What is a Doula?
A birth doula is a someone who offers physical comfort and emotional support during the birth experience. Doula care aims to help expectant families, mothers, and birthing persons feel safe, supported, and empowered. Doulas offer support regardless of the kind of birth experience. Doula support has been shown to help provide a satisfying experience that has lasting positive effects into parenthood and beyond.
About Hearts & Hands Volunteer Doulas
The Hearts & Hands Doula Volunteer Program at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center (CCRMC) is made up of trained individuals with passion and skills for coaching people through their birth experience. The CCRMC Volunteer Doula Program is run by a multidisciplinary, multilingual, and diverse team of volunteers and hospital staff from the Perinatal, Integrative Health, and Volunteer Departments. Our Doulas are volunteers who are members of the CCRMC team. They work closely with nurses and other staff to provide safe, non-medical support for birthing persons throughout labor and birth. This service is offered at no cost. The Volunteer Doulas provide service on scheduled shifts and on-call, as availability permits.
Doulas provide support in the hours and days leading up to and following a births of all kinds, assist with lactation, and with baby care in the nursery. Doulas also offer their support to any interested pregnant person while they are being assessed at the hospital prior to admission, while experiencing a loss, or a medically complicated pregnancy experience. CCRMC's Doulas care for patients regardless of gender identity, sexuality, race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. Doulas strive to learn about and respect each birthing person's priorities and wishes. They assist birthing persons in communication with staff without speaking for the birthing person. Doulas can use translation services to communicate with expectant persons and families in any language.
Doulas provide direct support and teach helpful coping skills; they also recognize that whenever appropriate, helping the birthing person to be supported directly by their partners, family or friends reinforces bonds that will carry forward into future relationships. Ultimately the Doula's goal is to help birthing persons to enjoy a personalized, meaningful experience in labor, birth, getting to know baby, and recovery while at CCRMC.
Interested in becoming a Volunteer Doula?
The Program's Staff and CCRMC's Volunteer Office strive to support our Volunteer Doulas in this rewarding experience, just as our Doulas strive to support our birthing families. Joining the team of CCMRC Hearts & Hands Volunteer Doulas begins with an application and interview process followed by a health inventory and formal background check. Our Doulas must firmly commit to at least one full year of service with minimum monthly hours. This minimum helps us to provide consistent and relevant care to families at CCRMC. We ask you to consider these requirements realistically and carefully before committing. Once admitted, applicants take our New Doula Training, a two-day workshop offered at no cost to participants, as well as attending periodic ongoing Doula Education events. New Doula trainings are held quarterly and have a limited capacity. Formal or external doula certification is NOT required to become a CCRMC Doula.