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Mothers-to-be turn to 'doulas' in midwife shortage | Life and style | The Observer

Posted Oct 04 2009 12:00am

 Denis Campbell

…Research has shown that the presence of a doula can help to shorten a woman's labour, reduce the amount of pain relief she is given, make a caesarean section less likely and give fathers more confidence in supporting the mother. Most women say they find their doula a soothing, beneficial presence during what can be a traumatic experience.

Midwives are divided as to whether doulas threaten or complement their key role. "My concern is that women are perhaps using doulas because the maternity services are struggling to provide one-to-one care and that midwives, who are not just trained clinical experts but are also skilled in emotional support, are currently finding it hard to provide continuity of care," said Mervi Jokinen of the Royal College of Midwives. "It is also sad that some women may feel anxious that their concerns will not be heard by health professionals and therefore look to an external advocate such as a doula."

The Department of Health has given £270,000 to help establish volunteer doula services around England.

Mothers-to-be turn to 'doulas' in midwife shortage | Life and style | The Observer

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