Doulas: holding hands or stepping on toes?

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Increasing numbers of pregnant women are hiring doulas - paid birthing assistants who can hold a hand and mop a brow during labour. Are they an important addition or another must-have accessory in the lucrative business of pregnancy and birth?

... But one doctor would like to see more debate about the role of these women, who have no medical training and whose work is at present unregulated by an outside body.

... anaesthetist Dr Abhijoy Chakladar says doulas are taking over roles that midwives should be performing and may even be compromising care by disrupting the relationship between the medical team and mother and affecting clinical decisions.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448