The benefit of offering doula support for expectant mothers who plan on giving birth at Rooks County Health Center (RCH) now expands to include monthly “Meet the Doula” events held 9 a.m to 1 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month to aid in education about the service for expecting families. Meet the Doula requires no appointment, is open to the public and is held at Rooks County Health Center, 1210 N. Washington Street.
RCH began offering Doula services as a courtesy to expectant mothers in 2015 but with the limitation of one doula on staff, the service has been limited to four births per month requiring parents to be proactive in scheduling a Doula for their birth plans. Recently, Kylie Jo Smith, CD (DONA) replaced Avry St. Peter as RCH’s Doula while St. Peter leaves on a mission to Haiti to help expectant mothers there. RCH has plans in progress to add more Doula providers in the future in hopes of providing the service to more than four families a month.
“No worry, no fear is the message I want mothers to hear,” stated Smith. “We trust the mothers to make informed decisions about their bodies and their birth experience. I’m a big believer in including the active participation of the mother’s partner in the experience.”
Doulas act as an advocate for the mother’s needs and wishes for her birthing experience, recognizing the importance of the mother’s emotional support during labor, birth and postpartum. RCH’s Doula meets with the mother and her partner prior to the birth to create a birth plan and discuss any preferences, concerns or needs. RCH’s Doula begins work with the mother at her home for pre-labor planning and then is there for the entirety of the labor and delivery in one of RCH’s Labor and Delivery suites. A Doula’s role does not replace that of medical staff. RCH’s Doula cares for the mother and enhances the communication and understanding between the mother and medical staff, who can remain focused on a safe delivery of the baby while assessing the medical condition of the mother. The Doula certification process is conducted by DONA International, which is recognized as a leader in evidence-based doula training, certification and continuing education.
Through Meet the Doula, Smith’s goal is to, “Educate women using evidence-based research and encourage them so that they can have a satisfying labor, birth and postpartum experience, all while seeking to empower them to make informed decisions for the well-being of themselves, their families and our community. I truly believe that the most positive birth experience possible for mother and baby affects not just the family, but also the entire community.”
RCH’s Doula service will be further enhanced when Elizabeth Hyde, currently a certified nurse’s aide at RCH, receives her DONA certification and joins Smith as part of RCH’s Doula team. For more information on RCH’s Doula services or RCH’s Labor & Delivery services, contact Nancy Sterling at 785-688-4482.