Swedish launches birth doula services

April 22, 2016

Swedish is proud to announce we now offer doula services at all four Swedish birth centers, becoming the first in the state to have this type of hospital based doula program. The doulas are like a birth coach, providing parents-to-be with emotional and physical support before, during and after delivery. They are a non-medical provider and work in collaboration with the nurses and either the doctor or midwife the patient has chosen as the clinical care provider.

Doulas meet with their clients during pregnancy to help them prepare for delivery. During labor, they provide emotional support and comfort measures like massage, breathing and relaxation techniques, position changes and hot/cold packs. After the baby arrives, they do an in-home visit to answer questions about feeding, sleeping and the overall transition to parenthood.

Research has shown doulas can help reduce C-sections by 50 percent, reduce the length of labor by a quarter of the time, increase patient satisfaction with the birth experience and increase breastfeeding rates.

"Having a doula makes a huge difference," said Dr. Tanya Sorensen. As Swedish's Executive Director for Women's Services, she's been part of the effort to bring doulas on staff. "My own specialty is high risk obstetrics, and I think it's even more telling in those situations where there's somebody there who's completely focused on the patient and her experience as opposed to the medical part."

The Swedish team is made up of 15 certified doulas and 12 apprentice doulas— all independent contractors of Swedish. There are multilingual members of the team who speak Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, German, Russian, Polish, French and Somali.

Doula services range from $500 to $2,000 at Swedish, depending on the doula’s experience. Parents can also still bring their own outside doula to a birth. More information about the Swedish doula program is available at Swedish.org/Doulas

The second phase of the program will include charity care— doulas provided at reduced or no cost for low-income patients.

Swedish doula program in the news:

- Doulas added to birthing staff at Swedish, KOMO 4 News

Swedish Medical Center Welcomes Doulas To Staff, KUOW
Should hospital-based doulas be the norm for labor & delivery?, BabyCenter
Swedish Medical Center makes unique addition to delivery services, MyNorthwest.com