Established in 1999, the Cheshire Doula program is comprised of 25 dedicated volunteers who have undergone extensive training and have supported more than 1100 births. The team of women is constantly growing and changing, but common threads remain true - a personal dedication to the birth process and the desire to contribute to a good experience.
During labor, a doula may offer emotional comfort, massage, or practical support such as providing information or supporting family members. After the baby is born, the doula will visit with the mother and her newborn to answer any questions that remain.
A doula does not take the place of your partner or any other family members you wish to have with you when you deliver your baby. Rather she will support the birth partner, if needed, by providing that person with needed breaks or getting beverages and ice or other needed items. A doula does not replace nurses or other health care providers during delivery, either.
Research shows that doula-supported labors tend to be shorter, have fewer complications are require less medical intervention.
A mother can be matched with a doula in advance or at the last minute. If arranged in advance, the doula and mother meet during the last trimester to get to know each other, discuss hopes and concerns, develop a birth plan, and attend childbirth education classes or prenatal appointments, if desired. She is on call 10 days before and 10 days after a mother’s due date.
A mother can also choose to have a doula when she comes in during labor. One of the on-call doulas will be contacted to attend the labor and birth.
There is no fee for doula services at Cheshire Medical Center-Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene.
If you are interested in receiving doula support or becoming a doula, please contact the Doula Program office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603-354-5454 x2270.