Grand Rapids doula agency expanding postpartum services to Northern Michigan

Gold Coast Doulas co-owners Kristin Revere (left) and Alyssa Veneklase (right).
Gold Coast Doulas co-owners Kristin Revere (left) and Alyssa Veneklase (right).

Gold Coast Doulas, a Grand Rapids-based doula agency, has announced that it will be expanding its postpartum services into Northern and Southwest Michigan starting in April.

Areas in Northern Michigan that will be covered include Bay Harbor, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, Cadillac, Suttons Bay, Petoskey, Traverse City and surrounding towns, Frankfort, Manistee, Ludington, Silver Lake and Pentwater.

“We always had the intention of expanding but we've been deliberate and have taken some time on that,” co-owner Kristin Revere said. “So prior to the expansion, we basically covered a 50 mile radius of Grand Rapids, so the lakeshore towns from South Haven up to Muskegon. We had been getting inquiries from Northern Michigan and Southwest Michigan for the last several years and even midwives calling us asking if we could do some postpartum support and have turned people away.”

In an email, Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce President Sarah Van Horn said "Adding to any health services in the area is beneficial for our residents, and helps our region be somewhere you can truly live, work and play year-round."

"Our available specialty services usually don’t compare to those of more urban areas, so adding more available doula services will help us be a more competitive market for growing families," she said.

Doulas are not medical professionals, but act as support for families through pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Gold Coast’s full service includes childbirth education classes, support for birth, the postpartum period, lactation, sleep consulting and household support during bedrest.

"They're super supportive of our moms and they offered tons of resources and birth classes and just really great support for moms," said Annie Bishop, a pre-natal chiropractor and co-owner of Rise Wellness Chiropractic in Grand Rapids. "No matter what kind of birth structure they're doing, whether it's like natural or if they're doing the more like medical version of that they're just there to support moms and whatever decisions they're making, which is just really awesome."

Rise Wellness Chiropractic works closely with Gold Coast and has a lot of client overlap, Bishop said. Rise Wellness and Gold Coast often refer clients to each other in order to fully support mothers and families.

"There's so much to be said about postpartum depression and anxiety for moms who don't have that resource and don't have that help," she said. "So I think that is a really important service that they offer. A lot of moms, that's really what they need, is that community. And especially during times of COVID, It's nice to have someone that you can trust, that's coming into your house. When you may not be able to have your mom or have a family member."

Gold Coast Doulas co-owners Kristin Revere (foreground) and Alyssa Veneklase (background) holding a client's twins.
Gold Coast Doulas co-owners Kristin Revere (foreground) and Alyssa Veneklase (background) holding a client's twins.

In Northern and Southwest Michigan, Gold Coast will focus on providing postpartum services like feeding, sibling care, household tasks like light housekeeping, meal preparation and running errands. Gold Coast Doulas are also newborn specialists and can assist parents in setting up systems like sleep schedules.

“Right now our plan is primarily to focus on the day and overnight postpartum support and again, we have plenty of virtual class options,” Revere said. “Our sleep consulting goes through age three to four so that is completely virtual, and our postpartum doulas can help families implement sleep plans so we can service our clients in a variety of ways, even remotely from Grand Rapids.”

This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Grand Rapids doula agency expanding services to Northern Michigan