Good news from Martha Jefferson

Here’s some news for Charlottesville moms-to-be that might sound boring, but is actually really exciting: A big bunch of Charlottesville doulas sat down with some folks from the L&D nursing staff at Martha Jefferson Hospital last week.

Exciting, because–for one thing–it shows that our local hospitals are really working to incorporate doulas into their care of laboring moms. Only a week or so before this meeting, UVA Hospital hosted a group of doulas who trained nurses in the kinds of comfort measures we routinely provide our clients. (I wasn’t at that one, but I’ve been part of it in the past–neither of these events were first-time occurrences!)

Given the tales that circulate about doulas in other towns being all but barred from hospital settings, I am so glad to live in a place where everybody is actively looking for ways to be a big happy team.Here’s the other reason this was exciting. Doulas do sometimes question hospital policy–of course–it’s part of our training to come in with a point of view that’s skeptical of the medical model. And hospital staff, in turn, sometimes have questions about what we do.

So this meeting was a great chance to hash out some of those issues. It was really productive. A small example: Doulas used to bring rice socks to heat up in the hospital microwave–they’re a nice tool for applying heat to a mom’s back, belly or shoulders. But MJH has posted signs asking people not to use rice socks for fear of burns. We found out at the meeting that, instead, they’ll provide gel packs that can be safely heated and applied to our clients. Great solution! If you’re a mom who’s not traveling with a doula, know that you can ask your nurse about these!

Another great resource we learned about: MJH has a case management team who helps to plan care for moms needing special consideration. That might include mothers with unusual medical conditions, or it might cover special situations like adoption, abuse history, or same-sex parents. During pregnancy, you can contact this department to discuss your needs–the official name of the program is Maternity Care Coordination. Read more about it, roughly 3/4 of the way down this page. Good stuff!

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