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Published on March 21, 2014

What Is a Doula?

Asante Ashland Community Hospital Doulas

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Ashland Birth Center
(541) 201-4210

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Redirecting laboring women caught in the tension/pain/fear cycle is the primary focus of a doula. If a mother relaxes and remains calm during labor, her tension diminishes. This lowers the pain associated with labor and ultimately results in less fear. When the mother is as relaxed as possible, the labor progresses more rapidly and less interventions are required. A doula is a woman experienced with birth, who will remain by a laboring woman’s side until after her baby is born. The doula provides physical, informational, and emotional support, such as massage, suggestions for position changes, and compassionate words of encouragement. She also helps guide the new mother through her first breastfeeding experience.

Since 1995 Asante Ashland Birth Center has provided doulas to assist obstetrical nurses and doctors and support Spanish-speaking mothers in childbirth. Doula support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All laboring women can request a doula as soon as they arrive at the hospital, and the service is free of additional charge.

Choosing an unmedicated birth may reduce a mother’s need for other common interventions during labor, such as epidural, narcotics, continuous fetal monitoring, and cesarean section. According to Doulas of North America, doula participation during birth reduces epidural requests by 60 percent, cesarean delivery by 50 percent, the need for oxytocin by 40 percent, forceps delivery by 40 percent, the need for intravenous pain medication by 30 percent, and delivery time by 25 percent. Mothers report greater satisfaction with the labor experience and their partner’s role in the birth as well as increased success with breastfeeding.

Meet Our Doulas

Lucienne Cruz, doula, Asante Ashland Community Hospital

Lucienne Cruz

“I’m the oldest sister of seven siblings in a Brazilian family. Being a doula continues the commitment I had assisting my sisters when they delivered their babies. I feel very comfortable at the childbirth, encouraging women during labor. Being a doula is like a vitamin for life. It reminds me that life is beautiful, and it is wonderful to be here.”

Shauna Farmer, doula, Asante Ashland Community Hospital

Shauna Farmer

“I am a mother of three small children. The power of each one of their unique birth stories is alive within me and propels me to want every birthing woman to have the opportunity for a safe, empowered, and sacred birth story. Working in tandem with you and your wishes and your wisdom is an honor and a privilege I hold close to my heart. I received my doula training in 2000 through ALACE and have been a massage therapist since 1991. I bring many tools to each birth. Yet to help you through your journey of labor and birth I know that you, the birthing woman, hold all the birthing wisdom of your body’s natural ability to give birth. I am here to listen deeply and give guidance and support to you and your growing family.”

Sheryl Grunde, doula, Asante Ashland Community Hospital

Sheryl Grunde

“I am honored to help women through this incredible passage of life. I bring calm presence, loving touch, and the hope that every woman can give birth in the way she wants to.”

Sylvia Kohn, doula, Asante Ashland Community Hospital

Sylvia Kohn

“I deeply trust the strength of your own nature and respect each step of your childbirth. This moment in your life is sacred, and I honor it as such. I bring a calm presence and a comforting touch as I remind you to trust the process again and again. I have been a doula for 16 years and love and enjoy being present in the process.”

Abby Lazerow, doula, Asante Ashland Community Hospital

Abby Lazerow

“As a doula I help the laboring woman feel supported, nurtured, safe, and empowered to give birth the way she chooses. I had a cesarean birth followed by two vaginal births, and having a doula at the birth of my second child gave me and my partner much-needed emotional reassurance and comfort, encouraging me to trust my body’s wisdom and journey into motherhood. It is a deep privilege to now be able to assist and care for birthing families during this transformational and joyous time.”

Kate Parks, doula, Asante Ashland Community Hospital

Kate Parks

“With an open mind, a huge heart, and great attention to detail, being a doula was a natural fit for me. I have always had a very strong desire to help others since I was a young girl. After having an amazing experience with my first daughter’s birth, I was deeply inspired to help women give birth with calmness, confidence, and strength. I firmly believe that every woman deserves a doula during her labor and delivery to guide and support her and her partner no matter what her plan or journey is. I look forward to being part of this beautiful, life-changing experience.”

Andrea Walker, doula, Asante Ashland Community Hospital

Andrea Walker

“I have had a strong desire since I was a child to see babies being born. Since having my own children and becoming a doula, it has been a huge privilege for me to be able to support a woman/couple through the birth of their child. I believe giving birth is one of the most empowering things a woman will do in her life. I will be there to support you in whichever way you choose to welcome your beautiful baby or babies into the world.”

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