Doula. Unless you have used one or worked as or with one, it may be a word you recognize, but can’t necessarily define. Broadly speaking, doulas are people who provide non-medical emotional + physical support to pregnant folks before + during childbirth. Commonly confused for and associated with midwifery, doulas can help anywhere babies are born, including hospitals, birthing centers, and homes.
There are a few types of doulas (e.g., birth, postpartum + antepartum, and death), today, I want to discuss the most commonly known kind: birth doulas. Interest in + use of doulas has been steadily rising for a while, and some states are even working to incorporate doula services into their maternity care. The pandemic has boosted enthusiasm for alternative birth options while also affecting both pregnancy and the birthing process through visitor restrictions, a rise in telehealth, and more.
With concerns over the spread of COVID-19, doula’s services have become even more crucial. While many hospitals across the country are limiting visitors to just the person expecting and their partner, doulas are currently allowed to attend births at Mission. Other doulas have have moved to supporting births virtually.
Doulas can be an important component of a positive + healthy birth experience. DYK moms + babies are statistically more likely to have better health outcomes with the assistance of doulas? The use of doulas is associated with a reduced rate of C-sections and low Apgar scores (used to assess a newborn’s health directly after birth). The benefits are particularly significant for low-income women, women of color, and those with cultural or language barriers — i.e., women who suffer higher maternal mortality rates and worse birth outcomes.
The good news for locals in the family way? There are numerous options for doula support in + around Asheville. These include:
👶 Appalachian Doulas (234 Monte Vista Rd.)
👶 Birth Bees Doula Collective (19 Zillicoa St.)
👶 Doulas of Asheville (225 E. Chestnut St.)
👶 Homegrown Families: Childbirth Education & Doula Services (201 Charlotte St.)
👶 Kooshlie Care Doula Services (59 Green Valley Rd.)
👶 Sistas Caring 4 Sistas Doula Services (121 Hendersonville Rd.)
👶 The Mothership: Asheville Doula and Birth Services (227A Haywood Rd.)
Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments below. 👇