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Illustration by Sophia Pekowsky 2018

In the popular imagination, doulas are associated with natural birth. A doula is kneeling with someone in labor; swaying with them over a birth ball, applying compression, and helping them work through the physical pain of labor. In a hospital setting, doulas can be perceived as a protective shield from the horrors of an overly medicalized birth and uncompassionate doctors. In fact, one of the main arguments for hiring doulas in hospitals is that their continued support leads to fewer medical interventions. What then, is a doula’s role in a birth that involves multiple medical procedures? When someone is hooked up to a fetal monitoring system and must stay on their back? When someone has received an epidural and does not feel any physical pain? …

Sophia Pekowsky

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