Integrating Doulas Into First-Trimester Abortion Care: Physician, Clinic Staff, and Doula Experiences

Julie Chor*, Phoebe Lyman, Jean Ruth, Ashlesha Patel, Melissa Gilliam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Balancing the need to provide individual support for patients and the need for an efficient clinic can be challenging in the abortion setting. This study explores physician, staff, and specially trained abortion doula perspectives on doula support, one approach to patient support. Methods: We conducted separate focus groups with physicians, staff members, and doulas from a high-volume, first-trimester aspiration abortion clinic with a newly established volunteer abortion doula program. Focus groups explored 1) abortion doula training, 2) program implementation, 3) program benefits, and 4) opportunities for improvement. Interviews were transcribed and computer-assisted content analysis was performed; salient findings are presented. Results: Five physicians, 5 staff members, and 4 abortion doulas participated in separate focus group discussions. Doulas drew on both their prior personal skills and experiences in addition to their abortion doula training to provide women with support at the time of abortion. Having doulas in the clinic to assist with women's emotional needs allowed physicians and staff to focus on technical aspects of the procedure. In turn, both physicians and staff believed that introducing doulas resulted in more patient-centered care. Although staff did not experience challenges to integrating doulas, physicians and doulas experienced initial challenges in incorporating doula support into the clinical flow. Staff and doulas reported exchanging skills and techniques that they subsequently used in their interactions with patients. Discussion: Physicians, clinic staff, and doulas perceive abortion doula support as an approach to provide more patient-centered care in a high-volume aspiration abortion clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-57
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • abortion
  • doula
  • full-spectrum doula
  • support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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