By Eleanor Ruffes

Strong. Confident. Maternal. Calm. Secure. Peaceful. Optimistic.

These are the words that come to mind when you interact with Kelly Googe, a longtime Mandarin resident and accomplished childbirth educator, lactation consultant and birth doula.

Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers

Googe has been a childbirth educator for more than 20 years, a full-time doula and lactation consultant for 12, and is a former biology teacher. But her wisdom extends beyond knowledge — drawing from intuition and experience. Googe has attended hundreds and hundreds of childbirths.

First thing’s first: What is a birth doula? The word doula means “woman servant.” A doula is a woman who advocates for, educates and supports women during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period. Studies show that women who receive continuous support are more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births and C-sections. In addition, their labors are shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies are less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth.

To clear up any misconceptions, a doula is not a midwife or labor and delivery nurse. A doula is an experienced, privately hired birth attendant. Through prenatal visits, discussion and education, a doula builds a relationship with her client and learns about her birth preferences. During labor and delivery, a doula works alongside medical staff and family members to help the client achieve her ideal birth.

“We are not part of the medical staff of the hospital or birth center. We don’t perform medical examinations or provide medical care,” Googe said.

A doula provides physical support during the prenatal and labor phases. Some examples include the use of the Rebozo method, which is a natural method that utilizes a long scarf to ideally position a baby for delivery. Massage and physical positioning are also important aspects of doula support.

Emotionally, doulas augment the mother’s birth team.

“The husband or partner knows the laboring woman in ways that I will never know, but I know things about labor that they don’t know. So together we comprise her birth team. A doula is never a replacement for someone close to the mother,” said Googe.

In the hospital, a doula helps her client interpret medical information so she can make a well-informed decision. Since there is no shift change, a doula stays with a client through it all. With a doula at her side, the laboring mother can focus on having her baby instead of procedural nuances.

For a healthy pregnancy and labor, Googe advises pregnant mothers to “eat healthy foods and stay active. Regular exercise is paramount. Always listen to your body, too. Activities like regular walking, yoga and swimming, for example, are ideal. For labor, no matter what, your recovery is dependent on how healthy you were during your labor.”

Aside from regular exercise, Googe recommends consistent chiropractic care, massage and acupuncture by professionals certified in prenatal technique. Of course, always check with your doctor or midwife to ensure the safety of these measures for your particular situation.

During labor, Googe recommends mothers stay hydrated while at home, eat to toleration, be calm, rest when able and keep moving during the active part of labor.

Googe says Mandarin is a fantastic place to be a pregnant woman. Gorgeous parks and walkable neighborhoods abound. The area has excellent local physicians and local hospital, Baptist Medical Center South. Mandarin is also home to excellent prenatal chiropractic and massage providers.

Googe belongs to a co-op called North Florida Doulas. a group of birth professionals who provide education, fitness and comfort measures for pre- and post-natal mothers. Available services include yoga, birth ball fitness, childbirth education, breastfeeding education, placenta encapsulation, Hypnobirthing, Hypnobabies and more. Visit North Florida Doulas on Facebook or Kelly Googe’s website, to learn more.  


Data from


Photo courtesy Kelly Googe

Kelly Googe


  • Ackerman Urology We specialize in Prostate health, sexual health, bladder health, and Kidney health
  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Ackerman cancer center. We're here for your cancer treatment
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Future home loans. North Florida's Premier Mortgage Expert Ryan Proffitt
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Legends of Real Estate call Kim Kessler
  • Harbor Chase Independent & Assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Immerse yourself in a rewarding community that enriches your body, mind, and soul.
  • Dont Forget to vote for John Turner School Board member
  • Lori Hershey for School Board, District 7. A school system we can all believe in.
  • Matt Schellenberg. Dependable Leadership for these challenging Times. School Board District 7
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • Mobile Notary Service. 15 years experience, 24 hour services
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • Luxury living and compassionate care come together at starling. Welcome Home.
  • Alive Credit Union Start banking healthier today!
  • Clara's Tidbits Now in Mandarin!
  • Brian E. Floro DMD, PA Dental services
  • JR Dental General, Specialty and Dental lab
  • Support community journalism! Subscribe to the Mandarin Newsline today!
  • Railing Chiropractic & Acupuncture
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our may issue!
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Smart Choice Medical healthcare membership! No VoPay, No Deductibles, No Hassles
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021