Chatham Hospital Doula Achieves National Certification as Birth Coach
Aydee Dominguez Vernaza Recognized by DONA International
For Immediate Release: Monday, April 3, 2006
SILER CITY, N.C. — Chatham Hospital today announced that Aydee Dominguez Vernaza, a member of the hospital’s doula program, has received national certification as a birth coach.
The certification was awarded by Doulas International, an organization promoting the use of “doulas” or birth assistants to help a woman and her family through labor and delivery. Studies show that doulas greatly improve birth outcomes—providing reassurance and psychological benefits to mothers, shortening labor and decreasing the number of cesareans. In addition, mothers supported by doulas are more likely to interact closely with their infants and are less likely to have postpartum depression.
To achieve certification, Dominguez completed a comprehensive training program that included classroom work, out-of-class reading and study, and real-world experience supporting mothers during delivery. Her work has been evaluated by hospital doctors and nurses, by her trainer and by the mothers and families she has supported.
Dominguez has been a member of the Chatham Hospital doula program for five years and is one of a team of volunteers providing birth assistance to local families. Most are bilingual, helping Hispanic mothers to break through the language barrier that can intimidate those seeking healthcare.
Dominguez first became interested in helping birth mothers while assisting her grandmother, a midwife in her native Colombia, and pursued that interest after she immigrated to the U.S.
“There are so many women in our local community who are alone and don’t have family members close by,” Dominguez said. “That isolation can lead to depression, so it really helps to have someone with them during the birth process.”
Dominguez has supported eight birth mothers since joining the doula program, and she said each time she has found the process “amazing and marvelous.” By achieving certification, she has received professional validation that she has the skills needed to ensure the best possible outcome for new mothers and their babies.
“To be certified is a huge accomplishment for me personally and something that I’ve wanted and strived for,” she said.
In addition to her doula work, Dominguez has been involved in community outreach programs on a variety of healthcare topics – from childhood health and cancer prevention to diabetes self-management skills.
Dominguez is employed by Marsh Furniture. She has three children of her own, including a 21-year-old boy and girls who are 22 and 18. The youngest has been influenced by her mother’s doula work and is now a nursing student in Colombia.