Doulas could ‘do more harm than good’ in labour

Doctor criticises paid birth assistants

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Paid birth assistants, known as ‘doulas,’ jeopardise the care of women in labour, doctor Abhijoy Chaklader, an anaesthetist working at Worthing Hospital, has suggested.

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This is because some doulas have no medical training and aren’t regulated by an outside body.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr Chaklader said 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 mum-to-be, which can affect clinical decisions.

There are currently 1000 doulas practicing in the UK, and the cost of hiring one for pre- and postnatal support, and during labour, can range from £400 to £900.

Describing one incident where the mum he was with during labour took her doula’s advice over his, Doctor Chaklader concluded, “A cynic might ask whether the doula business is actually necessary or whether it is exploiting, for profit, unspoken fears about NHS perinatal care and the seemingly limitless market for birth related products and services.”

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Did you swear by a doula for your labour, or do you think Dr Chaklader has a point? Share your thoughts below…

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