A young lady from Phoenix, Arizona is cashing in from helping Kenyan women go through labor and childbirth.
On a normal day, you will find Sydney Pauker on Facebook marketing her services and educating fellow women on what the role of a doula is. You will also see several photos of her and the little ones she has met for the first time as they come into the world.
You can read passion, from the way she answers questions from curios pregnant women seeking to know more about her services, to how she describes the moms of the babies she so lovingly holds and poses for photos with after a birth.
Her warm smile is accompanied by her kind and patient personality. A trait that is very important for such a calling.
“I am really trying to grow my doula business, if you know anyone that would want a doula let me know.” She writes on.
Ms Pauker has been in the country four times, and this time she stayed on for 7 months.
“I became a Doula because I loved the idea of being able to help women during their pregnancy and the birth of their baby. Doulas practice with all natural and hands-on practices. Empowering a woman to have the strength and ability to have a child naturally gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment.” She told the Exchange in an interview.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), more women are now giving birth in health care facilities in many parts of the world, and yet suboptimal quality of care continues to impede attainment of the desired health outcomes. While in some settings too few interventions are being provided too late to women, in other settings women are receiving too many interventions that they do not need too soon.
To become a Doula you must become certified through a variety of organizations. In many countries, women who want doulas pay for them privately.
“I got my certificate through Baby Moon Inn Birth Center in Phoenix Arizona. My certification involved approximately 4 months of classroom time and then I observed other doulas and attending births at a hospital.” Ms Pauker says.
In a report by WHO dubbed, ‘WHO recommendations Intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience’ improving support for women giving birth and facilitating a woman’s choice with regard to a birth companion is an important component of respectful maternity care (RMC) and is in accordance with a human rights-based approach.
“The findings of a qualitative review on perceptions and experiences of labour companionship suggest that facilities in LMICs that ensure companionship for women in labour by family members, friends or community-based doulas could increase equity directly, through empowerment and advocacy, and indirectly, through increased uptake by women of facility-based birth. Equity could also be increased if companionship reduces the medicalization of childbirth (e.g. caesarean section, instrumental vaginal birth, epidural use) among women in high-resource settings” The report noted in part.
“My 7 months in Kenya so far have been the most amazing 7 months of my life. I am volunteering at a birth centre in Nairobi as well as well as trying to build a business here in Kenya.” She added.
Ms Pauker charges anything between Sh25,000 ($243) and Sh50,000 ($486) depending what the mom can afford.
“During my 7 months here I have become a certified breastfeeding counselor too. I have also completed my international Doula certification. I am also currently enrolled to get my Lamaze certified childbirth educator.” She adds.
Her biggest challenge in Kenya has been educating the public and getting the word out about doulas and their services.
Here are some of the things you should now about the role of a Doula:
According to kenyathedoula, statistically studies have shown that when continuous labor support is provided by a doula, women experience:
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin,
- 28% decrease in the risk of C-section,
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth,
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief,
- 14% decrease in the risk of her newborn being admitted to a special care nursery, and
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience.
- Shortened labor by about 1.5 hours
- Reduced the need for foreceps by 57%
- Help partners participate with confidence
- Facilitate mother-baby bonding and breastfeeding
“I believe Doulas are extremely necessary for women that want to have a natural birth with the expertise of the services doulas provide.” Ms Pauker noted.
Other than being a doula, Ms Pauker also offers a wide range of services. They include massage, breathing techniques, essential oils, education on breastfeeding and variety of exercises to do during labor.
“If additional breastfeeding help is needed there is additional charge of Sh3,000 ($29) per session.
The exchange has researched on a number of questions you can ask a doula should you consider hiring one for your childbirth experience:
Questions to ask a Doula:
- Do you have a back-up system in place in the event that you are unavailable? If so, may I meet her?
- How often is your backup doula used?
- Do you have a legal contract in place?
- Are you equipped with a variety of strategies for supporting all types of labor and birth?
- Do you stay for the entire labor and childbirth, or do you have a time limit for long births?
- At what point in labor would we meet up? How should I contact you during labor and at what point? Is it okay if it’s in the middle of the night? Are you always on call?
- Do you offer any postpartum care or follow up? Does that require an additional fee?
- What are your fees? What is included in your doula package? What happens to my fee if, for instance, I need an emergency c-section and labor support is no longer needed?
- What are my refund options?
- Is it possible to read any reviews you might have? Do you have any references and if so may I speak with them?