Bringing a child into the world is one of the most joyous occasions a woman will experience. But it can be an anxious time as well.
That’s why Lexington Medical Center offers a free Doula program to help expectant mothers and families through one of life’s most meaningful events.
Recently, Stephanie Hodnette of Lexington delivered her third child at Lexington Medical Center. This was also the third time she had help from a hospital doula.
“I was actually able to deliver all of my children without medication because of the tremendous support from each of my doulas,” said Stephanie.
The mother to three young boys, Stephanie is a patient of Lexington Women’s Care, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. And from her very first prenatal appointment for her first son, she knew she wanted to attempt a non-medicated birth.
“If not for the doula’s coaching and help with pain management, I wouldn’t have been able to deliver my children without medication. Their guidance and emotional support helped my husband and me – especially the first time,” she said.
Doulas are trained to work with a woman’s physician or midwife and her nurse to provide emotional encouragement and physical comfort measures during and after childbirth. They will also visit the new mother the next day, offering additional support, breastfeeding assistance and helpful information. All women, even those who have a medicated birth, can benefit from using a doula.
“With Stephanie, her husband and I took turns fanning her to help keep her cool. And as her breathing pattern changed, I alerted the nurse to her behavior, allowing her to transition into the pushing phase of delivery,” said Irene Brinkmann, a Lexington Medical Center doula. “Even though Stephanie and her husband are experienced parents, using a doula gave them a sense of peace. They knew that they had help,” said Irene.
Importantly, doulas do not take the place of family members during delivery.
“Our doula offered encouragement to my husband, too. She suggested things he could do for me that I couldn’t think of at the time,” said Stephanie.
“We try to recognize the little needs that make the experience more comfortable for everyone: a rocking chair for an alternative laboring position; a warm blanket for a chilly, but excited grandma; an extra pillow in just the right spot; a washcloth on a hot forehead; the first drink of juice after the little one arrives; or taking a picture of the happy new family,” said Irene.
Lexington Medical Center has one of the first hospital-based doula programs in the country and the only doula program in the Midlands. To learn more, please call (803) 791-2631 or visit LexMed.com.
The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.