Six Local Women Complete Training as Chatham Hospital Volunteer Birth Coaches
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 30, 2006
SILER CITY, N.C. — Chatham Hospital today announced that six local women have successfully completed training to become doulas – volunteer birth coaches who assist expectant mothers before, during and after their pregnancy.
Numerous studies have shown that doulas greatly improve obstetrical outcomes. They provide reassurance and psychological benefits to mothers – shortening labor and dramatically 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.
The Chatham Hospital Comadres Doula program is sponsored by the hospital’s Hispanic Health Initiative to give support to pregnant Latinas who are often alone, separated from family and unfamiliar with the U.S. healthcare system.
The six new participants in the program completed 30 hours of intensive training led by Asela Calhoun, an approved trainer for DONA International, who lives and works in Los Angeles, Calif. The sessions were sponsored by the N.C. Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities – part of a grant to Chatham Hospital for a Community-Focused Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative.
The Chatham Hospital Comadres Doula program is unique in that it is one of the few organizations of its type in the nation to offer training entirely in Spanish.
“Volunteer doulas make a significant investment of their personal time – both to complete training and to support new mothers,” Calhoun said. “They work with each mother to develop a birth plan, stay with her continually through the delivery, and follow up afterwards to check on her during the postpartum period.”
The six new members of the Chatham Hospital doula program completing their training include: Marcia Espínola, Maria Liliana García, Zuley Haití, Marina Juárez, Claudia Moná and Noemí Plata. Each has agreed to support at least three pregnant women in 2006 and three more in 2007.
All six intend to pursue International certification, which involves classroom work, out-of-class reading and study, and real-world experience supporting mothers during delivery. Their work will be evaluated by hospital doctors and nurses, by their trainer and by the mothers and families they have supported, as well as the certifying organization DONA International.
For more information on the Chatham Hospital Comadres Doula Program, call 919-663-2005.