THE ROLE OF A DOULA IN A HEALTH PROMOTION CONTEXT
Christa Buckland's poster presentation from the 11th International Labour and Birth Conference 2016 (Click for full version of poster)
Last week Christa presented a beautiful poster about the role of a doula to a crowd of around 500 birth professionals, most of whom were midwives. Like a boss.
Doulas know how important their role is. Their clients know how important the Doula is. Yet somehow, many midwives and doctors have become cautious in recommending or even accepting doulas into their practise.
"I wanted to help midwives and medical care providers understand that our role as Doulas is not treading on their toes and that we really do make a difference with the support we provide. Additionally, we are peers with the women we serve so we are not a threat to care providers in any way."- Christa Buckland
What's the deal with that?
Christa speculates that some of the problems arise from confusion over what a doula actually does and whether or not it's helpful. I would go further to suggest that often the focus of a doula's role is shifted onto what they do not do, rather than the amazing things they do.
Doulas viewed in a Health Promotion context.
She describes doulas as a grassroots health promotion strategy born from community need. The women who have chosen to become doulas have seen the need, created and filled the role to serve pregnant women.
"In a health promotion context, this comes under the banner of "community action and participation" so in this sense we are utilising a very effective strategy to improve health outcomes for women, babies and families." -Christa Buckland
|See that tail coming out of the sperm??? I know you do. |
That's the doulas!!
Doulas as Community Action:
"This closely resembles a peer support or community-based model (HealthConnect One, 2014). This perspective may help to diffuse the tension between care providers and doulas, as it views doulas as part of the community, rather than part of the 'medical team'." - Christa Buckland
|See that lady wearing a cape there? ^ She's a Doula!|
She is an allied health professional and community member.
Alrightio, so how can a doula help?
With fractionated and unpersonalised maternity systems often the doula provides the only continuity of care received by childbearing women.
Which leads to the amazing conclusion that...
Doulas are amaaaazing!!
"Doulas are not 'intruders' in the birth room. Rather, they represent an excellent example of community action and empowerment." - Christa Buckland
Christa is a passionate doula, childbirth educator and health promotion graduate. She has a Bachelor of Health Science (Health Promotion) from Western Sydney University and is now embarking on postgraduate research studies. Christa is the President and Co-Founder of Doula Network Australia Inc
Find out more: www.naturalbirthconnection.com
Brochure accompanying poster presentation: