Doulas are pregnancy specialists similar to midwives. However, they provide support in more of an emotional way for pregnant women than in a physical or medical sense. While doulas are not a traditional component of the healthcare system, many pregnant women use doula services while pregnant and during the delivery process. However, just because they are not a typical part of the birthing process, doulas can make mistakes and commit medical malpractice just like other healthcare professionals.
Educational and Licensing Requirements for Doulas
The non-traditional aspect of doulas is most vividly represented in the education and licensing they need to practice as a doula in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania: there are none. Unlike nearly all other medical service providers, doulas are not regulated by federal or state law.
This means doulas can open their own practice and offer pregnancy-related services whenever they want, even on the spur of the moment.
There are, however, several organizations that can certify certain aspects of a doula's practice. These organizations include:
People can get certified in doula practice through these organizations by taking classes, gaining supervised experience, and attending workshops.
How Doulas Practice in Philadelphia
Doulas practice by providing information and emotional support to pregnant women and their families during the pregnancy and through the birthing process. They also advocate on behalf of the mother during labor and delivery, seeing to it that her needs are met and that her birth plan goes the way she wants it to go. Many doulas also provide support after the baby is born, helping the mother cope with postpartum issues like depression.
They cannot, however, medically diagnose problems or complications or write prescriptions.
Doulas Can Commit Medical Malpractice
Even though doulas are not a traditional part of the medical system, they still provide healthcare services by supporting, advocating for, and informing the expectant mother and her family through the birth process.
Those services, when relied upon and done improperly, can cause some serious problems for both the mother and her newborn. When a doula makes a mistake or provides false information, it can amount to medical malpractice. Examples include:
- Telling a mother something incorrect about the birth process
- Deciding on a risky birth plan and then demanding that doctors adhere to it, even in the face of complications that make it unreasonable
- Insisting that a doctor is not necessary to treat a serious medical complication during pregnancy
- Creating an allergic reaction by using holistic herbs and medicines
Medical Malpractice Lawyers Serving Philadelphia at Gilman & Bedigian
Some people think that doulas provide a valuable service during pregnancy, delivery, and in the postpartum phase of childbirth. If they rely on the services that a doula provides – especially when it comes at the expense of medical treatment – it can lead to lasting and severe repercussions.
The medical malpractice lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian can help victims recover the compensation that they need after being hurt by a doula. Contact them online.