MercyOne offering free doula services for central Iowans

MercyOne. Pregnant woman in hospital gown sits on the edge of bed, holding the hand of a woman wearing scrubs

"We've been there, we've done that, we have a lot of different tricks as far as comfort measures to help not only mom but partner." Halligan said.

Those words from Jenn Halligan, manager of doula services at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center, capture the difference the program has made in the lives of countless new moms and their families, especially those dealing with the birthing experience for the first time.

Now in its 12th year, MercyOne’s volunteer birth doula program is not intended to replace a labor partner or a medical provider, but instead serve as a sort-of tour guide for the birthing process.

Available by appointment, the service is offered for everyone in Des Moines, not only those planning to give birth in a MercyOne hospital.

Longtime volunteer Ann Hines brings a wealth of knowledge and experience after 20 years as a former labor and delivery nurse.

"I always say I can take at least two hours off your labor, if you listen to what I say. We'll do it together, and it works. It works really well," Hines said.

Part of a doula's job like Hines is to help translate medical jargon that may confuse new mothers, explaining in plain terms what the doctor said to relieve any fears or apprehension.



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