Health Net Community Doula Program
CHILDBIRTH SUPPORT FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN FAMILIES
ENROLL OR GET INFORMATION
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Email Us | Call Us (626) 388-2191 (ext. 1)
Meet the Health Net Doula Team
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Due to the high rates of cesareans and premature births among African-American women in Los Angeles County, The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health (AWMNH) has partnered with Health Net, one of Los Angeles’ largest Medi-Cal Managed Care Providers to provide Doula Support for their members.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
African-American women (and persons) who are planning to give birth in Los Angeles County who have Health Net Medi-Cal are eligible for this program. Doula Services are offered free of charge to Health Net Medi-Cal members.
WHAT IS A DOULA?
Doula (DOO-lah) is a Greek word, which means “woman servant”. Doulas are professional childbirth companions who provide physical comfort, education and advocacy skills to women (and persons) during childbirth and the postpartum period. Doulas are not medical or midwifery providers and do not perform any clinical skills. The Doula role is to empower, educate, nurture and protect moms and babies.
BENEFITS OF DOULA SUPPORT
- Decreased use of pain medication
- Decreased medical interventions
- Decreased rates of induction and augmentation of labor
- Decreased rates of cesarean section and repeat cesarean
- Decreased length of labor
- Decreased maternal depression
- Increased maternal satisfaction with the birth experience
- Increased VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) success’
- Increased breastfeeding success
THE ROLE OF THE DOULA
The Doula cares for women during pregnancy, childbirth and immediately after the birth,. The Doula provides non-medical support for
childbearing persons, cooperating with the client’s medical team to ensure that her client’s needs and desires are met, and she has a safe delivery and is treated with respect during the maternity experience.
How Doula Helps During Pregnancy
- Educates about fetal development
- Educates about healthy nutrition & exercise
- Teaches relaxation ad mindfulness methods to reduce stress and anxiety
- Gives suggestions for coping with common discomforts of pregnancy
- Discusses options for childbirth, including pain medication options
- Discusses how to avoid an unnecessary cesarean
- Teaches labor coping skills and support methods to birth partners
- Helps client to create a birth plan
- Discusses rights and responsibilities of pregnant women and persons
- Helps client prepare to breastfeed
- Describes newborn appearance and behavior
- Prepares siblings for birth of baby
How Doula Helps During Childbirth
- Provides Physical Comfort and Massage
- Suggests Water Immersion for Pain Relief
- Encourages Vocalization
- Suggests positions that will make labor more comfortable and make labor go faster
Provide Emotional Support
Advocate & Educate
- Help client ask for what she wants in labor
- Explain what the doctor, midwife or nurse wants to do and why
- Inform clients of risks and benefits of medical decisions
- Encourages informed decision-making
- Encourages Informed Consent and Refusal
- Help the client and her partner decide what they want to do
- Provides language interpretation if needed
- Encourages Client’s Religious/Spiritual Practices
- Advocates for Respect of Client’s Cultural Traditions
- Protects Client Privacy and Intimacy
- Ensure each mamababy is treated with kindness, dignity and respect
Recognize & Refer
Doula will educate client and refer to primary medical provider if there are:
- Danger signs of pregnancy/labor
- Danger signs of postpartum
- Danger signs in the newborn
Postpartum Doula Support
- Encourages and offers support to mother in breastfeeding her baby
- Instructs mother on how to care for herself after birth
- Provides emotional support to new mothers and partners or fathers
- Helps with meal preparation & baby laundry
- Teaches new parents how care for baby including bathing, diapering, swaddling, slinging, soothing
- Encourages mother to rest so she can recover from childbirth
- Encourages parents to reflect on their childbirth experience
- Encourages parents to find support if they are feeling sad and blue
- Educates about risks and benefits of newborn procedures (circumcision, etc.)
- Connects families to resources they need (i.e., breastfeeding support groups, prenatal yoga, etc.)
WHAT IS OFFERED IN THE HEALTH NET COMMUNITY DOULA PROGRAM
Three (3) one to two-hour prenatal visits will be provided during each trimester of pregnancy. Topics covered in these visits are:
- fetal development
- weight gain
- exercise guidelines
- information on sexuality during pregnancy,
- how the body works during labor
- pain medication options
- when to go to the hospital
- labor coping skills for laboring mothers and support techniques for birth partners
- emotional support and stress-relief methods.
- screening for maternal anxiety and depression will also be offered and referrals can be made if needed.
Labor and Birth Support
The Doula will go “on-call” 24-hours a day for the client from 36 weeks onward. When the client goes into labor, The Doula will meet the client at her home or the hospital. The Doula will provide:
- Emotional Support (encouragement, reassurance, compassion);
- Physical Comfort (i.e., position changes, massage, breathing, relaxation techniques, etc.);
- Informational Support (i.e., information on risks and benefits of medical procedures);
- Advocacy (helping client to speak with her medical providers about what she needs and wants during birth).
The Doula will provide three (3) one-to-two hour postpartum visits. Doulas will offer:
- Breastfeeding Support for Common Problems & Referrals if Necessary
- Instruct Parents on Newborn Care (Bathing, Swaddling, Diapering, Baby Wearing, etc.)
- Education on Newborn Appearance & Behavior
- Information on Newborn Medical Procedures and Screening Tests
- Instruction on Caring for Mother and Self-Care After Childbirth
- Screening for Maternal Depression and Referral if Needed
- Support for Father/Partners
OTHER SERVICES OFFERED
Father’s Discussion and Support Group
Fathers are invited to a monthly discussion and support group. Facilitated by an experienced father and educator, these sessions will provide fathers-to-be and new dads with answers to their concerns and questions. To register, contact Kofi Peprah. Learn more about the group.
Empowered Birth Choices Childbirth Preparation Classes
Pregnant women and their birth partners are invited to attend a 4-week series of Childbirth Preparation Classes. The classes meet for 3-1/2 hours each session once per week. These classes are offered throughout the program and are taught by Katrina Nelson, ICCE, Certified Childbirth Educator. Learn more about the classes.
Maternity and Infant Thrift Store
At our Happy Mama Healthy Baby Maternity and Infant Resale Store, parents can find maternity clothes, infant to 3 month. We have unique clothing, cloth diaper wraps, slings, etc. Located in our downtown office. Hours by appointment only. Donate or Buy today and support our Community Doula Program. Hours by appointment only.
Reading and Relaxation Room
We have a reading room with books on childbirth, pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting. Stop by and enjoy a cup of tea and read a book or watch a birth video while you sit in our deluxe massage chair. Kids are welcome! We have a children’s play area. Hours by appointment only.
Classes and Workshops
At our downtown office located at Mercado La Paloma, we offer classes of all types to our clients including yoga, newborn care, parents support groups, film nights and lectures, etc. Email us for the current schedule.
VISIT US ON LOCATION
We are located at Mercado La Paloma in downtown Los Angeles, near USC. Our address is:
3655 S. Grand Ave. (2nd Floor), Suite 260
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(626) 388-2191 ext. 2
Please call for appointment