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Nurses and Doulas: Complementary Roles to Provide Optimal Maternity Care

Authors

  • Lois Eve Ballen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Lois Eve Ballen, RN, CNM, MSN, IBCLC teaches nursing at Durham Technical Community College and is Program Manager of UNC BirthPartners, Volunteer Hospital-Based Doula Program, at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
      Lois Eve Ballen, RN, CNM, MSN, IBCLC, 2 West Haven Place, Durham, NC 27705. E-mail: Lballen@unch.unc.edu or Loballen@earthlink.net
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  • Ann J. Fulcher

    1. Ann J. Fulcher, CD, CLE, is a program manager of the UCSD Hearts & Hands Volunteer Doula Program, University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center.
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Lois Eve Ballen, RN, CNM, MSN, IBCLC, 2 West Haven Place, Durham, NC 27705. E-mail: Lballen@unch.unc.edu or Loballen@earthlink.net

Abstract

Staff in maternity-care facilities are seeing an increase in doulas, nonmedical childbirth assistants, who are trained to provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational labor support. The long-term medical and psychosocial benefits are well documented. In this article, misconceptions about the doula's role are corrected, and suggestions are offered on ways to improve communication between health care providers and doulas. Together, nurses and doulas can provide birthing women with a safe and satisfying birth. JOGNN, 35, 304-311; 2006. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2006.00041.x

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