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‘Doula’ not recognised as midwives

24 Nov 2020 / 16:57 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry does not recognise a “doula” as a midwife and they are prohibited from giving medical advice to new mothers, its Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (pix) said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He said action could be taken under Subsection 14(1) of Midwives Act 1966 (Act 436) against those not trained as midwives but acting as one.

He said the offence carries a maximum RM2,000 fine and one-year jail term.

“The training and services of a doula is unclear and they are not registered with any association in the country.

“A doula is prohibited from giving medical advice or advice related to pre-natural birthing or gentle birthing,” he said in reply to a question by Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching).

Adham said a doula is required to undergo training if she wishes to provide services as a companion to new mothers.

He added they must also adhere to set guidelines and policies.

A doula is a non-medical birth assistant and usually acts as a companion to the woman before, during and after childbirth to give physical and emotional support.

Adham said the Health Ministry has taken steps to improve safe birth among others.

He said the ministry had issued a circular to reduce unsafe birth in 2014 which have guidelines for mothers-to-be who opt for home birth and checklists and integrating mother friendly care (MFC) component in the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative in 2012.

He said under MFC, expectant mothers are encouraged to have a companion through the delivery process to provide emotional and physical support.

“Even for low-risk births, trained health personnel are required to be present,“ he said, adding this is to ensure help is available if there are complications experienced by baby and/or mother during and after labour.

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