Lexington Medical Center is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first-of-its-kind doula program. A doula is a birth coach who offers mothers comfort and reassurance during labor and delivery. In 1994, the hospital began an innovative doula program that was the first-of-its-kind in the Southeast. The program has received national recognition and serves as a benchmark for programs around the country. Thanks to support from the Lexington Medical Center Foundation and its donors, doulas are a free service for any woman having a baby at Lexington Medical Center.
“Lexington Medical Center’s doulas have been invaluable to the women of the Midlands,” said Nydia Harter, MSN, RN, NEA, BC, director of Nursing at Lexington Medical Center. “Over the past 20 years, they have supported thousands of women and families during one of the most important times of their lives – the birth of their babies.”
Doulas are experienced professionals who undergo training specific to assisting pregnant women and newborns. In addition to understanding the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of women in labor, doulas also facilitate communication between parents-to-be, help prepare birth plans and provide information about birth and delivery options. Postpartum doulas offer education, support and assistance to the new family. A doula brings much-needed confidence to a new mother through breastfeeding support and advice, newborn care and assistance with household duties.
The Lexington Medical Center Foundation sponsors the hospital’s doula program. LMC’s doula program is based on the highest standards of care set by Doulas of North America (DONA), the largest doula association in the world.
Lexington Medical Center’s innovative doula program has earned the prestigious Annie Kennedy Award from DONA. The award recognizes LMC doulas for excellence and dedication to their community as well as growth and teamwork in their program.
Lexington Medical Center has 16 doulas on staff and almost half of the doulas have been with LMC for ten years or more. Since the LMC doula program began, it has assisted more than 8,400 families.
Lexington Medical Center will recognize Lexington Medical Center’s past and present doulas at a special reception on July 29th on the hospital campus. Former doulas can contact the Lexington Medical Center Foundation at 791-2540 for more information on the event.
To learn more about LMC’s doula program, visit this link on the hospital’s website:
http://www.lexmed.com/medical-services/birth-center/delivery/doulas, or Lexington Medical Center’s Facebook page.
For information on training to become a doula, visit www.dona.org