<== Site of the Week for 2008-02-20 ==>
Utah Doula Association
Today's site of the day is The Utah Doula Association.
Doulas are part of an interesting new movement in health care. Doulas create a support network for women going through the process of childbirth. The site www.DONA.org (Doulas of North America) does an excellent job describing the activities of a doula.
A doula is a woman who provides emotional, physical and educational support during childbearing years. This is a non-medical position. The doula will help the mother through childbirthing classes and will be at the birth to provide additional emotional support to the mother. Doula certification appears to be divided into birth doulas and postpartum doulas (postpartum doulas provide support after the birth).
A doula should not be confused with a midwife or doctor who take an active role in the birth. The various professional web sites I've read on the doula seem to emphasize that a doula has no business dishing out medical advice. This is an informative quote from the Birth Doula Position Report:
...Most importantly, doulas do not make decisions for their clients; they do not project their own values and goals on to the laboring women
The temptation to promote one's own values is always the most difficult challenge of any supporting role. The supporting role is supposed to support the decisions made by the leading players in a decision. The leading players in the birthing process are the mother, child, father and doctor. If it is a healthy birth, the mother might choose a midwife. The doula is simply there to support the decisions of others.
The people who become doulas are generally laywomen who are fascinated by the process of birth and have a passionate desire to serve others. It looks like this would be a good occupation for work at home moms.
Overall, the doula industry looks like it is filling an important role in the birthing process. DONA.org is one of the best sites for learning about doulas and the process of becoming a doula. The Utah Doulas site is a good place to find a local doula. I will lists web sites for Salt Lake doulas in the Parenting Directory.