Community members are being trained as doulas.
A doula, also known as a birth companion and post-birth supporter, is a non-medical person who assists a woman before, during, and after childbirth, as well as her partner and family, by providing physical assistance and emotional support.
Evidence suggests that doulas improve birth outcomes.
A meta-analysis from The Cochrane Collaboration 2010 reported women with continuous labour support from a doula were:
- 28% less likely to have a Caesarean section
- 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labour
- 9% less likely to use any pain medication
- 34%less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively
- Experienced a decrease in the length of labor by 25%
- Experienced a decrease in the use of epidurals by 60%
- Experienced a decrease in the use of forceps by 57%
- Better 5-minute Apgars for babies
The improved birth outcomes have valuable implications in terms of cost benefits to the MOUs (Maternity Obstetric Units) and hospitals.
The Compassionate Birth Project is currently running a year-long doula training programme for sex-workers and their colleagues from SWEAT (Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce).Sex workers are often mistreated in labour and are mistrustful of hospitals and institutions in general. Doulas can assist them to feel safe whilst in labour and can encourage them to give birth in maternity facilities rather than on the streets.
We are in the process of establishing doula trainings in Redhill, Masiphumelele and Vrygrond.
Read the CBP/SWEAT doula collaboration/training 2015-2016 report here:
The Compassionate Birth Project has conducted a week-long doula training in Swaziland in November 2016 at The RFM Hospital in Manzini – the first ever doulas to be trained in this country. Read the report here: