What’s in My Doula Bag?


Doulas have all sorts of tips and tricks up their sleeves to make pregnancy, labor, and postpartum a smoother process for birthing people. The majority of the work I do for you comes from my heart, my head, and my hands. In order to provide support, knowledge, and comfort, I don’t necessarily need a Mary Poppins-style bag with tons of trinkets; however, there are a few tools I occasionally use at births to improve your labor experience. Here is a private look into what items I keep in my doula bag.

The first item on the list is a rebozo. A rebozo is a traditional Mexican cloth woven by women for women. My gorgeous, authentic, deep purple rebozo is very special to me, as it was hand woven by local doula, womb care, and rebozo expert, Mayte Noguez of Womb Centered Care and her grandmother. I had the opportunity to take a workshop with Mayte where she taught about the uses of rebozo, as well as the history and cultural significance. The rebozo has many uses in the Mexican culture. It is worn as clothing, can be used to carry babies, and is often used in certain cultural ceremonies. During labor, a rebozo can be used in a variety of ways to help support the abdomen, put pressure on the hips to relieve discomfort, open up the pelvis, and much more. During prenatal meetings with our doula clients we discuss and practice the many uses for this extremely versatile tool.

The second and third items on the list are a rice heating pad and an ice pack. Heat and cold therapy both have benefits during labor. A warm rice pack can help relax muscles and increase blood flow, while a cold pack can help numb areas of discomfort and reduce swelling. A rice pack warmed in the microwave often feels good when placed on the lower abdomen or on the neck and shoulders. An ice pack may feel good on the lower back when experiencing back labor. Depending on the situation, we may alternate heat and cold, or just stick with one.

Item number four is an Elle TENS Unit. As a part of our doula support package, all of our clients are loaned a TENS Unit in the third trimester and we demonstrate how it use it properly. This device has a hand held control panel and four electrode pads that can be placed nearly anywhere on the body. Typically in pregnancy and labor, people choose to place the electrodes on their lower back. When the TENS Unit is turned on, it sends a very small electrical current into the electrodes. You can turn the strength up and down and change the electrical current to pulsate in bursts or a continues at a steady pace. It may sound frightening; however, it is very gentle, safe, and effective at reducing pain. The frequencies put out by the unit help block the transmission of pain messages to the brain. The electrical impulses also stimulate your body’s natural pain relief hormones. This offers a drug free alternative to pain medication, with less side effects.

Massage lotion is number five in my bag of tricks. Having a doula who is also a professional, licensed massage therapist can be a huge perk for Bravo Birth DFW clients. Massage is proven to increase labor hormones and decrease stress and pain hormones. Whether its a back and shoulder rub, foot rub, or a gentle hand rub as you drift to sleep, we want to provide an experience that is relaxing and as stress free as possible. The massage lotion we use is hypoallergenic, unscented, paraben free, and contains arnica extract, which is another all-natural pain relief substance. During prenatal meeting, clients are able to read the label of our massage lotion and even test a small sample to be sure there will be no negative reactions. If preferred, we can alternatively use good old fashioned coconut oil, or the lotion or oil of your choice.

Number six is a handy emesis bag. This one I always hope we won’t have to use, but it’s no secret that labor often causes nausea and vomiting. When I arrive at a birth, I generally take the emesis bag from my doula bag and put it right into my pocket. Nobody wants to be sick, but if the urge to vomit comes on quickly, I am ready and prepared to swiftly pull out the bag and hold back your hair or rub your back.

Number seven and eight: ponytail holders and unopened chapstick (not pictured) are a must in every hospital or birth center bag, but if you forget yours, no worries! I always have back ups. These always seem to come in handy at the right moment.

The only other things not pictured in my doula bag photo are my own personal items. I always bring a full change of clothes. You never know when you might get splashed from a birth tub or shower, or even other birth fluids! I bring personal care items like a toothbrush, mouthwash, and deodorant. There’s nothing more distracting than your doula trying to speak encouraging words in your ear, but all you can focus on is her coffee breath. I also bring my phone charger, a protein drink, healthy snacks, and a giant water bottle. I promise to never eat in front of you, but I do want to maintain my own stamina and strength to help support you during labor, no matter the length of time I’m with you.

So what’s missing from the bag? I used to tote around a birth ball, a peanut ball, and a pump to air them up. While I still believe these are extremely useful tools, the majority of hospitals and birth centers in Fort Worth and Dallas keep a full stock of them on hand. Using the balls they provide is a lot easier than traveling everywhere with my own. If you are planning a home birth and won’t have access to a birth ball during labor, I highly recommend purchasing your own. Not only will you most likely get a lot of use out of it during your pregnancy, but your baby will probably love to be gently bounced on it as a newborn as well. The other items I don’t keep in my birth bag that other doulas might are essential oils. I am happy to utilize whatever oils you provide, in whatever way you wish to use them. I think they can benefit birthing people in a lot of ways, but I prefer not to dispense my own. Everyone reacts to oils differently, and because I don’t want to cause any allergic reactions or respiratory issues for my clients, I only use what you provide.

All of these tools can be beneficial during birth, but even without them, having a birth doula by your side can provide an invaluable level support for you and your partner. To set up a free consultation to discuss how we can support you in your desires for childbirth, contact us here.

What’s Up With The Image Descriptions?

If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you may have noticed that we very recently started adding image descriptions in the captions of all of our posts containing photos. You, understandably, may have been wondering why. We have received some questions regarding our choice to incorporate this practice, so here is a simple explanation to clear up the confusion.


Since the founding of Bravo Birth DFW, we have made it our mission to support, without judgement, all varieties of clients in the birth and parenting choices that are right for them. We strive to be inclusive regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and ability. Part of this inclusivity involves making our online content accessible to anyone who wants to access it.

Thanks to the guidance of Inclusive Birthworkers of Tarrant County, we have learned that including descriptions of photos in the captions allows visually impaired social media users to utilize software that reads these captions for them. Without the description, the written caption may not clearly explain what is pictured in the photo. We believe everybody who wants to access these social media platforms should be able to, even the visually based ones such as Instagram, so we are willing to take this simple step to make someone else’s life easier.


According to the Inclusive Birthworkers of Tarrant County Facebook page, this is a collective of various providers who have committed to practicing in an inclusive manner and support and hold each other accountable to this principle. It exists to provide competent, respectful care to all people during their reproductive years, and journeys to parenthood with a special focus on serving populations that are frequently marginalized in birth work, such as people of color, members of the lgbtqia+ community, people with disabilities, and people who may feel unsafe or uncertain seeking care related to pregnancy, conception, postpartum health, and parenting. Count Bravo Birth DFW in!

Because we haven’t always included image descriptions in our social media content, we are making it our goal to go back to our older photos and edit three captions per day to add the description. Do you have a suggestion on other ways for us to be more inclusive to a marginalized or underrepresented community? We want to know. We are always looking for ways to improve our business practices.

Placenta Encapsulation in Dallas-Fort Worth

From the time you contact us, to the time your placenta products are delivered, Bravo Birth DFW strives to create a seamless, first-rate experience for our clients. We understand that you have enough to focus on when it comes your birth, postpartum recovery, and caring for your newborn. Rest assured that our experts have every detail covered. Here’s what you can expect from the process.

Obtaining your Placenta
The process for taking possession of your placenta is very simple. The state of Texas has passed a law that requires your placenta to be released to you upon request, as long as testing of the placenta isn’t necessary. Hospitals, birth centers, and home birth midwives in Dallas and Fort Worth tend to be very compliant and easy to work with when requesting your placenta. Be sure to tell your medical team ahead of time that you plan on encapsulating, so they can save it for you and provide any necessary paperwork for you to sign.

Transporting your Placenta
If you are birthing at home, you may put your placenta in a sealed container or inside two freezer bags and place it directly in your refrigerator. If you are birthing elsewhere, you may bring a small cooler with you to your birthing location. At a hospital, a member of your medical team will generally put your placenta in a plastic container with a lid. If you are using a birth center, you should bring two large freezer bags to double bag the placenta. When you take possession of the placenta, place the container or freezer bags containing the placenta on ice inside your cooler. It can remain on ice for a few hours until someone, usually your partner, a family member, or friend can take it home to be stored in your refrigerator until encapsulation.

We are ready and available to encapsulate between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We pride ourselves on a quick turnaround for your placenta products, so be sure to notify us when you are ready for us to begin. If it will be an extended period of time before you choose to contact your placenta specialist to encapsulate, it may need to be stored in the freezer to preserve its freshness. Detailed storage instructions with appropriate time frames for storing on ice, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer, are provided for clients of Bravo Birth DFW.

Sanitation Procedures
We take our clients health and wellbeing very seriously. For your safety, all placenta services are conveniently performed right in your home. Your placenta never has to leave your possession and it’s not exposed to any pathogens you would not already encounter in your own living space. You never have to worry about your placenta getting confused with anyone else’s and you can oversee the entire process, if you like.

We adhere to the highest standards of practice for blood borne pathogens and food safety, as outlined by OSHA. The work space and all equipment is sanitized before and after each use, first with soap and hot water and next with a bleach solution. Any equipment that can’t be completely sanitized after use is thrown out, in order to prevent cross contamination from other placentas.

After the workspace and equipment are prepped, another step we take to ensure your safety involves steaming the placenta on the stove then later dehydrating thinly sliced pieces of it in a food dehydrator at 160 degrees for several hours. The heating and dehydration processes ensure that all the potential pathogens are killed with the high temperature and by removing all the moisture.

Upon completion, your kitchen will be left even cleaner than we found it.

Other Placenta Products
In addition to placenta capsules, we also offer placenta tinctures. A tincture is created by taking a small piece of your placenta and steeping it in six ounces of high quality, 100 proof vodka for at least six weeks. After this period of time, any remaining placenta pieces that have not dissolved are strained from the liquid, and your tincture is ready for consumption.

The benefits of a tincture are similar to that of capsules, with the added benefit of an extended shelf life. If stored in a cool, dark place, your tincture can be useful during times of need for years to come, including during menstrual cycles, and even menopause. Larger size tinctures are available upon request.

After Encapsulation
When you are presented with your placenta products, you will also receive a keepsake crafted from your baby’s umbilical cord. You will be provided with suggested guidelines for consumption and an open invitation to contact us at any time with questions. We are here to support you and your family as you adjust to life during the postpartum period.

To learn more about the benefits placenta encapsulation or to view pricing, please visit our Placenta Encapsulation service page. To reserve your spot on our calendar for placenta services, contact Bravo Birth DFW today.

Meet the Owner

Hello! I am Alexandra Bravo, owner of Bravo Birth DFW. I am so excited to launch my new website and return to working with families in Dallas and Fort Worth, after enjoying my own maternity leave for the past several months. Here’s a little bit of information about me and my journey to becoming a Birth Doula, Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, and more. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get to know you, as well!

My interest in birth work was sparked in 2008, during my pregnancy with my first daughter. At the time, I had never heard of a doula, but I read and researched everything I could regarding pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and parenting. As I gained knowledge, I naturally became a support person and a source of information for many expectant people in my life.

Around 2012, during my pregnancy with my second daughter, I discovered that supporting people emotionally and sharing knowledge the way I had been for years was an actual career. I hoped that one day I would be able to train as a professional doula, but having a preschooler and an infant at the time, I decided to file that plan away for a future date.

I continued to raise my young children and take college courses over the next couple of years and in 2014 my third child, a baby boy, was born. In my free time, I continued to learn as much as I could regarding birth and postpartum support, and I decided when my son turned a year old, I would feel comfortable completing the necessary work to become a certified birth doula. In 2015 I took a training course, and began serving families professionally in pregnancy and birth as a doula.

In 2016, I trained and added placenta encapsulation to my services. I also began school for massage therapy, with the intention of offering prenatal massage, labor massage, and postpartum massage therapy to my client base. In the spring of 2017, my fourth child was born and I took advantage of my maternity leave to learn kinesiology taping for pregnancy and postpartum, as well as postpartum bengkung belly binding.

Over the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to provide professional doula services for families in DFW in hospital and home births, as well as encapsulate many placentas. I always strive to support my clients in the birth and postpartum experiences that reflect their personal choices. It’s truly an honor to be trusted by my clients during times of transition in their lives.

In the future, I plan to continue to expand my knowledge base and professional services to offer even more comprehensive support for expectant and new families in Dallas and Fort Worth. My goal is to always offer up to date information and unbiased, non-judgmental support to meet the needs of the community.