Birth & Midwifery in Dominican Republic
Resources for parents and practitioners
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Some of the following sites may not be in English; an online translator may be useful.
Birth Situation Room Report
Midwifery Today Country Contact*
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Shalena King has been a labor and delivery Registered Nurse for 12 years and is now a Traditional Midwifery student. She has helped thousands of babies come into the world under all types of circumstances and environments. She is Executive Director of Midwives for the Dominican Republic, an organization dedicated to bringing midwifery to the Dominican Republic.
Shalena says her goal is for every woman in every country to have a choice and a voice and adequate access to midwifery care. She further tells Midwifery Today: “I envision the world beginning to look at birth not as a medical complication but as a natural, normal process of life. I envision midwives being used for all low-risk pregnancies and births, and physicians using their skills for more complicated pregnancies, surgery and disease processes occurring during a woman’s preganancy.
Shalena speaks English and Spanish.
Experiences in the Dominican Republic
I am a licensed midwife from the state of South Carolina; I have been bringing student midwives and doulas from my online course (midwifetobe.com), as well as others who want more experience, down to the Dominican Republic a few times a year.
Conditions are difficult and poverty is an issue, but the women sure know how to deliver babies without a lot of fuss! It is a joy to bless the women and hospital staff with sheets, baby packs, birth photos and medical supplies. We don’t hear much at all about midwives in the country. Most women seem able to make it to one of the free hospitals for the general population. The ones who have connections go to smaller, nicer hospitals that can handle preterm babies and other special circumstances.
We work in the poorer hospitals that need help. Spanish is spoken, so translators are needed. We try to teach staff about neonatal resuscitation, kangaroo care for preterm babies, etc. The staff, for the most part, are open to learning new ideas.
Directors of hospitals change often, so we go to numerous hospitals to try and find the place where students can learn the most and where we can be of service. We’ll sometimes help with 20 to 30 births a day. They do let us catch babies if not high risk, but we don’t really manage the births. There are plenty of moms to doula, babies to exam and experiences to be had. I know we have saved lives on numerous occasions. Come join us if you want to bless the poor.
— Lisa Aman