Heather  McLees-Frazier Photo

Heather McLees-Frazier

Open Arms Birth Collective, LLC

Website: https://www.openarmsbc.com

Phone: (804) 833-4474

Birth Fee: $800 to $1200

Fee Details: As your doula, I enjoy helping you & your partner develop a set of practical and emotional tools that serve you in birth & throughout the parenting years. I meet with you twice prenatally to acquaint you with the basics of labor, coping & support, discuss interventions & write a birth plan, & plan for postpartum. I'm on call for you from 38 weeks to 2 weeks post partum and attend your birth to provide physical, emotional, & informational support. After birth, I make 2 post-partum visits to discuss your birth & provide basic help with breastfeeding and other early issues you may encounter. As a partner in a group practice, I work with regular back-up doulas who are available to meet with you before you birth, as needed. My clients receive a 10% discount on Open Arms birth classes. Payment plans available.

Birth Doula Experience: 6 years and 45 births attended

Doula Training

  • The Organization of Labor Assistants for Birth Options & Resources (toLabor), May 2012
  • Stillbirthday, August 2016
Type of Practice: Partnership with 1 other doula

Clients per Month: 1 to 2

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
I enjoy creating an effective team with medical care providers to help you and your partner labor in an environment that stays in tune with your needs. I have worked at VCU, St. Mary's Hospital, St. Francis, Henrico Doctors' Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, and Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville.
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
I have not yet attended a birth at Richmond's new birth center, but I greatly look forward to doing so!
Attends home births? Some Home Births
With qualified midwife or doctor on hand to ensure mother and child are well, home birth can be a beautiful, safe way to welcome your baby. I am glad to assist at home births where an experienced CNM, CPM or physician is in attendance.

Childbirth Education Certifications

  • Lamaze International

Other Relevant Certifications

  • American Heart Association BLS (Basic Life Support) Certification
  • Neonatal Resuscitation Certified (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • toLabor acupressure trained, Certified JJ Maternal-Child Health Specialist

College Education

  • BA/BS
  • MA/MS

Specialized training or previous experience

  • Cesarean birth
  • Expected stillbirth
  • Home Birth
  • Postpartum mood disorders
  • Single parents
  • Survivors of Previous Life Trauma
  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Twins
  • VBAC
  • Women and Families of Color

Special Services Offered

  • Acupressure
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bereavement doula (pregnancy & infant loss)
  • Childbirth Education Services
  • Military famiies
  • Miscarriage Support (Before, During or After)
  • Mother blessing celebrations
  • Reduced rates for women considering adoption
  • Sibling support (for your older children at the birth)
  • Stillbirthday Bereavement Doula

Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

Chosen to develop and teach a course for HCA hospital nurses on supporting unmedicated labor; Co-Owner, Open Arms Birth Collective, LLC; Volunteer high-risk doula, Urban Baby Beginnings; Midwife's assistant, Selah Midwifery, LLC, 2016-2017; Former board member, Richmond Doulas (2012-2015) & Nurture Maternity Resource Center, 2013-2014.

Languages spoken: English, French and some Russian

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Richmond, VA
Travel Range: 60 Miles

Client Testimonials for Heather McLees-Frazier

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LINDA KENNEDY

STOP SEARCHING YOU‘VE FOUND HER!!! My experience with Heather was an incredible journey and one of the best experiences of my life. I never thought I’d say that about giving birth! Heather is not only a doula, but a birth education teacher who is studying to be a midwife. It was like having my own personal midwife at all times. She’s a wealth of knowledge and has deep connections in the birthing community. I tried hypnobirthing this pregnancy and when my labor progress stalled Heather reached out to Joy Kraynak, my hypnobirthing instructor, to find a hypnobirthing approach to helping me through it. She read me scripts that were powerful in releasing fear and the momentum that followed was truly special. Her resourcefulness was ingenious. This act was totally instrumental in me having a wonderful birthing.  You are in the best hands with Heather. She even made me burst out into laughter in between intense contractions. The overall experience was so incredible I almost would do it again. I love Heather and I promise you will too. Do yourself a favor and book her now!!

Posted 5/20/2018

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Rachel Martin

Somewhere around 20 weeks, I decided I wanted an unmedicated "natural" birth. Everyone thought I was nuts. At first, I was convinced that my husband would be my doula and birth partner, but after more research, we agreed that a doula "couldn't hurt." Neither of us had ever attended a birth, so we really didn't know what to expect.

My search led me to Heather. Our initial meeting went so well that we agreed she was "the one" as soon as we left. She was the only person we ended up interviewing. Heather met with us multiple times thoughout the next few months. She helped us set up birthing classes and walked us through the different stages of labor. She let me know about websites to ensure a correclty positioned baby, things to eat/drink to help dilate my cervix, and all sorts of birth magic. She was readily available by text or call. She even got me in touch with her back-up doula for a fabulous prenatal Thai massage! :)

When I finally went into labor, we excitedly called Heather at 2 AM. Our bags were already in the car. She chuckled and told me to get some rest and call back when Paul could no longer help me. A few hours later, things were progressing and my water broke. The contractions were getting more intense and Paul wasn't sure what else to do to help me. We called Heather and she was over in flash. She used all sorts of techniques to help me labor comfortably at home, and we stayed there as long as possible. She was so respectful of Paul's experience, too, and kept him as the central birth partner. And on 12/13/15 at 11 AM, after less than 2 hours in the hospital, we met our baby boy. No interventions at all. We couldn't have done it without Heather. She stayed to help us initiate breastfeeding and then came over a week later for a postpartum visit. She even texted a few times to check on all of us. She's a wonderful human, and if the Lord gives me more babies, I'll use her every time to help bring them into the world.

Posted 11/1/2017

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Elaina F

Before I became pregnant I did not think much about the kind of birth I wanted to have, mostly because I didn't realize you have so many choices when it comes to giving birth.  After I spoke to many friends and family and doing a lot of research of my own I decided upon the direction I wanted to go.  It was my first pregnancy and I knew my husband and I could use the support of a doula to help us achieve our most ideal birth and the outcome of healthy mom, healthy baby.  The second we met Heather, I knew she was the Doula for us!  She has a calming presence, fantastic sense of humor, and she is so knowlegable.  The fact that she has had 3 children really helped her show a passion and understanding for birth that is unmatched!  She never once forced ANY type of birth agenda on me.  She supported our birth plan and helped us to expand on it.  She posed questions each pre-natal visit that got my husband and I to talk openly about our anxieties and how to address them.  My husband admitted later having the doula present gave him confidence and helped him become more involved in the birth.  She also helped us to talk about the post partum period and what to expect. In addition to Heather's doula services, she provides you with accupressure which I truly believe that helped to align my energy and prepared my body for birth.   Her childbirth class, combined with her doula service made our birth what it was.  It was one of the most empowering experineces and a defining moment of my life.  Heather helped us labor at home and helped us decide with the midwife when to come to the hospital.  She had essential oils and breathing techniques.  She rubbed my back and helped me count through my contractions, all the while her constant and reassuring words of "You are doing so good!" really helped to keep me focused.  She will always be a huge and special part of our birth.  

Posted 7/20/2017

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Donna Joy Bolte

Heather is absolutely amazing! We took her class through the hospital which lead us to hire her as our doula. Going into the class I knew I wanted a natural birth but needed conviction so that in the tough moments during labor I would have everything I needed to stick to my will. She gave me that conviction and soooo much more! She helped my husband so that he knew just what to do to be with me every step of the way and gave him the confidence to To be very hands on.  She helped me so much leading up to going into labor with acupuncture (as my son went passed his due date and I didnt want to be induced), books to read, alowing me to use a birthing ball, etc.  Heatheir gave me so much knowledge going into my doctors appointments so that I could be an advocate for the birth I wanted. She was amazing in the labor and delivery room!  My nurse even commented that she was the best she had seen. My son was not positioned well and as a result i had stalled in dialation.  I was not able to tolerate the position I needed to be in for him to turn but Heather was to the rescue! She helped him turn in a position that was more comfortable for me.After giving birth an endless amount of questions and needs arose as I transitioned into motherhood and she was with me every step of the way pointing me in the right direction. If we are blessed with another child in the future I will want Heather by my side for another natural birth.

Posted 7/18/2017

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Lee Savino

I'm so glad I was friends with Heather and knew what a doula was before I got pregnant. that meant I knew who to hire as soon as I found out I was expecting. I can't recommend her highly enough. At every step of the way she had advice and help that made my pregnancy phenomenal. I really had a great experience being pregnant (I even maintained a healthy weight) and I can attribute so much of that to Heather's support. She even helped me when, at the last minute (38 weeks), the MCV midwives kicked me out their program for no good reason. With her help, I transferred to another hospital and had an amazing birth at 39 weeks. Switching hospitals was stressful but without Heather it would've been impossible. In the end, I had the birth I wanted, with midwives and low interventions. My son is perfect. 

My husband and i also took her natural birth class and that was super helpful. In fact, we took advantage of all the resources she recommended, and I believed they helped me heal faster postnatally.

We're excited to work with Heather again when it's time for our family to grow even bigger!

Posted 9/13/2016

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Andrea Stenhoff

Heather was my birth doula for my recent twin VBAC and I had a great experience with her.  I found her to be extremely knowledgeable about the birth process (she has a masters degree and is a birth educator) and compassionate and understanding when it came to my birth choices. While I respect women who choose a natural birth, I knew from my past two births that I would need an epidural.  She respected that choice fully.  Heather has a lot of unique skills, from acupressure to help induce labor to great advice on labor positions and comfort measures. She's also simply a pleasant person to be around, which may seem like a small thing until you're in stuck in a hospital room together for a couple of days!  While in the hospital, she supported me and my husband through a lengthy labor, interfaced professionally and effectively with medical staff and ultimately helped me get the twin birth I wanted.  She was a wonderful resource through the whole process.

Posted 1/21/2016

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Maria Cedeno Lapins

My husband and I knew that we wanted to experience a natural labor and birth. We discussed hiring a Doula and decided against it, in favor of my husband being my sole support person during labor. In order to prepare for our natural birth, we signed up for Heather's class, A Healthy Birth, which was taught at a local hospital.

The few days prior to my labor, Heather came by the house an performed some specific pressure point massage techniques to help me relax. During those sessions as well as throughout the time we worked with her, Heather was always incredibly approachable, knowledgable and simply wonderful. I felt like I'd known her my whole life.

During our second massage session, my water broke. Thank goodness Heather was there because she calmed my nerves and reminded me that everything was natural and progressing as it should be (when I had some blood in my water). She encouraged us to spend time with each other and to call her when we felt like we were ready to go to the hospital. I decided to labor at home for about 9 hours before my husband got too worked up to stay home any longer ;)

As soon as we called Heather, she was on the way and arrived at the hospital before we did! She was there in the in-take room and turned off the lights, brought some lavendar for me, and was such a soothing presence. Once we made it to our delivery room, she set the stage exactly as we had hoped - I love candles and she brought battery operated ones, she had lots of snacks, lavendar scented tissues, and tons of positive, supportive words. She was wonderful - walking the halls, helping me stay focused and being a great support for my husband as well. Throughout the labor process, Heather helped us to achieve the labor and delivery that we had hoped for! She continued to suggest ways to help with the contractions, ways to help me relax and ways to help keep my husband calm. Heather's expertise helped us to achieve our goal of a natural birth!

Posted 9/29/2014

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Emma Duer

Our little one surprised us by coming 2 weeks early, just as Heather was preparing to go on-call for us.  We had talked a lot about how my pregnancy was going and she took what was happening as a sign to be prepared or an early arrival.  So when she had to be out of town on the weekend before she went on call, she made extensive back-up arrangements for another doula she knew and worked with to be there if we needed.  And as these things go, I went into labor the morning Heather was leaving to go out of town!  Heather was available by phone and helped make sure that I made contact with our back-up.  I know she was devestated not to be there for us on the big day, but she did everything she could to make sure we still felt supported.  She even came for a post-partum visit.  I wanted to make sure to write about my experiences with her, since even though she wasn't our doula for the birth, she was certainly an important support for me during and after my pregnancy.  She and I had several nice long prenatal visits that were great for processing my emotions and preparing my expectations for childbirth.  She was also a great resource for info on childcare and other things I needed help with figuring out.  I know that if she had been there for my delivery, she would've been a great and wise cheerleader!

Posted 1/18/2014

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Ginny W

Heather helped me to prepare for and successfully accomplish my second birth, which was a VBAC. Her knowledge of pregnancy and just general awareness of the world made her an indispensable help. I was very shaken by my first birth experience and she helped me to understand and process things that had gone awry and also helped me to get educated so I could avoid the same result. During labor, she was a support and a guide to both my husband, and I and allowed us to bond through the delivery. She was also able to communicate to me better than the midwives once I reached my breaking point. Overall, I couldn't have asked for better. Thanks, Heather!

Posted 11/18/2013

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crystal pace-sivels

Heather McLees Frazier provided massage and pressure to help me cope with back labor. She was a constant, soft spoken encouraging voice with positive reinforcements such as; reminding me to lower my voice which helped me remain calm, reminding me that I could get through each contraction, letting me know everything was okay, reminding me that I would see my daughter soon etc. She placed lavender and other scents around the room and on my wrists as great distractions. She ensured the lights remained dimmed and all those who entered kept their voices low. She posted a sign on my labor and delivery door to ensure I would not be offered any pain medication since she knew that was my request. The posted sign also reminded everyone about dim lights, low voices and that we were focusing on a natural labor. She ensured my birth plan wishes were acknowledged. She provided me with ice chips and oral fluids to stay hydrated. She used eye contact and kept me focused on the task at hand. She suggested positions for me to get in to help labor and turn my baby. She coached me through labor and the positions. She encouraged my husband as was a great support to him as well; as he was there by my side. She helped me to labor moving around as much as possible as I desired instead of laboring while lying on my back.

All of the above was possible due to Heather's helping to prepare my husband and me mentally and physically for a natural labor. During the prenatal period she demonstrated and encouraged us to practice laboring positions beforehand, educated us on the stages of labor and various medical interventions pros and cons etc. She also had me prepare a post partum plan which proved very helpful. She was a constant guide and resource leading up to labor and delivery and has been postpartum. She displays sincere compassion and concern in addition to being a great educator. I am so grateful that she was my doula and my experience was memorable and I will never forget.

Posted 8/31/2013

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Lauren Lattimer

Heather met with me three times before the birth and even came to one of my prenatal appointments to get a chance to meet the midwives we'd be birthing with. At each of our prenatal visits, Heather brought articles and resources to support natural birth, but also listened to my desires and fears and helped me map out my birth plan along with birth affirmations. Labor started quickly for me, so Heather met us at the hospital, preparing the room before we arrived. My labor, though starting quickly, lasted 28 hours. Every hospital worker had shift changes during this time period, yet Heather remained by our sides. She always worked as a team with my husband, supporting him as needed and taking charge when necessary, aware of the perfect balance of working with my husband and midwife. After hours of labor and pushing without much progress, the midwife said it was time to make some decisions. We ended up deciding on an epidural to give me some rest. I was crushed with this decision because I wanted an unmedicated birth, but Heather reminded me that the baby had benefitted from all the natural labor I had gone through. After my baby was born, I knew without the support of Heather and my midwives that I would’ve very likely ended up with a c-section. Heather’s calm presence helped me labor through really tough contractions, her support helped me know how to breathe through pushing, her positive words made me feel like I was in no way a “failure” for getting an epidural, and her encouraging words after the birth made me feel like a super-hero for being able to push the baby out despite his challenging position. Heather visited with me twice after the birth to reflect on my labor and to make sure I wasn’t showing any post-partum depression signs. We discussed breastfeeding, co-sleeping and she addressed any/all of my concerns with being a new mom. Heather was an amazing doula and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Posted 5/6/2013

Birth Availability for Heather McLees-Frazier

= Available. Calendar last updated: 7/9/2018 4:36:28 PM