July 18, 2013

Creating a Positive Birth Experience – Doula Training at Lund

Posted in Employees, Kids-A-Part, Residential tagged , , , , , , at 6:23 pm by Lund

“The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth’ – http://www.dona.org/mothers ; retrieved July 17th 2013

Jessilyn Dolan, Nurse Coordinator at Lund’s Glen Road Residential Treatment Facility has been a doula for 12 years and is passionate about the helping women to have a positive birth experience.  “I strongly feel that birth is one of the most transformative times in a woman’s life.  I believe birth can either be empowering and wondrous or fearful and traumatizing depending on the support that they get.”

Having a doula present during birth helps in many ways.  Current statistical research has proven that doula labor support results in:

  • 50% fewer Cesarean Sections
  • 25% shorter labors
  • 40% less use of pitocin
  • 30% less use of narcotics
  • 30% less use of forceps
  • 60% fewer requests for epidurals
  • Improved breastfeeding and bonding
  • Increased satisfaction with the birth process

Jessilyn recently ran a workshop for Lund employees to learn how to be a positive and helpful influence to their clients during labor.  She feels that the presence of a doula is particularly important for women who come to Lund, and especially for those who give birth while incarcerated.  “There is obviously a lack of support in these woman’s lives, a history of trauma and psychosocial dilemma, and also sometimes a stigma around their incarceration.”

Jo Berger of Kids-A-Part, a program to help incarcerated women stay connected to their children during their time in prison, attended the workshop and was excited to learn what an important role she could play during labor. “It is an unfortunate reality that there are pregnant women in prison who deliver their babies during their incarceration.  My role with the Kids-A-Part program gives me the opportunity to be present in the hospital room to support incarcerated women during their labor and delivery. At the training I learned all about the birthing experience, labor positions, and support techniques, and am better prepared to help women create as positive an experience as possible.”

Sabrina Sydnor, a residential counselor at Lund, also attended the training and put what she learned into practice very soon afterwards.  “I was just the lead doula at my first birth on the 4th of July.  Supervised for a short time by Jessilyn, I helped a mama have a successful vaginal birth after 25 hrs of labor! This client who had previously had a C-Section was very excited to have a more positive birth experience.”

Image courtesy of papaija2008/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of papaija2008/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sabrina could immediately see the benefits that the training had for this particular client and how it provided another opportunity for her to carry out Lund’s mission to help women and children thrive.  “It has made me feel like I am an integral part in these women creating a new life for themselves and baby. Many of these women, including this client, were under the influence during previous pregnancies and births. They did not have the supports they needed at the hospital and often felt powerless in their pregnancy and birthing process.  Our women experience so much complex trauma, it is imperative that we help them end the culture of not receiving the education and supports they need around successful parenting. As an employee, we work so hard to be constant and unbiased support for these women and what better way to perpetuate that trust than to support them through labor and be their right hand woman in the process?”

Sabrina really sees Lund employees receiving doula training as a very important step for the organization. “I am enthusiastic about the possibilities that this training and other initiatives have to open up Lund as not somewhere where people come to ‘have their babies when they have nowhere else to go’ but rather, where mothers come to change their history, to have healthy children, to become the mothers they so desperately want to be from the first moments of their child’s life. “

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