Doulas of Greater St. Louis (DGSL) announced in May that it would provide one Our Ladies Inn client with a free birth doula, in honor of the month being International Doula Month. A birth doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.
Mary Hamm had her baby, Mercy, with the support of doula and DGSL VP Jamie Bodily. It was Mary’s 5th birth, but her first birth where she chose to labor without medication to ease the pain.
“It was great to see her confidence in herself grow and the pride she took in what she accomplished,” said Bodily. “From uncertainty to “I get it”—it was an amazing transformation.”
Now, two months later, mom and baby are doing well.
“Mary is still breastfeeding and incorporating other positive health habits into her life,” Bodily said. “These are the kind of positive outcomes we consistently see, even months after birth, from women who have used a doula.”
In 2010, St. Louis lost its last community-based doula program. Bodily was the project coordinator for that program, based out of Queen of Peace.
“Medicaid must recognize the importance of community-based doula programs and the incredible long-term health savings it brings the system,” Bodily said.
“Studies show that women using a doula have better birth outcomes than those who don’t. Therefore, we believe that a doula should be available to every mother who wants one,” said Nancy Elfanbaum, DGSL president. “We are working toward making that happen and hope to do much more in the future.”
DGSL is a non-profit organization made up of doulas and other birth professionals. It provides fellowship and continuing education support for doulas as well as information to the community.
For press inquiries, contact Hollie Silberhorn, community liaison, at 314-753-7910 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ###