June 22, 2009

Birth Companions Program receives Women’s Board funding

The award-winning Birth Companions Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing has received new funding from the Women’s Board of The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Now in its 11th year, the program has offered 525 students the skills and opportunity to serve as doulas-birth companions-and provide informal emotional, physical and informational support to women in labor.

“As a birth companion, students have an opportunity to provide the emotional care that, as nurses, they might not always have the opportunity to do,” said Elizabeth Jordan, an assistant professor and co-director of the Birth Companions Program. “And studies have shown that support from doulas has benefits such as shortened labor and reduced medical intervention during childbirth.”

The Women’s Board has pledged $13,910 to defray costs for birth companions at JHH, Bayview Medical Center and Howard County General Hospital. The funds pay for 25 electric breast pumps, 40 “onesies” for the infants, three birthing balls, doula manuals for the students, emergency transportation funds for the patients and stipends for the birth companions.