Birth is a profound and vulnerable experience in the life of a woman. Doulas typically form a very close bond with their clients. Our partners in Kyrgyzstan run the Maternity Care Doula Initiative project to raise awareness in Kyrgyzstan of what doula care is and how it improves birth outcomes, establish doula care as a profession recognized and desired by the obstetrical community, bring respectful maternity care to the women of Kyrgyzstan through doula support, and to document the benefits of doula care. Continuous labor support (CLS) or doula care significantly improves maternal and infant outcomes. The doula initiative reaches women and trains them to serve as continuous labor support partners for other women in labor, and they are more readily received than husbands in the hospital setting.
"Why are you crying?" Mahabat asked upon entering the room and seeing the young woman's abundant tears.
The young woman shared that she had just been told she would have to have a cesarean section surgical birth. She had been laboring so well and was so close to the end.
"Why does the doctor want to do a surgery?" Mahabat asked the forlorn woman.
"I have no idea. I didn't understand anything he said to me," she answered.
Mahabat was at the maternity hospital that night doing a birth observation rotation for her International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) doula certification process through our partner organization. Through her doula training, she was able to help this young woman achieve a natural birth!
When the doctor returned to the room after some time, and found the woman's condition much improved, he asked Mahabat, "WHAT DID YOU DO?"
She and the mom just looked at each other and smiled. Mahabat had infused that young woman with encouragement and confidence that she could do it, and together they did!
While not all c-sections can be prevented with continuous labor support, it is amazing that just by the trained and loving presence of a doula, c-section rates can be reduced by 45%.