Now Available!
Birth Doulas For OHP Members  

The State of Oregon now pays for birth doula services for pregnant Oregon Health Plan members!
   Known as THW (Traditional Health Worker) Doulas, these doulas can provide you with many hours of personal care during two prenatal visits, care throughout your labor and birth, and two visits after the baby is born. Do know that doulas support the choices you make for your birth and will never pressure you into a certain way of giving birth. In fact, your doula will educate you about your choices and how to be in charge of your decisions.
   THW Doulas work with your health care team, and first you will need to have your doctor or midwife prescribe a THW Doula for you by noting that in your medical chart. Then you can contact one of the THW Doulas listed 
   THW Doulas may have special experience with certain situations or be from your community and speak languages other than English. This program is new and we are working to add on more doulas of color and bilingual speakers.
   It is important to choose a doula that is right for you and your family. Birth Doulas do not replace partners or family members you want at your birth, they actually guide them in supporting you and they also receive support from the doula. We offer get acquainted meetings to help your family select a doula you feel comfortable working with.
   When interviewing a doula, here are possible questions to ask:
What is your training and experience?
May we call you with questions or concerns before and after the birth?     
What is your philosophy about childbirth and labor support?      
When do you join us during labor?
   ​Birth doulas provide physical, emotional, and informational support to families as they prepare for and go through labor and birth, and once they go home. Because having a birth doula has been shown to improve the health and safety of mothers and babies, Oregon State now certifies birth doulas to serve Oregon Health Plan members.   
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The THW Doula Care Package
Here is some things you can expect from having a THW Doula care for you. Together you will decide which of these possible areas are most important to address during your time together.

During the Prenatal Visits

Your doula will spend time with you to get to know you, and learn ways to support your family’s needs for pregnancy, the upcoming birth, and the early weeks after, such as:
  • Give you tips on pregnancy comfort and lifestyle, review warning signs, and check in on how you are doing emotionally;
  • Connect you with local resources and education for birth, infant care and feeding, and early parenting;
  • Explain choices you have that make your birth safer and more satisfying;
  • Help you understand the birth process and boost your confidence in your ability to give birth;
  • Go over coping strategies, positions, and comfort measures for labor;
  • Talk about how the doula, partner, and other members of your support team can best work together;
  • Focus on concerns and fears about the birth ahead or life with a new baby;
  • Create a birth care plan that lets your medical team know what is important to you and how you can share in the decision-making process.
   

During the Labor and Birth    

Your doula can:
  • Join you in early labor and remain with you throughout the birth and afterward;
  • Support you to rest, eat and drink, move around, and look for signs it is time to go to your birth place;
  • Use comfort measures, massage, and lots of pain relief tricks to help you feel better;
  • Be a tour guide for labor and birth and reassure and encourage you as you go;
  • Advise your partner and family or friends in ways they can help you;
  • Remind you of your options and strive to get your questions answered and your voice heard;
  • Help you to cope with a change in plans if that becomes necessary

After the Baby Arrives 

  • Your doula will support skin-to-skin contact with your baby, successful feeding, and family bonding time.
  • Once you go home, your doula can:
    • Visit your new family to offer comfort measures and tips to improve rest and recovery after birth;
    • Troubleshoot breastfeeding and provide guidance or referrals;
    • Review your birth experience and get feedback from you on your care;  
    • Gage emotional well-being, and provide pointers for a happy, healthy postpartum adjustment.

Having a Birth Doula Makes a Difference!

While no one can predict what each birth will bring, working with a doula has been shown to make the results better in these ways:

● Lower the chances of preterm labor
● Ease stress and build support
● Improve coping skills
● Promote calm and shorten labor
● Boost feelings of control
● Lessen the use of interventions, medications, and cesareans
● Enhance the partner's involvement
● Improve newborn health
● Promote breastfeeding success
● Strengthen family and infant bonds
● Reduce postpartum depression