Saint Thomas First in State to Add Doula OR Credentialing

Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital is pleased to introduce a new service for expectant mothers by becoming the region’s first hospital to offer OR credentialing for doulas, allowing these highly personalized birthing coaches to accompany women in labor to the operating room.

The credentialing program requires doulas to complete a 90-minute OR simulation and to offer proof of prior participation in 5 births at Saint Thomas Midtown. Since completing the simulation this month, 19 program graduates are now fully credentialed to provide OR support during caesarean sections and multiple births. There is currently a waiting list of Middle Tennessee-based doulas interested in attending the next simulation.

“Our goal at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital is to help every mom experience a delivery that fits her unique needs and vision,” said Kristen Toth, Vice President of Women’s, Children’s, and Oncology Services, Ascension Saint Thomas. “This doula credentialing process is one more way we can offer every woman a personalized birthing experience. The program is a direct result of the creativity and hard work of hospital leadership and our affiliated OBGYNs, midwives, anesthesiologists, and nurses.”

Some studies suggest that women paired with doulas report higher levels of satisfaction with their pregnancies and might even experience shorter labor times. In addition to teaching breathing, massage, and relaxation techniques for labor, doulas may help women prepare for post-partum challenges like mood swings or difficulty breastfeeding.

“We all know that being surrounded by those who love you and support you makes every transition easier,” said Dr. Donna Crowe of WOMEN Obstetrics & Gynecology, a Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital affiliate. “Including doula support in the operating room during a vulnerable time will only aid in the mother’s healing both physically and emotionally.”

“As professional doulas, we support our clients physically and emotionally throughout their birth, and we are excited to continue that support for them now in the OR and in their immediate recovery at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital,” said Andrea Hewitt, Owner, East Nashville Doulas. “Doula support is an evidence-based practice that has been recognized by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other national medical organizations to improve a patient’s satisfaction with their birth experience.”

Doulas EJ Jones, Sarah Vincent, Katherine Adams, Andrea Hewitt, Natasha Hilton, and Amy Reitz are pictured left to right in the photo below, taken the day of their OR simulation at Saint Thomas Midtown.

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