Why train Childbirth Educators and Doulas?

Photo: Paolo Patruno

DHI trained Childbirth Educators and Doulas are passionate about caring for women and children and impacting their community with the love of Jesus.  These birth workers treat women with respect, compassion, and love, something often all to rare to underrepresented women in our world.  DHI  equips CBEs and Doulas to improve maternal and newborn health by visiting pregnant and postpartum women in their homes, assessing their needs, identifying danger signs, and providing care until medical help can be reached.  When culturally appropriate, Doulas also accompany women to clinic appointments and offer continuous emotional and physical support during labor and delivery, both advocating for the mother’s needs and offering help and advice on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement, and positioning.

Why Childbirth Educators (CBE)?

Research shows that basic reproductive health and childbirth education saves lives!

Our DHI trained Childbirth Educators teach CBE classes to women and communities on topics including but not limited to: Sanitation, Abortion, Nutrition, Family Planning, Signs of Pregnancy, Fetal Development, Signs of Labor, Developing a Birth Plan and Medical Savings Account, Danger Signs, Breastfeeding, HIV, Postpartum and Newborn Care.  Through education, CBEs empower their communities to bring lasting change in improving maternal, newborn, and child health and promoting family preservation and the prevention of orphans.

Why Doulas?

According to the DONA International Position Paper…

Doulas provide continuous physical and emotional support and assistance in gathering information for women and their partners during labor and birth. The doula offers help and advice on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning, and comforts the woman with touch, hot or cold packs, beverages, warm baths and showers, and other comforting gestures. She also assists the woman and her partner to become informed about the course of their labor and their options. Perhaps the most crucial role of the doula is providing continuous emotional reassurance and comfort for the entire labor. Doulas are well-versed in nonmedical skills and do not perform clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams or fetal heart rate or blood pressure monitoring. Doulas do not diagnose medical conditions, offer second opinions or give medical advice.

According to DONA International’s Position Paper that sites a 2011 study that included 15,000 birthing women, doula-supported women were:

  • 28% less likely to have a cesarean section
  • 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labor
  • 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively
  • Furthermore, the outcomes were most improved by doulas in settings where
    • Women were not allowed to have a loved one present
    • Pain medication was not routine
    • Women were allowed to move and change position because intermittent fetal monitoring was utilized (rather than women having to remain in bed due to continual fetal monitoring)[1]