We would highly recommend Melissa for a doula!! It’s nice knowing I still seek wisdom from her till this day. :) Plus, she teaches awesome yoga classes!

Posted 3/12/2018

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A'Leisha Stefani

My husband and I couldn't have been happier with our decision to hire Melissa. She provides a wealth of knowledge and is very detailed, organized and made herself available for any questions or advice we needed throughout the process before and after our baby arrived. I love that she also personally adopts a healthy lifestyle that she shares in the form of optional yoga classes and she is so in the know on options within the community to help follow an optimal lifestyle for taking care of a baby. 

As most births go, they don't always go quite as planned and ours was no exception. I can't imagine how I or my husband would have stayed calm and focused if we didn't have her support. We would highly recommend her to anyone that is looking for a great doula. 

Posted 2/15/2018

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Brad Neal

My wife and I met Melissa Schnurr at an Iowa Doula Agency meet and greet early in my wife's pregnancy.  All the doulas were very friendly and welcoming, even to the only guy in the room.  We became very comfortable with the doula process early on, and knew at the first meeting that we would like to work with Melissa. 

During my wife's pregnancy, Melissa was exceedingly helpful in advising us of the various treatment options, ranging from natural birth to surgery.  She was welcoming of our points of view, and quick to present articles and information that were on topic and were very helpful in assisting my wife and I in making informed decisions for our birth plan.  Once our plan was in place, Melissa would check in with us regularly, share articles and insights, and make sure my wife and I were getting our questions answered, and inquiring whether any amendments to our plan were needed.  In short, she helped two first-time parents navigate the pregnancy and birthing process in an informed manner. 

Once it came time to put our birth plan into effect, Melissa was an advocate for my wife and I.  She was a huge help to us both.  It was nice for me to not have to have a cheat sheet going into the labor and delivery, knowing full well that Melissa would be there, would know our plan, and would have all the right questions and considerations at the appropriate times. 

Melissa was very helpful for my wife through this process, and equally helpful for myself.  I would recommend Melissa, without hesitation, to any newly pregnant family, regardless of whether or not it is their first pregnancy.     

Posted 1/11/2018

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Jess Thorius

Going into pregnancy, I really only knew about the "TV birth" -- the kinds of labors you see in movies and television shows. I had never really had anyone talk with me about the fact that pregnancy and birth could be such an amazing, positive, and natural  experience. A friend of mine told me about Iowa Doula Agency and recommended Melissa, and I'm so glad she did! I learned so much about pregnancy and labor, as well as about myself and my potential. I was still nervous about labor, but I finally believed that my body was capable of it! She met with my husband and I multiple times before the birth to talk through our wishes and options, and she gave us resources so we could make informed decisions. During labor, she was a great resource and an even better support person for me and my husband. She helped us talk through our options as it was needed, helped recommend different ideas and positions, and she helped to reassure us each step of the way! Her presence helped us really focus and be fully present during labor, instead of constantly worrying that we weren't remembering everything from all the birth classes! We would definitely recommend Melissa to anyone looking for a great doula!

Posted 12/8/2017

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Mike Shimkat

Melissa was phenomenal! She was there for us every step of the way. She explained things in a way that a non-medical professional would understand, helped support Kelly and I throughout the process of having our first child, provided additional sources of information to help when we felt we wanted to know even more, and was just generally there when we had to make the tough decisions when we found out how large our son would be. I was skeptical of the whole idea of a doula and even quizzed and tested her quite a bit before I agreed to it with my wife. Even though things didn’t work out like we had planned due to circumstances outside of our control, I do not regret the decision to hire a doula one bit and can’t specifically recommend Melissa enough.

Posted 11/9/2017

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Nikki Wunschel

Melissa was a great addition to my birthing team. This was our third child, but our first out of hospital experience. I was really nervous about having an epidural free birth. Melissa was so sweet and came to our house to meet with our family and helped talk through my fears and create the best birth plan for my husband and I. She helped my husband find his role. He wanted to help, but wasn't sure where his place was in this setting. I loved all of her follow ups during my pregnancy to see how I was doing both physically and emotionally. With two already at home I needed this welcomed reminder to take care of myself. When the big day arrived in the middle of the night she was ready! Melissa helped coordinate my wishes when family arrived, helped with positioning and breathing. When I lost faith in myself and didn't think I could continue without an epidural; she was there telling me I could do this and helped me refocus. It went perfectly! After our daughter was born Melissa continued to reach out and stopped over to check in and provide breastfeeding resources. I highly recommend her! 

Posted 10/31/2017

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Vicki Tlach

Melissa is an amazing doula! She went above and beyond what I expected a doula to do for the birth. She was always providing information and articles to help with feeling more comfortable with the upcoming birth experience. I had a home birth in a birthing pool and she helped set up my mental state and had me focus on breathing, which was extrememely helpful as I progressed very quickly with my labor. She met with me and my husband several times before my son was born to discuss what was wanted for the birthing experience. During labor, she came over quickly and was there for me when my husband had to help our toddler before grandma came over to take her out of the house. After a week postpartum, she came to check on how eveyone was doing. Melissa also is an amazing yoga instructor, specifically prenatal yoga, which was very beneficial for physically prepared the body for labor. I highly recommend her yoga class and doula services for the best preparation for helping the woman body do what it does perfectly - have a baby!!

Posted 10/26/2017

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Caroline Baker

Melissa was absolutely wonderful! She exceeded all of our expectations. We loved her laidback attitude and the ability she had to ease all my worries. She was always available to us whenever I had a question or concern. I had a pretty easy pregnancy so I didn't have too many questions but post pregnancy I was texting/emailing her constantly. She even took time out of her weekend, with very short notice, to come and help me with some breastfeeding concerns I had. During the birth my husband and I felt completely at ease with her. My husband wanted to be involved so we loved how she would hang out in the background but still be very present and aware of what was going on and be ready to jump in whenever we needed her. I tore pretty bad when my daughter was born and lost some blood. While my husband held and cared for our daughter, Melissa stayed next to me the whole time, talking to me and being so reassuring. She also helped to get my daughter to latch on which wasn't an easy task!! My husband and I both agree that there is no way we could have gone through this as calmly and as confidently as we did without Melissa there. She is a must have for every pregnant woman!!

Posted 10/23/2017

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Annick Sjobakken

We used Melissa as our doula for the second time in May for the birth of our son! As the birth of our daughter three years ago was pretty straight forward we thought that the second time around would be as well but that wasn't the case. Melissa stood by our side throughout an epic 42 hour labor. She not only gave us support but also gave us wonderful suggestions and had helpful advice and input every step of the way. She was also a very calming presense which made a huge difference. With such a long labor and having so many nurses in and out of the room as thier shifts ended it was so nice to have Melissa their the entire time-she helped us so much. Thank you Melissa for everything!

Posted 9/11/2017

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Alyssa Fairchild

I am so happy my husband and I found Melissa. She truly was an invaluable resource for us. We ended up having our daughter 6 weeks early and Melissa was the first person there when we had to go to the hospital. She had a very calming and knowledgable presence, which was exactly what we needed at the time, especially my husband. She stood there by the bed and held my hand and got me whatever I needed during my birth and assisted with different positions and kept me focused. We were obviously very disorganized as we weren't planning on having a baby for 6 more weeks and Melissa was right there with our birth plan, making sure the doctors and nurses abided by what we wanted. She was there for us long after the birth as well and always made herself available for questions and checked on us regularly. We cannot express how thankful we are to have had a doula like Melissa, if you are considering hiring a doula we highly recommend her!

Posted 9/8/2017

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Kelsey Skjefte

I had a terrible first birth experience which ended up in emergency csection.  It ruined me physically, mentally and emotionally. All I could think about after I had my first born was what did I do wrong? Could I have done something different? I was blaming myself. I wanted to do it over again so bad.  I got pregnant again and this was my chance to have the experience I wanted for me and my baby. I got ahold of Melissa, I found her through a mutual friend and she was energetic, determined, and very sweet.  I told her my story and she lifted my spirits saying it wasn't my fault and that I could easily have a VBAC.  I doubted myself sometimes throughout my pregnancy, but having Melissa to talk to whenever I needed she built my confidence. She was there for me the whole time.  Answered all of my questions, gave me great advice and gave me great resources to use during pregnancy (stretches, pain remedies, books to read, etc) The day I was in labor I was texting her and telling her what was going on. if my question was urgent I called her. She knew all the right things to say and made me forget about the pain and just focused on the excitement of it all. i was in labor on that last terrible snowstorm in March. Melissa headed towards the hospital when I told her we were packing the truck. The roads were terrible, we barley made it in time. I had my baby 45 minutes after we got there (Couldn't ask for a better experience, very successful VBAC) Melissa had a lot longer drive than we did and she made it right after our baby was born. it was so amazing that she risked it driving in that storm. During our meetings she set up a backup doula for just in case something like this would happen. She was very prepared and had everything lined up and ready for just about anything. She called the backup doula so she was able to be there for us. Melissa stayed in contact with me well after our daughters birth. She is truly amazing. Im so happy I found her

Posted 7/18/2017

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Krystal Mikkilineni

As first time parents, my husband and I didn't know exactly what to expect.  No matter how much research we did or classes we attended, I still felt very nervous and needed more information about the childbirth experience.  We decided to go to the meet & greet after one of our friends told us how amazing Melissa is.  We were not disappointed after meeting Melissa and couldn't wait to hire her as our doula.  She provided two appointments prior to delivery.  She came to our house which was very convenient and comfortable.  She provided a birth plan which was much more detailed than the birth plan the hospital gave us and really made us think about what we wanted.  She also presented us with a lot of research to better inform us about different procedures.  We felt much more comfortable and prepared after speaking with Melissa at our pre-birth appointments.  Once I went into labor, Melissa joined us at the hospital and was a wonderful coach throughout the entire labor.  She provided encouragement and advice on various birthing positions.  She also coached my husband on how to give massages and help me through the pain.  I don't know how we would have gone through it without her!  Not only was Melissa a wonderful coach to have throughout the delivery, she was a wonderful resource and friend post-delivery.  She checked in on me daily and came to our home twice.  I had some difficulties breast feeding and Melissa provided helpful resources so I could learn about increasing my milk supply.  She was a wonderful listener and extremely helpful.  The breastfeeding journey was emotional for me due to some unforseen problems and Melissa made me feel so much better and helped me get a hold of a lactation consultant.  Melissa was not only an outstanding coach and doula, she was more of a friend during delivery and post-delivery.  Thank you Melissa!!

Posted 7/4/2017

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Jessica Jacobs

Melissa was an amazing doula who provided unwavering , professional and sacred support during one of the most intense experiences of my life. Melissa provided me with timely affirmations that were powerful enough to help push me through to realize the type of birth experience I desired. She provided light touch massage, displayed the birth affirmation cards I prepared, took video whilst providing coaching on pushing and breathing techniques, attentive postpartum support rooted in real concern and care and answered numerous questions with accurate, useful knowledge and resources. I can say with absolute certainty that she provided what a doula should, the space coupled with assistance to recognize your inner strength and journey to birthing your baby and becoming a mother the way you want to. Thanks again, Melissa!!

Posted 4/15/2017

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Stephanie Stapes Staley

When we found out we were expecting our 2nd child, I knew I wanted a better birth experience than what we had with our 1st. When it comes to healthcare, You could say I am a "middle of the road" patient, I'm high-risk so I respect modern medicine, but I like to include holistic approaches as well. What better way to get the best of both worlds than with a doula! After attending the meet & greet, I was drawn to Melissa's obvious passion for pregnancy & childbirth. She was a wealth of information, but I could tell she's also a good listener. After another meeting with my husband and mom, we hired her. To be honest, my husband wasn't sold on a doula... but if I wanted one, he wasn't going to object. He was concerned about his role and if he would be needed. (Crazy, I know!) We met with Melissa 2 more times to talk about our birth plan, questions and concerns. There was so much we didn't know or realize (& I like to think I'm knowledgeable and research driven). By our last meeting I felt prepared and confident with the team of support I had heading into birth. when it was baby day, Melissa was on the phone with me when my water broke and met us at the hospital to get labor progressing. Her support throughout the day/evening was exactly what we ALL needed. She helped show my husband ways to relieve my pain, she made sure we ate and drank. Best of all she knew what we wanted and helped us achieve our plan (as best we could). We had the best birth experience, neither of us would have changed a thing. Melissa was exactly what we both needed and we are so thankful she is part of our story. Not only has she been a huge support in pregnancy & during labor, but she has kept in touch with us post-Birth. im so sad this is our last baby, it was such a wonderful experience, I'd do it again! And one of the best parts? my husband is now a believer.. he had a very active role and even hugged Melissa goodbye- that speaks volumes!



Posted 2/26/2017

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Kay Althoff

Melissa was one of my backup doulas. At 40 weeks 5 days I went to the hospital to check on baby. I was very determined to go to 41 weeks and atempt Vbac. However starting at 39 weeks my doctors (with no medical reason) were pressing me hard to schedule the repeat c section.  Prior to needing Melissa as a back up doula she had provided me with a lot of support, facts and suggestions via a vbac support group. I used this information to arm myself for the pressure the doctors would place on me at each appointment. When I felt like giving in Melissa and the group gave me strength to persevere. When my orginal doula informed  that she was on her way to a delivery at the same time I was on my way to the hospital I panicked for a moment because I knew I was giving the doctors a good opportunity to push harder. However when it was explained to me that  Melissa was my back up I knew everything would be ok. Melissa had already displayed a vast knowledge pregnancy and delivery including all kinds of documentation and tools from baby flipping to vbacking in the past. The night at the hospital Melissa spent time via instant message answering all my questions and giving advice on next steps even though she technically didn't take over as my doula until the next day. Once again she made me feel heard. She understood my fears and built my confidence back up. I am forever grateful for this personal service that gave me what I needed to feel comfortable and at peace. Thanks, Melissa! 

Posted 1/27/2017

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Stormy Smith

Immediately upon meeting Melissa, both my husband and I agreed that of the six doulas we interviewed, she was our match. She was compassionate and clearly loved her job, yet was also direct. She focused on evidenced-based research and it was clear she would never push a personal agenda.

As we started our communication back and forth, I was so impressed with her responsiveness, her willingness to converse over multiple platforms (we were often texting, on FB messenger and email) and the fact that she engaged with both my husband and I independently. She was fabulous about making sure he felt included in our in-person discussions and took the time to not only answer our questions, but send us great resources to help make decisions that we were unsure of.

I had a twin pregnancy and with it came a lot of unknowns my Type A personality wasn't a fan of. Melissa was patient, reassuring and a constant reminder that we didn't have to have all the answers now. She focused on my emotional and physical health and I never felt pressured, only supported, as I had freak-outs, hormonal tears and a billion questions.

My delivery happened very quickly. I went from being monitored overnight and told we were aiming for another week to calling my husband and Melissa to tell them I needed them inside of an hour for an emergent C section due to blood pressure issues. Melissa had been texting me multiple times a day to check on me during my monitoring and was invaluable as she took my husband's place in the OR when he went with our boys to the NICU. She showed me photos he sent, talked to me and kept me calm. In post op she helped me advocate for pumping as soon as possible and now I have great supply to feed my boys.

Hiring Melissa is one of the best decisions we made in this pregnancy. She helped both my husband and I feel educated, secure in our decisions and emotionally supported in our individual ways.

Posted 1/6/2017

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Lauren Schmitz

Melissa was an invaluable resource to us as first-time parents. Before our due date, she helped us educate ourselves on all aspects of labor and delivery and think about things we never would have thought about on our own. We met multiple times and developed a birth plan to ensure we felt prepared for our daughter’s arrival.

During what turned into a multi-day induction in the hospital, Melissa helped us through all the mental, emotional and physical challenges -- from talking through risks and benefits of different procedures with the doctors to supporting me through the rigors of active labor. Through ever step, we felt in control of our circumstances and empowered to execute our birth plan the way we intended to.

I am so thankful we were able to work with Melissa and would recommend her services to anyone, especially first-time parents. - Lauren

Melissa pushed us to research and understand all the decisions that we were making. When we made choices that may have been different than what she personally would have done, she was still very supportive of our decisions. She also helped me find different ways to support Lauren while we were in the hospital. - Nathan

Posted 12/11/2016

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Leslie Behaunek

As a first-time mom, I am so thankful we hired a doula to help us prepare for and experience labor and delivery. My birth experience was really wonderful, and that is largely due to the preparation in the months leading up to labor as well as the support I had from Melissa, our midwives Diane and Lori, and my husband during labor. I firmly believe that with childbirth, the more you know, the better your experience will be (regardless of whether your "birth plan" becomes a reality).

Melissa provided information, thoughtful guidance, and moral support as we prepared for our baby's arrival. I thought she did a wonderful job of knowing what kind of support I needed at each step of our journey. During labor, she was a total rockstar who made me feel like I was in control and could tackle every challenge as it arose. She also did a wonderful job supporting my husband and helping him to feel empowered to help me in whatever ways I needed.

If I had to go back and make this decision again, I would hire Melissa in a heartbeat.


Posted 10/17/2016

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Corrine Beers

We had a great experience with Melissa. We had a home birth and she came several hours before the midwife and nurse. She helped me get through each contraction with massage, different positions, and letting my husband know what he could do to help comfort me. She also made sure I was eating and drinking. She kept in contact with my midwife to let her know when it was time for her to arrive. When it came to pushing she continued to make sure I was drinking and she had a wash cloth on my head or neck to keep me cool. She also help me with encouraging works, that indeed I could do this even when I was ready to give up or be done with the whole thing. Melissa was helping hold me up in a squatting position with one arm, me squeezing her hand probably way too hard and still managed to get a great video of my daughter's birth on my husband's cell phone. After the delivery, she made sure I had something to eat and asked if she could help us with anything else. Melissa also came by a few days later to check up on us and brought us some lunch. We were also able to talk though our birthing story and process everything. She also helped answer questions we had and gave us plenty of resources and references. Melissa was not our original doula, but the backup doula. She did such a great job, not having met her before the delivery date. She made me feel comfortable from the start. I would highly recommend her to everyone.

Posted 8/28/2016

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Alicia Benning

Melissa was AMAZING during my birth. She was very supportive of my decisions and was on top of things before I could even think about them. She made sure all my wishes were met during my delivery and was very calming and encouraging through it all. Melissa wasn't originally the foula I picked out and I was scared to death to go into delivery with a "back up" doula. Melissa made sure that it didn'tfeel like she was a back up and that we had known each other for life. I cant thank Melissa enough for all that she did to help me have the most amazing natural childbirth a mom could ask for. I would highly recommend Melissa for any and all childbirth needs. 

Posted 8/17/2016

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Missy Doyle

Melissa was a wonderful doula and helped support my husband and I throughout my pregnancy! As first time parents, we knew we wanted a doula that would support us mentally, emotionally and physically and Melissa did all of that and much more. She gave us very useful information, research and resources to help support us in making important decisions in preparing for our daughter's arrival. Besides from helping us create our birth plan, she was very quick to respond to any questions or concerns we had via text, email or phone call. I also had the opportunity to be apart of Melissa's prenatal yoga classes and it was just what I needed to mentally and physically prepare for labor!

Melissa went above and beyond to support my husband and I during my labor. She helped me stay "focused on my breath", suggest different positions to get through my contractions and was my second emotional support person besides my husband throughout my long labor.

Throughout my pregnancy and even after the birth of our daughter, my husband and I have said countless times to each other, "What would we have done without Melissa?!" I can't imagine how different our pregnancy journey would have been without the constant support Melissa gave to both of us! She truly cares about you and wants to support you in any way possible to make sure you have a positive birth experience. Thank you again Melissa for being apart of our pregnancy journey, we are forever grateful for you and the impact you had on us as we welcomed our daughter into the world!

Posted 6/29/2016

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Amy Palanjian

For our second birth, having a doula was a bit like having a safety net. Melissa answered countless emails, offered emotional and physical support (through yoga pose suggestions, ideas for ideal baby positioning, and for help identifying Braxton Hicks), and was my go-to for any pregnancy questions that came up. She was the perfect compliment to our very mainstream family doctor and made me feel much more confident about giving birth in our small town where unmedicated births are not the norm. Melissa checked in with me regularly in the last weeks and days of pregnancy and made me feel like she was continually looking out for me—and she made the delivery room feel safe and calm through her presence and reminders to breathe when I needed to get more oxygen during the intense part of labor. Had she not been there to run out and grab the nurses when I started to push after just an hour of being at the hospital, I'm sure my husband and I would have been pretty stressed out! I highly recommend Melissa as a doula!

Posted 6/2/2016

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James Rizzuti

We will always remember Melissa`s involvement in our son`s journey to the world. She more than exceeded our expectations and made the process of giving birth to our son as calming as possible, especially for Dad... Melissa is one of those individuals who`s passion for childbirth is very much a gift. She had a way of making us feel very much at ease, from our initial meeting, all the way to the delievery room. She provided us with an education so to speak which allowed us to open our minds and make clear decisions. 

We are thanful for Melissa and she holds a special place in our hearts. 


The Rizzuti`s...

Posted 4/18/2016

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Nicole Paseka

I cannot recommend Melissa Schnurr strongly enough. Melissa empowered me during every single step of my pregnancy, labor, delivery and the Fourth Trimester. (She also remained calm and compassionate whenever I doubted myself!) Melissa is an expert prenatal yoga instructor and a Spinning Babies guru -- this niche knowledge proved to be extremely important during my labor. Melissa supplied me with a treasure trove of information during pregnancy -- because of her, I found the best childbirth class in the Des Moines area. She connected me with so many critical resources. Pregnancy is a time when a woman second-guesses every decision. Hiring Melissa was the only devision I did not second-guess. I don't think I could have made it without her. My husband and now 7-week-old daughter benefited from Melissa's care as much as I did! We are so grateful. 

Posted 2/15/2016

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Courtney Shaw

I cannot even begin to say how grateful I am for having Melissa as our doula. This was our  second time to have her be part of our birth experience as she was our doula for two of our babies. (We loved her so much the first time, we had to have her back). 

As my due date came and went, Melissa provided me with not only support and reassurance but also education and kindness. i did my best to be patient because I wanted a drug free, natural birth, but found it to be very challenging as I had many outside influences persuading me to be induced. During this time, Melissa was there every step of the way. She listened to me through all the ups and downs and suggested extremely helpful techniques so I could overcome feelings and thoughts of frustration, sadness and worry. 

When my baby finally arrived 13 days past his estimated due date, Melissa was right there holding my hand, helping my husband and I through a very, very quick labor and delivery. So quick that I didn't have time or the ability to talk to the nurses and doctor about my birth plan. Melissa gave my birth plan to those involved in the delivery room and helped ensure my wishes were communicated to everyone. 


Because of Melissa, I was able to have two amazing and perfect birth experiences. I'm eternally thankful for her!! 

Posted 1/19/2016

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Robin J Anderson

I highly recommend Melissa Schnurr as a doula. She was awesome; I don't know what my husband and I would have done without her. My labor lasted 34 hours and it was all natural.

She guided us on the best time to go to the hospital (about 15 hours into early labor). By that time, I was 90% effaced and the hospital admitted me ---so, no going back and forth to the hospital.

The hospital is where Melissa worked her doula magic. With her guidance, we tried lots of different positions ranging from squatting to inversions. The hardest part of the labor was the last 5 hours. At some point, my labor stalled. Melissa used positions from Spinning Babies to get the labor restarted. It worked! Once, we did shaking the apples, I was able to push little James out within 2 hours. If it weren't for Melissa, I am sure I would been induced.

She was highly professional when interacting with the nurses and doctors. I delivered at Methodist West with Iowa Women’s Clinic. I don't think they get a lot of natural births. Her rapport with the nurses was excellent (we had awesome nurses too). By the end of the labor, our nurse was asking Melissa about positions.

Melissa was also extremely knowledgeable about breastfeeding. She helped me get started feeding right away using skin-to-skin. Her pre and post-natal visits were helpful.

Melissa helped my husband and me get the natural birth we wanted. And keep in mind, in our prenatal discussions, I noted that my best coping mechanism was whining (lol). I do not have a high pain threshold. I had minimal tearing and my body has bounced back nicely from the challenging labor and delivery.  

Melissa is worth her weight in gold!  Thank you, thank you!

Posted 11/2/2015

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Ashley Rice

I had two doulas during my pregnancy and labor and I was SO glad that I did.  Melissa was a wealth of knowledge to have and I was clear with her about what kind of birth I wanted to give my child.   Throughout the pregnancy she shared many articles that were fitting to my scenario and taught me about birth plans and what to expect in a hospital setting and what my rights were as a mother.  It was very empowering to go into a situation having an idea of what to expect but being open to changed plans and what to expect in every scenario.  She gave me a lot of exercises to help prepare my body to push out a baby that were put to great use during labor and delivery.  The information and knowledge that she passed on to me gave me the confidence to make decisions with my OB and let my OB know that I had done a lot of research and was very supported so there wasn't going to be any calls made without me being informed.   All of this was a great setup for what turned into a marathon L&D.  

I was going for a natural hospital birth but at 32 weeks my BP began to climb and took a serious jump at 38 weeks so I made the call to get induced.  Melissa was there as soon as she could make it and was with me for the majority of a 3-day-long induction period and 20+ hours of active labor.  She supported me in making suggestions to the OB on a lot of induction methods to give my body the chance to start on its own.  After advocating for a full night of rest and a big breakfast, I agreed to let the OB break the bag of waters and get things moving. This began a very physically and mentally exhausting labor as the baby was turned the wrong way.  Melissa was there for me through the hardest and most rewarding time of my life.  She worked SO hard right along with me and I was so happy to have her on my team.

Posted 3/13/2015

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Stacey Haylett

So EXTREMELY thankful for Melissa and her support!  She made me feel so at ease when I had questions, even awkward ones! She helped me think about different aspects of pregnancy, labor, and delivery and process worries that I had so I was calm and ready when our little one finally arrived.  She was available and supportive every step of the way.  She didn't judge our birth plan and when I had questions about our birth options, she told us the facts without pushing her own agenda.  It was OUR birth plan and I loved that she really encouraged us to make it what we felt most comfortable with.  This was our second child and we wanted this experience to be different than our first.  Additionally, I'd had a herniated disc a year prior to our due date and knew that I wanted no needles anywhere near my spine!  My husband wasn't sure that a doula was necessary (I mean, we were going to deliver at the hospital so...) but after we met Melissa and were challenged to really think about what we both wanted our of our second child's birth, he got on board and agreed.  We knew that the guidance a doula could provide would be priceless and necessary if we wanted to avoid pain meds.  As my due date approached, Melissa was in frequent contact, would answer all kinds of questions and continued to help us process the upcoming birth.  As my due date passed, she was supportive without being intrusive (no one wants to be reminded how far you are overdue, as if I didn't know).  She encouraged us to keep in touch and make decisions about induction that were right for our us.  When we finally agreed to breaking our water to try to induce labor, Melissa came to the hospital to support us when we chose, walked with us around and around the hallways, and helped me battle a full fledged panic attack when labor progressed fast and furious.  We are so thankful for her support and would hire her again and again!

Posted 10/20/2014

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Allison Smith

My husband and I hired a doula because as first time parents, we wanted someone, other than medial staff, that had experienced birth before. Melissa was the right woman for the job because of her experience, her knowledge and her passion. When we had our interview with her, we realized early on that she spoke from a place of experience and evidence. Throughout the pregnancy she had informtion and resources for us that were helpful in answering whatever our questions were. She gave us a lot of informtaion when we asked for it, but never pushed us towards any decisions.  

She provided me with emotional support and informational empowerment as I went through some difficulties in my pregnancy. At times when I lacked confidence in my body's abilities, Melissa was always a source of encouragement and helped me to believe in myself.

Melissa was quick to respond to questions and offer support via e mail and text.  She also was able to get to the hospital promptly when we needed her.

During my labor, Melissa was a great support to both me and my husband.  She suggested position changes, ideas for relaxation, and made sure we had whatever we needed be it more water, a snack, or encourgaing words.

Also, I attended pre-natal yoga classes with Melissa, an experience that helped me maintain relaxa tion and focus during my labor. Yoga class was also a nice opportunity to establish trust and build our relationship. She also was able to provide safe at-home exercises for me to try during my time on bed rest and towards the end of my pregnancy to get the baby in position.

The bottom line is that because Melissa was part of our birth experience, my hsuband and I were very prepared and confident to take on the biggest event of our lives.

Posted 7/25/2014

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Annick Sjobakken

Thank goodness for Melissa! She was so wonderful about answering all of my questions and checked in with me regularly to see how things were going. During labor she was amazing - she suggested different positions to try, made sure that I stayed hydrated, and used aromatherapy and massage to make contractions more manageable. I couldn't have done it without Melissa! 

As an  expecting father, Melissa was key to keeping me calm in the delivery room. When my wife went into labor I felt pretty helpless. I wanted to comfort my wife, Melissa showed me how and also gave great step by step knowledge of what to expect. She was extraordinary support for both of us.

Posted 6/16/2014

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Anita Krause

Melissa was an amazing doula! Not only were we able to reach our goal of a drug-free birth, we felt comfortable and informed every step of the way. With Melissa’s help, we were able to maintain a sense of calm and clarity throughout the pregnancy and birth. My husband and I are very happy we decided to hire a doula because as first-time parents, we were concerned about what to expect, specifically with the labor process. In addition to her being an advocate during labor, Melissa’s guidance placed research-based studies and readings in our grasp, which informed us on the most recent techniques and procedures. Thank you, Melissa, for all your help in bringing our beautiful baby boy into this world!

Posted 5/2/2014

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Liz Lawson

Melissa was a very calming and reassuring presence both before and during the birth of our second child. She is very easy to work with and is very knowledgeable about babies and everything that goes along with preparing and giving birth. My husband remarked that I visibly relaxed when Melissa arrived at the hospital. It was great for both my husband and I to have Melissa there to talk me through uncfortable contractions, and translate hospital speak. Melissa is intuitive and was ready to help as much or as little was needed. I really wish she would have been there for the birth of our first child. Melissa's presence was calming and reassuring, and that helped me a great deal during labor.

Posted 12/11/2013

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Sean Stanley

I cannot overstate how positive an experience we had with Melissa. This was our second child. Our first is 12 years old, and during labor with her, we basically got kicked around the Pregnancy Healthcare Machine and barely made it out the other side. We had no idea what our rights were, what we could refuse or get a second opinion on, or what was happening during the pregnancy or the birth process. Melissa shined a great warm light on the entire process for us, and it made the whole experience so much better. We contacted her very late in the pregnancy, but she was still able to meet with us in our home, provide us with informative and helpful materials about the birth process, and be there through a 4 am "false labor" trip to the hospital that ended up lasting all day. She was so supportive and involved not only with us but with our older daughter, who was with us for the entire birth. I would spend time with my wife, and she would spend time with our daughter, and then we'd switch. I honestly can't imagine doing it any other way, especially with another child in the room. She was basically the third leg of our stool. Melissa tried so hard to help us have the birth experience we wanted and to be empowered in our decision making. And that means when we finally decided (after over 12 hours of labor) to have a C-section due to a 10 1/2 lb baby and a thoroughly exhausted wife, it was OUR decision, not the hospital's or the OB's or anyone else. Some may see a doula as some type of insurance against having a C-section, but Melissa actually made it the best possible outcome for us, because we were informed, supported, and knew exactly what was happening at all times. The medical world can be a roller coaster. Having a doula is not a guarantee that you won't have a difficult pregnancy, or complications, or that things might not go exactly how you planned. What Melissa got us was support, security, and stability. We could not have done it without her.

Posted 12/11/2013

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Tracy Kroeger

Melissa was such a wonderful support during our labor! She made it very clear from the beginning that we were her first priority, which we greatly appreciated. She was very reliable and flexible, coming over to our house around 2 AM on the morning we went into labor. She stayed up with me all night, suggesting different laboring positions and ideas for how to get labor moving, in addition to suggesting exercises before labor began that ultimately helped labor get started. She was very communicative and reliable, and showed a definite passion for birth and babies! She did exactly what she said she'd do, and what we wanted her to do, and was very open to suggestions and ideas from us. She was also great at offering suggestions and ideas to us. Melissa is a great resource for everything labor, birth, lactation, prenatal, and postpartum. She's especially helpful if you feel like you're not getting the information you're wanting from your birthing class. She has the knowledge, experience, and resources of an educator, which was very reassuring for us. Thank you so much, Melissa, for everything! 

Posted 11/19/2013

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Courtney Shaw

Melissa was a fantastic doula and I cannot thank her enough for all the emotional and physical support she gave me during my pregnancy, labor and delivery. During my pregnancy she had all the answers to my questions and as I past my estimated due date, she provided me with information, support, guidance, etc as I became anxious to meet my little baby. Melissa was also my prenatal yoga teacher and I learned a lot about yoga positions and breathing techniques that really helped me during labor.

Because my labor progressed quickly, Melissa met us at the hospital, arriving only minutes after we got there. She guided me through contractions with peaceful words and helped me move into different laboring positions. At times when I did not think I could make it through my drug-free all-natural pregnancy, she gave me the words or encouragement to push through and have one of the most empowering experiences of my life. And for that, I am eternally grateful!!!

My husband and I are so very thankful for Melissa! Her passion for being a doula is something very special and I highly recommend her!!



Posted 8/25/2013

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Chris Coleman

I cannot be positive enough about our experience with Melissa. Melissa was tremendously supportive throughout Sara's pregnancy. She is informative and creative. She coached me through innovative techniques designed to produce a comfortable birthing for both Sara and me. She paved a path alternative to our previous labor and delivery, which is exactly what we had strived to do. She provided me the questions I could ask doctors and nurses in order to provide the support Sara needed in labor. She developed the mindset I needed and I am grateful.

I especially enjoyed my time performing yoga with Melissa and Sara. Couples should take advantage of the opportunity to learn partner yoga, if given the chance. We all had a blast with our "noise session" as well. Melissa is simply outstanding. I applaud her welcoming demeanor and positive attitude. I highly recommend Melissa to anyone who may be searching. Her knowledge and assistance allowed us to accomplish our goals throughout the pregnancy, during labor, and post partem. Thank you, Melissa. I wish you continued success.

Posted 6/30/2013

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Sara Ripperger Coleman

I cannot give enough positive feedback about Melissa and my experience with her.  She is an absolutely amazing doula and individual.  From start to finish Melissa empowered me by giving me the confidence and tools needed to prepare and successfully deliver the natural birth I wanted.  Melissa was there to answer any questions I may have had or would take it upon herself to do the research to find the answer(s) or options for me/us.  I feel we both learned a number of valuable things over the course of my pregnancy.  Melissa and I practiced pre-natal yoga together (an activity I am passionate about) and we spoke on several occasions organizing my birth plan and questions and/or concerns that I may have had for my OB as well.  Melissa is a patient person and has truely been a blessing in our lives.  She was focusd on me and gave me the strength to have a successful second pregnancy with a natural and smooth delivery.  My child (suprise...another girl) came extremely fast and Melissa could not make it in time to the birth. However, I belive this was a blessing in disguise because I learned that YES, I could do this on my own, and remembered and used the tools and guidance Melissa had empowered me with over the past 7 months to be able to delivery my baby with just the help and my husband, nurses and the delivery Dr. (at the VERY last minute).  Working with Melissa has been an amazing experience and I would highly recommend her doula service.  Thank you Melissa for everything and may you empower more women like they way you did me.

Posted 6/18/2013

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Megan Schaap

 Melissa was surely a Godsend! Not only was she extreamly educated on natural birth and intervention prevention, but she was able and willing to research any questions that I had. She was not only a tremendous support during my labor and delivery, even more so, she was a mental and emotional support durning my pregnancy. I had many physical and emotional struggles during my pregnancy (especially at the end) and she was with me every step of the way. Always available through phone or text, and very willing. I continually told my husband how thankful I was for Melissa, and how good it felt to have someone else on my "team." We developed a sweet friendship during my pregnancy that made me very comfortable with her there during the most intimate parts of delivery. During labor, she was not only a physical support helping relieve my pain, but also an emotional and mental support through gentle reminders and helpful tips. Though I had a very fast labor, I felt that she was observing me and sensing what I needed. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, or wanted any other doula. Both my husband and I are extreamly greatful for her and we highly suggest using Melissa! 

Posted 3/12/2013

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Jen E

Melissa was and is a great Doula!!! She answered all the questions I could think of, easing my mind the months befor my delivery. Then durring labor she was there when I called, helping me relax and get some rest before I went to the hospital. She came to the hospital when I needed her and reminded me to relax and not tense up. She helped me have a healthy natural birth. She also helped my coaches relax and guided them threw my labor and delivery as well. I don't know how I could of done it with out her!

Thanks Melissa!!!

Posted 8/7/2012

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Beth VanderHeiden

"Since this was our first child we weren't quite sure what to expect. Melissa helped put any fears we had aside. During the actual labor Melissa was amazing. She helped make sure our birth plan was followed and that I was as comfortable as possible. I give her a lot of the credit for helping us achieve our natural childbirth. " Beth

"Melissa helped show me multiple techniques to help make Beth more comfortable. Since the labor was late at night Melissa helped by giving me breaks when needed. Never once did I feel like she took my place." Adam


Posted 7/31/2012

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Angeline Kocha

While my husband and I had been preparing for this birth together for months, it was extremely reassuring to have Melissa present. She by no means interfered with what my husband and I had worked together on, but quietly offered suggestions to help me relax more completely during contractions. A drug-free birth was what we had hoped for, and Melissa was part of the equation that made that possible.

My husband says: "Melissa brought a sense of calm and order to a time when we both weren't sure what to do. She was confident, calm, and in tune to what my wife's needs were."

Thank you, Melissa!

Posted 7/22/2012

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