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    Birth Doula Scope of Practice Guidelines at California Pacific Medical Center

    Thank you for choosing to have your baby at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). We are proud to extend our services to you and your family. CPMC has been rated one of the best hospitals in Northern California. We offer a nursing and medical staff whose goal is to give you excellent professional attention throughout your pregnancy, labor, delivery and post-partum periods.

    With the assistance of staff and local doulas, we've developed our Birth Doula Scope of Practice Guidelines based on positions outlined by the major doula organization, Doulas of North America (DONA). If you are planning on using a doula with your birth, please review our guidelines with your doula and medical care provider. You may also find My Birth Day Preferences useful when planning for your birth.

    While physicians, midwives and nurses are responsible for assessing the health and well-being of the mother and baby, diagnosing and treating conditions, and focusing on the safe delivery of the baby, a doula’s role is to provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to mothers and their partners during labor and birth. Please understand that the doula is an independent contractor and is not an employee of the hospital.

    What a doula does:

    • Offers help and advice on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning, and may use or suggest comfort measures such as massage, visualization, hydrotherapy and use of the birth ball.

    • Adheres to patient confidentiality in accordance to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

    • May aid in the mother’s understanding of medical procedures and treatment by encouraging and supporting communication between the mother, couple or staff. A doula does not speak for the mother but may prompt her to ask questions regarding her care/treatment:

      • Do you have any further questions or concerns that you’d like to address?

      • What are the benefits/risks of the intervention?

      • What are the treatment options?

      • How much time to decide a course of action?
    Doulas do NOT:
    • Perform clinical tasks such as, but not limited to, vaginal exams, assessing fetal heart tones or perineal massage.

    • Diagnose medical conditions, offer second opinions or medical advice.

    • Make decisions for the patient/client nor project their own values/goals onto the pregnant or laboring woman.

    • Administer medications, including both pharmaceutical and homeopathy.

    • Interfere with medical treatment in the event of an emergency situation.
    Please be sure to discuss any questions you might have with your physician or midwife during your prenatal visits. Have a healthy pregnancy and we look forward to seeing you soon!