What is a Community-Based Doula?
A Community-Based Doula is a Perinatal Community Health Worker (PCHW) who provides support before, during, and after childbirth. Our purpose is to help women have a safe and empowering birthing experience.
What does a Doula do?
Our certified doulas are trained birth companions that:
- Recognize birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life
- Understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a mother in labor
- Assist the mother and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth
- Stay by the side of the laboring mother throughout the entire labor
- Provide emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and supply the mother with important information she needs to make informed decisions
- Facilitate communication between the laboring mother, her partner, and clinical care providers
- Nurture and protect the mother’s memory of her birth experience
Our Certified Community-Based Doulas provide:
- 24-hour on-call services surrounding birth
- Comfort measures
- Emotional support
- Birth plan preparation
- Childbirth education
- Bonding and breastfeeding support following birth
- Non-medical tasks
- Educational and emotional support during early parenthood
- In-home lactation support and newborn care
- 4th trimester support
- Health assessment screenings
- Connection to vital resources
What are the Benefits?
Women receiving services are:
- 50% less likely to deliver prematurely
- 36% less likely to deliver low birthweight babies
- 33% more likely to initiate breastfeeding
Studies have shown these results when a Community-Based Doula and PCHW are present:
- Partners participate with more confidence
- Greater success in breastfeeding
- More maternal satisfaction
- Fewer neonatal admissions after birth
- Less pre- and postnatal stress
- Less likelihood of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD)
- Overall caesarean rate decreased by 50%
In the past year, The Doula Foundation provided services to 1,287 at-risk newborns, expectant moms, and individuals in need. Of those served, 96% were on Medicaid, 58% were single and 34% were ages 21 and younger. Outcomes include: 96% of program babies were born full term avoiding low birth-weight and pre-term deliveries, 98% of at-risk mothers initiated breastfeeding, 93% received appropriate prenatal care, and 100% received infant care and parenting education and referrals to community resources.
The Doula Foundation support and programming provided 31,900 hours of essential prenatal, postpartum, childbirth and parenting consultations, 19,140 baby and maternity essentials including diapers, wipes, clothing and other infant needs.
What about the partner’s role when using a doula?
A doula doesn’t replace the partner’s role, but rather compliments it and enables them to become involved in the birth to the extent they feel comfortable. As doulas, we support the entire family through pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. With a doula present at a birth, mothers can have the best of both worlds with her partner’s care and attention, along with the doula’s knowledge of the process and guidance through the stages of labor.
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