There are some in the medical profession who feel doulas should not be a part of the birthing process. In fact, opposition has been so strong, Gov. Phil Murphy felt obligated to sign a doula bill that would ensure access.
Dr. Jason Kanos, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Holy Name Medical Center, was glad he did.
Kanos has long been supportive of doulas — professionals who are specifically trained in labor and childbirth support and work alongside doctors and nurses to help ensure the emotional and physical needs of the mother are being met.
Kanos emphasized Holy Name’s dedication to fostering a collaborative environment between health care professionals and doulas.
“We recognize the invaluable role doulas play during childbirth, and we are committed to creating an environment that prioritizes the physical and emotional needs of our patients, promoting a sense of empowerment and confidence during their stay at the ‘BirthPlace,’” he said.
Kanos said Holy Name is proud to be at the forefront of this groundbreaking initiative, actively championing the integration and support of doulas within hospital settings.
Kanos said the medical center’s new doula policy is a reflection of the commitment to provide comprehensive care by supporting one doula at a time, per patient, before, during and after birth. Notably, this includes allowing the doula to be present in the operating room during a necessary C-section.
Kanos said doulas play a crucial role during pregnancy and childbirth, offering additional information, education and a range of support services to patients.
From emotional, physical and spiritual support, doulas are skilled in providing comfort measures, including massage, breathing techniques and positioning suggestions. These techniques contribute to pain management, making the labor process more comfortable. Studies also have shown that the continuous presence of a doula may reduce birth complications and lower C-section rates.
Holy Name’s support of new mothers goes even deeper.
As part of its ongoing commitment to safe, high-quality maternal care, Holy Name recently renovated its BirthPlace to better accommodate new families. These renovations include updating all rooms to private suites, onboarding laborists, expanding educational offerings for baby’s milestone moments and access to support services for breastfeeding, birth plans and more. Additionally, new parents are provided with a celebratory meal.
Holy Name CEO Mike Maron said the hospital’s commitment to expectant mothers fits into Holy Name’s overall mission of providing world-class care through a unique combination of medical expertise, innovative technology and humanity at the heart of every interaction.
“Since our founding in 1925, our faith-based mission has remained steadfast — to help our community and each person we serve achieve the highest level of health through prevention, education and treatment,” he said.
And, if that includes another person at the time of delivery, that’s just fine with Holy Name.
Dr. Kaitlan Baston, the state’s acting commissioner of health, couldn’t agree more.
“Doulas play an essential role in a birthing person’s care team, providing support that has been demonstrated to reduce maternal mortality disparities,” she said.
“Through the Doula Learning Collaborative, we are working to train and increase the workforce of community doulas and community health workers to support families throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I am excited that birthing people will have increasing access to doulas in hospital settings as a result of this legislation.”
Reach Holy Name at: holyname.org or call 201-833-3000.