Doctor slams unregulated doulas

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A hospital doctor has criticised the growing trend among pregnant women to hire birth partners to help them when they go into labour.

... doulas could compromise patient care.

... Dr Chakladar, said doulas, who act as pregnancy and birth partners, are unregulated and should not be involved in medical decisions.

... "This trend may be a sad reflection of failures in the delivery of medical and midwifery care, a sticking plaster concealing greater problems.

Dr Chakladar, said a doula had compromised the care he offered one patient.

He gave the patient a top-up of epidural pain relief during labour after she complained of discomfort and said she should lie on her side.

The doula interjected to say that the mother was comfortable as she was and the patient ended up staying as she was.

Dr Chakladar said he should have spoken directly to the mother and not the doula.

He said he was "disappointed by the real or perceived need for doulas", saying it was the duty of doctors ... and midwives to support mothers and families ...

... people feared the unknown and this, coupled with the time-pressured environment on hospital wards, "takes control away from the individual".

Dr Chakladar said staff shortages and shift changes often made continuity of care impossible which was why some women may opt to have a doula so there was someone there throughout.

Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: "There is no doubt that some doulas are performing a role that should be done by midwives."

"... women are ... 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 challenging to provide continuity of care."

... "Doulas are neither employed to provide clients with clinical care, nor to overstep the boundaries of their role, providing purely lay emotional and practical support."

Doulas are not ... medically qualified but have been growing in popularity ...

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448