Doulas welcome in Utah hospitals

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A hospital in Alabama is making waves after banning doulas and other birthing support staff from their delivery rooms—but doulas here in Utah are finding hospital staff receptive to the uptick in their numbers.

Doula and maternal massage therapist Angelena Forsgren explained that she’s found hospital providers have varying levels of comfort with doulas in the delivery room, “I’ve had nurses say to me that they prefer fewer people in the room and hate when doulas are there, and I’ve had doctors and nurses say we love doulas, we’re so happy you’re here.”

Doulas are not medically trained or certified and never replace a doctor or midwife in the room.

Forsgren said, “What we do is make sure that you have physical support, informational support, and emotional support.”

Doulas are most often associated with home births, but even in a hospital setting, data shows that when mothers enlist a doula there is a 25% decrease in c-sections, a 10% decrease in the number of women who utilize pain medication, and a40% decrease in the number of mothers who use Pitocin, the drug that speeds up labor but has serious side-effects.

Intermountain Medical Center says that they welcome doulas and working with the mother to craft her birth plan. The University of Utah Hospital actually has a volunteer doula program where individuals can train and earn certifications.

Forsgren says ultimately a doula’s goal is to make birth a positive, empowering experience wherever the couple decides to have their baby.

“Even if they have a planned cesarian, maybe there are ways they want to be treated, they may want to make sure there’s skin to skin with the spouse right away, or there’s someone is with mom as she gets stitched up. It’s important that the doctors and nurses are remembering who they’re working for and that ultimately it’s the patient who gets to decide how they’re treated, how things are taken care of, and what happens to their baby.”

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