Volunteer community doula programs available; experts weigh on the role of a doula in pregnancy childbirth
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - More pregnant women are becoming interested in doulas. This comes with a new bill requiring private health insurance to reimburse doula services up to a certain amount, starting in January.
A doula is somebody who provides emotional and physical support to you before, during, and after your pregnancy and childbirth. They are there to discuss your concerns and answer your questions.
Madeline LeBlanc is the Director and Founder of Mary’s Hands Network and her group is expanding with the help of Baton Rouge General to provide more access to expecting parents through a volunteer community doula program.
Doulas aren’t anything new to BRG and officials hope that as they partner with Mary’s Hands, it will increase access to these services, at no cost to patients.
BRG is the first hospital to work with Mary’s Hands to provide a place to train incoming doulas and host a volunteer doula program. Through this new program, the training is offered at no cost to the doula, and the doula services at no cost to the mom.
“So the need stands in the only horrible maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality rates in my community,” said LeBlanc. “I think what’s really important to note is that a doula is a nonmedical professional. And I think that is something that a lot of people have a lot of trouble kind of grappling with mentally because they think well, then what’s the point of that? One of the things that I tell all of my doulas is that your impact comes from being a warm body in that room, who cares about that mom.”
Tylea Davenport is a mother who’s 32 weeks pregnant and also a volunteer doula. She said that when she found out she was pregnant, she was terrified and wanted to find answers. Davenport signed up for the Mary’s Hands program to learn more about her pregnancy and found out how beneficial it was for mothers.
“Would definitely say it is a great benefit,” said Davenport. “Especially if you don’t know what’s going on don’t know have a clue, as a first-time mother. That you need help. And it’s okay to ask for help.
“We’ve all recognized now that it’s so much more than just a birth,” said Dr. Candace Moore, a Baton Rouge General OB/GYN. “I think there’s obviously that whole journey through pregnancy. And then even more importantly, the journey after pregnancy, just adapting to having a newborn at home, the mental side of all of that process. And so having someone else there who’s maybe been through it, and who also has lots of experience with how to handle those things, is just really, really valuable.”
There is training scheduled to become a trained volunteer doula on Dec. 7, 8, and 9 at Baton Rouge General.
If you’re interested in becoming a professional doula, you can make upwards of $1,200 to $1,500 a birth.
You can learn more about the organization here.
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