MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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Did Someone Say Doula?

ICYMI – In a recent article, The Times reported on the growing numbers of doulas that expecting NYC moms employ to support them during their labor processes. Those this may feel like old news to some, The Times goes on to discuss doulas’ push for a greater level of recognition.

Doulas, a name derived from an ancient Greek term meaning female servant, offer birthing support to expecting moms. Doulas may help prep parents for the realities of childbirth, attend births, and/or assist post-delivery. According to The Times, there are as many as 400 active doulas in NYC who attend approximately 5600 births a year, making up 5% of all births. Despite growing in number and popularity, doulas still make up only a small part of the maternal health system. Refusal to be included in health insurance coverage and pushback from the medical community have left some doulas feeling shut out. Now, several groups are advocating for health insurance companies to offer doula services (a model that exists currently in the state of Oregon’s Medicaid program), as well as rallying for an elevated sense of purpose and credibility within the medical field. The article interviewed various medical professionals, some who praised the role of the doula, and others who rebuffed their call for a higher level of acceptance. Doulas do not go through the same credentialing process as midwives or obstetricians, so some doctors are skeptical of the success that organizing doulas will have in pushing for insurance companies to cover their services. Still, doulas – and those who believe in the value of their services – will say that they serve an important role medically, in that they prioritize laboring mothers’ health choices/plans and, according to the article, “’put the ball back in the mom’s court.’”

Perhaps we will have to wait and see where these issues go, but no doubt the increased awareness of doulas’ experience will help the movement grow.

Read much more on this topic: Human Rights in Childbirth Conference Papers

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Meet Our Blogging Intern Naomi Rendina

Hello, everyone! I am Naomi Rendina, and am the new intern for the Museum of Motherhood! Currently, I am a PhD student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and am studying the history of medicine. My research interests are the history of contraception, childbirth, and consumerism related to the medical and social aspects of motherhood.

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I have been married to an US soldier for just over six years, and we have a beautiful five year daughter who is starting kindergarten this year!

As for this blog, I am going to focus on contraception and birthing methodologies. Both of these topics currently are in the limelight, and I aim to help create material that can better educate the public on women’s issues, where they come from, and why we should support them. I want to illuminate how contraception works, how they have developed, and even social issues surrounding them.

I have noticed that there is a lot of material floating around social media sites about how to give birth. The abundance of methods creates a need for a better understanding of each so that not only are expectant couples aware of their options, but can accept other couples’ choices in how they bring their new babies into the world. Hopefully, I will get to share some of YOUR birth stories with the world through this blog! At some point, I will share my own!

Each week, I hope to bring you a short, interactive blog post that encourages discussion and provides insight. Every week, each blog will include suggestions for further reading, and links to expert and interesting websites to check out.

Please go “like” the Museum of Motherhood on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

I look forward to writing for this blog, and hope to get to know you all a little better over the next year.

In the comment section below, please introduce yourself and make any suggestions as to what you would like to see in the blog! I would love to hear from you, and will try to answer any questions you may have.

So, what about contraception and childbirth would you like to know?

Until next time!

Naomi