Phone: (301) 467-8725
Birth Fee: Not specified
Fee Details: My fees reflect the breadth and the diversity of my experience in this field. I am willing to price on a sliding scale based on client need. Fees can be determine in our initial meeting.
Birth Doula Experience: 17 years and 200 births attended
Not SpecifiedType of Practice: Partnership with 2 or more doulas
Clients per Month: 2 to 6Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
Montgomery county teen pregnancy project. Worked with at-risk youth programs in N.Y.
Languages spoken: English, cued speech, some ASL
Service Area MapArea of practice: Silver Spring, MD
My husband and I used Laura Marks as our doula for the recent birth of our son. We had an instant connection with Laura. She has a special ability to connect right away with her clients. We felt comfortable with her and confident in her ability to assist us in achieving the birth experience we were hoping for. Laura met with us for five one-on-one hypno birthing classes. Each class was thorough and by the end we felt confident that we had the tools to work through labor in a calm and mindful way. It was important to us that we both by involved in the labor process. Laura was integral in caring for both us so that we could both be fully present during labor.
Childbirth rarely goes exactly as planned, and our story is no different. We had planned on delivering our baby at a birth center. After discovering that baby had passed meconium in the womb, we were transferred to the hospital. Laura helped us to navigate that change in plan and to still achieve a birth with minimal interventions. Prior to birth Laura talked through different scenarios with us so that we could make informed decisions when they needed to be made.
Even after our baby was born, at our postpartum visit, Laura helped us to process the myriad of emotions we experienced, from the joy of having a healthy baby to the disappointments of labor not going quite as planned.
We highlly recommend Laura. Our birth experience is one we look back on with joy, and know that Laura is an integral part of that. She is wonderful, knowledgable, and experienced. We look forward to working with Laura again when the times comes to welcome another baby!
We took 5 Hypnobirthing classes with Laura and she was our doula for our natural birth at Washington Hospital Center. She was very professional and knowledgeable, while still warm and compassionate - an excellent combination for a doula! Laura was a huge component or why our birth experience was so positive. She taught us so many strategies during our classes and then when it came time to implement them, we felt totally reassured being able to call her and then have her with us for every step of the labor process. She was an amazing support and we felt very comfortable with her. We highly recommend her for your natural birth! Thank you so much, Laura!
Laura is awesome! She was our doula for our first son and will be our doula for our second! We did hypnobirthing and my labor progressed much more quickly than we expected. At the hospital, Laura was supportive of my needs and birth decisions and empowered my wife as my laboring partner. She collaborated with my midwife on best positioning while I labored and delivered. I had an amazing birth and Laura was a huge part of our success! She is knowledgeable, kind, possesses an incredible amount of experience, resourceful and supportive. We have also done refresher hypnobirthing classes with her as we prepare for the birth of our second son. She has made very good recommendations about acupuncture and chiropractic care to deal with the discomforts of pregnancy. I can't say enough positive things about Laura! We are so lucky to have her support and knowledge at the births of our children!
We hired Laura for both birthing classes and as a birth doula. Scheduling with Laura was easy. We opted for the in-home hypnobirthing classes, which were informal but structured, and filled with useful information and exercises. Laura’s practical experience with many births and familiarity with the medical staff and practical aspects of various area hospitals was very helpful in preparing for the birth. Laura was always clear in her communications with us, and in scheduling, so we knew exactly what to expect.
In addition to the classes, Laura was indispensable as our doula and a wonderful source of support. The evening that I went into labor, she answered our calls and texts right away, even at 3am. My labor was 29 hours, and Laura was there the entire time. I had a natural birth, but things did not go entirely according to plan - both my partner and I appreciated having Laura there to help us make decisions. When my initial stages of labor progressed quickly, she helped us decide when to head to the hospital (we birthed at GW Hospital), and arrived promptly after we were admitted. She was immediately a reassuring presence, making sure the little things were taken care of. For example, she made sure that I had water and snacks, was comfortably positioned, and suggested ways my partner could assist me. She worked seamlessly with the midwives and medical staff, making knowledgeable suggestions about ways to improve my comfort, and explaining things to us as labor progressed. Laura's presence was especially reassuring when the hospital became busy late in my labor, and the nurses were covering other rooms, leaving my room at times. After our baby was born, Laura was able to help us get started immediately with breastfeeding, and came for post-partum visits in our home. She was also able to refer us to an excellent lactation consultant.
In the end, we had great birth experience and we recommend Laura without hesitation.
Laura was an indespensible part of our birth experience. As a first time mom, I had a lot of questions, and she was always available over the phone, text, and email to answer all of them. I really appreciated her holistic approach and her knowledge of evidence-based birthing practices. She also encouraged me to trust my body and the process, and that kind of support really empoered me. During labor, she was a calming presence for both me and my husband. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible, and she helped me do so through transition. Got to the hospital and was pushing within an hour. She worked very well with the nurse and midwife, and kept me focused through my unmedicated labor. After the birth, she encapsulated the placenta, which I fully believe helped my hormones to regulate and kept me from baby blues or postpartum depression. She came over the day I got home to help me with nursing. I was having a lot of trouble and pain, and she was the first to suggest that perhaps my son had a tongue tie. A few days later we were at the pediatric ENT who diagnosed severe tongue and lip ties. Laura helped me through every stage of pregnancy, labor, and birth, and we still keep in touch quite regularly. I highly recommend her for any family looking to have a safe, gentle, and supported birth. Next time I get pregnant, she'll be my doula again! Thanks, Laura!
Laura helped us deliver our first son at Sibley in June, 2011, and we asked her back to help deliver our second son with the midwife practice at Washington Hospital Center in March, 2014. Laura is deeply dedicated to her clients and can really help you stay on whatever path you wish your birthing to take.
Major reasons we chose Laura include her skills in hypno-birthing and massage and her many years of experience with all types of births - we wanted someone who had "seen it all" and could advise us accordingly. We were not disappointed. With the first birth, Laura was able to set up a protective perimeter from the usual M.O. at Sibley; fortunately the midwives and nurses at WHC are much more on board with letting the birthing process proceed on its own between you and your baby.
Laura will follow your lead, so be sure to let her (or whatever doula you choose) know what you need and want; I discovered during my first birth that - surprise! - doulas are no better than anyone else at reading minds, so if you want something massaged or a warm pad on your back, it helps to ask. By the same token, Laura is very observant and will proactively offer suggestions if she thinks there's something that might help you be more comfortable or progress without external intervention.
What really stands out for me about Laura is 1) the hypnobirthing/relaxation practices she did with me prior to both births, which were key to having beautiful and unmedicated births; 2) her bodywork, including in-home massages where I set up candlelight and soft music in front of the fireplace and had the dreamiest massages of my pregnancy (and could just go straight to bed afterwards!); 3) her cool head and clear insights when I had to make decisions re: what the OB or midwives wanted to do; and 4) her wise decision to pair up with the equally superb doula Lorrie Leigh, so that no matter what you will be in the best of hands when your baby comes.
Laura was a great doula and her help was critical in attaining a successful VBAC. We initially contracted with Laura and her partner based on personal recommendations and because they are among the most experienced doulas in the region. Laura has a wonderfully calm demeanor, a wealth of experience, and a supportive attitude. Laura recognized the importance of working as a complement to my husband and also of supporting the birthing woman’s choices for childbirth.
My labor lasted 36 hours, and Laura was with us for the full 25 hours we spent at the hospital. Laura worked with my husband throughout the labor to provide and guide in comfort measures for my largely natural labor. Laura’s experience in pre-natal massage was evident as she worked to help ease pain and move the labor along. Laura had good suggestions for positions and movements to help the birth progress.
After many hours of labor, and two times through an apparent transition, I got stuck at 9 cm and received Pitocin and an epidural. The midwives eventually found a malposition of the baby’s head that prevented her from entering the birth canal. Over the next couple of hours, Laura used acupressure and guided me through exercises to help reposition the baby to descend. Later, Laura knew exactly what to do to mitigate pain during pushing that might have hindered the birth.
Throughout, Laura worked seamlessly with the hospital staff and knew when and how to pose questions and offer respectful, non-intrusive suggestions. Laura knew the working styles of the different midwives on duty so that my husband and I could optimize our interactions with them. She also maintained a smile and a sense of humor throughout, providing much needed relief to my husband during the most intense stages of labor. Overall, we were lucky to work with Laura and grateful for all she did to make our birth experience so positive. We would strongly recommend her.
I'm so glad I had Laura to help with my baby girl's birth! I never would have managed a natural childbirth without her. She made my husband and I feel prepared in the weeks leading up, and then helped me labor at home for far longer than I would have managed on my own. All of her experience helped me keep calm, she definitely knows what she's doing and has a naturally soothing presence. At the end of our delivery she was the one who knew what to in order to get the baby in the right position, the midwife was shocked! I would recommend her highly to anyone.
I am so happy I had Laura as my doula. She helped me confidently plan the birth I wanted and avoid unnecessary drama and interventions. She got me connected with a birth center that was supportive of natural childbirth and when the time came, she made sure I got there at the right time. I didn't have to deal with the upset of being sent home, which is always a concern these days. Her meditation recordings helped me get through the car ride. I was in my own little bubble and so I was calm when I got to the birth center. She had homeopathic remedies when I needed them during the birth. I had a positive outcome - though my birth was rough on me, I got through it unmedicated! Without her help, my gut tells me that I would have had a less optimal outcome. She is also so well-connected that we had our car seat installed by some people she recommended. Before we left the birth center with my son, the nurse complimented us on the quality of the installation. Laura makes placenta pills too and they increased my energy and milk supply after the birth. She values health and emotional balance very much!
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