“Every woman deserves a Doula,” says Shafia Munroe, Full Circle Doula trainer and founder of the renowned International Centre for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) in the United States.
The (ICTC) is an infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding promotion and doula/midwife training non-profit organisation that has been in existence since 1991. The ICTC mission is to increase the number of black mid…wives, doulas and healers to empower families, in order to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
Doulas provide support to women throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum periods in areas such as mother and infant nutrition, breastfeeding support, self-care, child and family support, home care for babies and mothers, infant safety and other areas. Certified ICTC Full Circle Doulas are trained to be entrepreneurs in social business, with the skills and experience to serve families in their communities as advocates and birth companions. Doulas help to ensure better birth outcomes and birth experiences for women and their families.
Recently midwives and Doulas from Trinidad and Tobago and the United States came together at the Mamatoto Resource and Birth Centre in Belmont, to highlight the role and the importance of midwives and Doulas for expectant mothers and their families.
Since the dawn of time labour and birth through the vaginal passage have been an inevitable outcome of pregnancy; a journey through to life. In this new millennium, women do have an alternative, one that has been provided by the wonders of modern technology – something that women in ages past did not have; caesarean section.
Not disparaging modern medicine, Munroe said, “More and more women in the US today are opting to do a caesarean section.”
She noted while there is a need for modern medicine, people should also be abreast of other options.
The ICTC merges science and birth traditions to address the health disparities by bringing communities together to train as doulas (profession birth companions) to learn best practices in maternal, newborn and child health.
The women were attending a function hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Midwives and Mamatoto Resource and Birth Centre. The ICTC training course was done by Munroe along with Stacey Allen John, Nicole Deggins and Basmah Karriem, ICTC certified Doula.
“Having a network of doulas who are part of the community helps to ensure that women and babies have advocates and care providers throughout the pregnancy and birth process,” Monroe said.
The midwives of Mamatoto have also responded to the requests of women who need support after experiencing a miscarriage or stillbirth, those who need guidance with child development and postnatal support. As a result Mamatoto offers monthly support group in these areas free of charge.
Doulas currently practise at private institutions in Trinidad and Tobago, however they hope in the near future to be at public health institutions too.