Posts Tagged ‘ nurse midwives ’

Male Doulas Rare but Growing in Numbers

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Though they are far from typical, male doulas–professionals who help women through pregnancy and with labor and delivery–are seen more and more at hospitals across the country, The New York Times reports:

Meet David Goldman of Bellingham, Wash., the … “dude-la”? Mr. Goldman was certified as a doula last year by DONA International, the largest accrediting body of doulas worldwide. Although the group doesn’t track how many men have completed the training, officials there are aware of just a handful of male doulas among the 8,500 birth attendants it has certified since launching two decades ago.

The scarcity of men reflects a widespread perception that the role of a doula is seen as women’s work, even among many who wouldn’t hesitate to champion egalitarianism elsewhere in the workplace. Indeed, the topic of male doulas frequently draws skepticism — and sometimes biting criticism — in online discussion groups.

Some women say the presence of another male in the delivery room would just stress them, or their husbands, out. Others say that only women who have gone through the birth experience themselves can properly serve as birth assistants. Women are also typically seen as more nurturing than men, and thus better able to fulfill the emotional requirements of a doula’s job description.

A recent thread about male doulas on the DONA Facebook page showcased the sensitivity around this issue, drawing some uncharacteristic “disrespectful commentary,” said Sunday Tortelli, the group’s president and a doula in Cleveland, with many commenters saying it just didn’t “feel right.”

But Sharon Muza, who has instructed three men in the nearly eight years she’s been training doulas, among them Mr. Goldman (the other two men went on to become midwives), said that “men can be nurturing and caring and loving and bring every quality I would want in a doula.” She also noted that men may have a physical advantage. “They’re really strong and can apply counterpressure to a woman’s back or support someone who needs to be held up. That’s a wonderful bonus.”

Image: Male nurse, holding newborn, via Shutterstock

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CDC: Midwife Use at All-Time High

Monday, June 25th, 2012

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that nurse midwives are more popular among pregnant women than ever before, with 8.1 percent of all the births in 2009 being attended by a midwife.  Thirty-nine states have seen an increase in the number of midwife-attended births, according to the study, which was published in the journal Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health (JMWH).

“The growing number of midwife-attended vaginal births in the United States may be a reflection of the increasing recognition of midwives’ expertise in the management of labor in vaginal births. As many mothers express their concern with the high cesarean rate in the United States, it is likely the demand for midwives will continue to rise,” said the JMWH report’s author, Eugene Declercq, PhD, Assistant Dean for DrPH Education at the Boston University School of Public Health. “While still far below the rates of midwife-attended births in other industrialized countries, this is nonetheless good news for those mothers who want the choice of a midwife as their prenatal care provider and birth attendant.”

Image: Midwife with pregnant woman, via Shutterstock.

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