What's A Birth Doula Anyway?
A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.
What effects does the presence of a doula have on birth outcomes?
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
- Tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
- Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experiences
- Reduces the need for Pitocin, forceps, or vacuum extraction
- Reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans
What effects does the presence of a doula have on the mother?
When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression.
What effects do the presence of doulas have on babies?
Studies have shown that babies born with doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.
Does a doula replace nursing staff?
No. Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
Does a doula make decisions on my behalf?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.
Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.
What is the Scope of Practice of a Certified Lactation Counselor?
CLCs have successfully completed a 45-hour training based upon the footprint of the World Health Organization/UNICEF Breastfeeding Counseling Training Course, have successfully passed a criterion-referenced examination, and demonstrated the competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence based counseling for pregnant, lactating and breastfeeding women including the:
- Ability to recognize one’s own and others attitudes, values and expectations about infant feeding and healthy lifestyles;
- Ability to apply the concept of an individualized approach to counseling and management of breastfeeding;
- Ability to use appropriate, effective and sensitive communication skills;
- Ability to identify opportunities to offer information/education within the counseling encounter;
- Ability to assess physical and psychosocial aspects of the breastfeeding dad;
- Ability to utilize reliable tools to assess affective/ineffective breastfeeding and milk transfer.
- Ability to incorporate evidence based approaches to practice and make appropriate referrals.
- Knowledge of programs, policies and legislation on state, national and international levels that promote, protect and support breastfeeding.
What is the knowledge and competency of a Certified Lactation Counselor?
The credentialed CLC has demonstrated the knowledge and skill to:
- Construct and maintain conditions that predispose mothers and babies to an uncomplicated breastfeeding experience through counseling, education and support.
- Monitor and evaluate behavioral, cultural and social conditions predisposing mothers and babies to an uncomplicated breastfeeding experience.
- Assess for, monitor and evaluate physical conditions that predispose mothers and babies to a complex breastfeeding experience.
- Monitor and evaluate behavioral, cultural and social conditions that predispose mothers and babies to complex breastfeeding experiences.
- Identify and advocate for aspects of breastfeeding management programs that facilitate optimal health outcomes.
- Assess breastfeeding using a multi-faceted approach.
- Use counseling skills and techniques that are supportive to breastfeeding mothers and babies.
- Identify and advocate for public health strategies that serve to protect breastfeeding.
- Coordinate care consistent with standards of professional ethics and behavior.