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What is a doula?
A doula is a specially trained labor assistant who provides continuous, uninterrupted care for you and your partner while you are in labor, A doula will help you by offering physical support, emotional support and information about the birth process, technology and alternatives.
What can a doula do?
A doula will help provide practical suggestions for working through the pain of contractions and help you to relax by using touch, massage, emotional support, encourage variations in positions and use other labor support techniques to help you through your labor.
What are the benefits to having a doula?
Studies have shown that the use of a doula can result in shorter labors, increased comfort, fewer episiotomies, fewer cesarean sections and greater satisfaction with your birthing experience.
Heywood Hospital Doula Program Doula
Heywood Hospital supports a volunteer Doula program that provides a Doula in the Labor & Delivery setting to women. The primary goal of our Doulas is to provide support and assistance to women in labor and their significant others in an effort to help the patient manage the discomforts of labor.
The Doulas also provide prenatal education at the "Meet the Doula” night. Accomplishing these goals is done by offering Doula training to appropriate candidates at a reduced cost ($350) and in turn, such candidates will volunteer their availability to our patients for two shifts per month for a period of one year. At the end of the one year commitment, the volunteer Doula can continue to provide volunteer hours for a minimum of one eight hour shift per month or absolve oneself of any further commitment to the program.
If the Doula has met all of the requirements throughout the year, (i.e. two shifts per month of volunteering for one year and obtained certification through Birth Arts International), the candidate will be eligible to receive total reimbursement of $350, the original fee paid.
Attendance at the monthly “Meet the Doula" night is strongly encouraged.
To be eligible to become a volunteer Doula, candidates must first meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Interview with the Director of Maternal/Child Services and/or the Practice Leader and/or other staff.
- Provide two letters of recommendation.
- Complete a CORI check.
- Demonstrate availability and willingness to commit 16 hours per month of volunteering for a period of one year.
- Weekend/Holiday/Off-shift availability.
- Phone & internet access.
- Complete a two day approved Doula training, hospital-wide orientation and unit specific orientation.
- Documentation of immunization status, TB testing & other health information as required by Employee Health.
Doula Requirements for First Year
Volunteer for 16 hours per month
It is the goal and expectation that candidates within the program will work toward certification within the first year.
Certification requires the following:
- Complete required reading (seven books minimum).
- Attend a Childbirth Ed series (two evenings or one full Saturday).
- Attend one "Meet the Doula" night throughout the year. Attend a minimum of six births.
- Complete online course work requirements through Birth Arts International.
- Complete and pass written test for certification.
Doula Requirements Following the First Year
- Volunteer a minimum of one 8-hour shift per month.
- Attend a"Meet the Doula" night throughout the year, which is strongly encouraged.
The Role of the Doula
- The Doula is someone who has met the requirements for eligibility and has been chosen to be part of Heywood Hospital’s Volunteer Doula Program.
- The purpose of the Doula is to assist the laboring woman and her family throughout the birth process.
- The Doula will adhere to the hospital/department dress code.
- The Doula will adhere to safety and confidentiality policies, procedures and standards, etc. These will be covered in the orientation process.
- The Doula will provide required documentation of immunization status, TB test results and other health information prior to coaching in the Labor & Delivery area.
- The Doula will maintain documentation of formal training, volunteer hours and birth attendance.
- The Doula will agree to commit 16 hours per month of which these hours may be "on call" if no one is in labor. The Doula may be called in at any time during the "on call" period and therefore must be available during the entire "on call" shift. In the event that the Doula is not able to work the scheduled shift due to illness, he/she must call the L&D unit at least two hours in advance. If a Doula is in need of a day off that he/she has been scheduled for, it is the responsibility of the Doula to arrange notify the L&D unit.
- In the event of a long labor that continues beyond the Doula's scheduled shift, the Doula may elect to stay with the family or call the next scheduled Doula to come in for the shift.
- The Doula will call Labor & Delivery prior to the beginning of the shift to indicate his/her availability and the best number to call if needed.
- The Doula is responsible for arriving to the hospital within an hour of being called to assist with the patient.
- Doulas will provide physical and emotional support and will not provide medical information or advice to the client or family, but may encourage the client or family to request information or clarification from the L&D staff.
- The Doula will abide by all medical decisions and policies.