Community-Based Doula Program
The Community-Based Doula Program is a unique, innovative program model that provides extended, intensive support to families throughout pregnancy, during labor and birth, and in the early months of parenting in communities that face high risks of negative birth and developmental outcomes.”
– Health Connect One from The Perinatal Revolution and Community Based Doulas (White Paper, 2014)
What is a Doula? | Benefits of Doula Support | About Community-Based Doulas | Making the Doula Connection | Health Connect One Video on Community-Based Doulas | Our Community-Based Doula Program | Contact Us
ANNOUNCING EXPANSION OF OUR COMMUNITY-BASED DOULA PROGRAM
In 2019, we are expanding our Community-Based Doula Program. In Partnership with Health Net, we will serve 150 pregnant African-American women and persons in Los Angeles County who have Health Net Medi-Cal. This pprogram seeks to address the persistent disparities in African-American birth outcomes such as prematurity, low birth weight, infant mortality, cesarean section, and maternal mortality among Health Net members through professional Doula Support.
VOLUNTEER AND LOW COST DOULA PROGRAM
We are currently accepting applications from Doulas who are new graduates of a Doula training who are seeking mentorship from seasoned Doulas. Certification is not necessary; and we can help you get the births for certification. Certified Doulas who are interested in volunteering to serve high-need populations such as foster teens, military families with partners on deployment, women with history of substance abuse, homeless women, pregnant women living in Domestic Violence shelters, incarcerated pregnant women, unemployed/under employed women, etc.
Click to Fill out Doula Application (you can attach documents here for application)
WATCH VIDEO FROM CHICAGO’S HEALTH CONNECT ONE ABOUT COMMUNITY-BASED DOULAS
What is a Doula?
Doula (“Doo-Lah”) is a Greek word that means “woman servant”. The Doula Mothers-the-Mother so she can give birth to her child joyfully. Across all times and cultures, women have always cared for other women during childbirth and immediately afterward. Today’s Doula is a professional labor companion who is part of the maternity care team.
Doulas provide education and emotional support and physical comfort to the birthing person and advocate for clients to have informed, respectful, safe and satisfying childbirth experiences.
There are two types of Doulas: Birth Doulas and Postpartum Doulas. Birth Doulas offer prenatal education during pregnancy, labor support during childbirth, and follow-up postpartum care to help with breastfeeding instruction and care of the new mother.The latter provides services from immediately after the birth to several weeks afterward. She may help with the care of the mother, support breastfeeding, instructing mother on newborn care, prepare meals, and light housekeeping, as well as help with siblings.
Pregnancy is not an illness, rather it is a special and unique time in the life of a woman with immense potential for self-growth. Childbirth is a sacred journey; a divine Rite of Passage which holds great potential for empowerment and transformation of birthing persons, their families, and communities.
We believe every woman should have access to information and resources and have emotional support during her perinatal period.
Benefits of Doula Support
Doula support is associated with the following outcomes:
- Fewer cesarean sections
- Decreased rates of induction and pain medication use
- Shorter labors
- Decreased postpartum depression
- Improved maternal-infant interaction and breastfeeding initiation.
About Community-Based Doula Programs
According to Health Connect One, a Chicago-based training, and advocacy organization, who promotes the role of community-based doulas:
“The Community-Based Doula Program is a unique, innovative program model that provides extended, intensive support to families throughout pregnancy, during labor and birth, and in the early months of parenting in communities that face high risks of negative birth and developmental outcomes. The presence and involvement of the community-based doula at birth distinguish this program from all other home visiting models. In addition, community-based doulas are of and from the communities being served. This program model combines culturally appropriate peer-to-peer support with a life course approach that focuses on the perinatal year and the early months of parenting, a sensitive period in which families have a unique openness to change, learning and growth. It represents a new approach to perinatal support: one that makes use of the power of relationships and the power of birth…The most compelling data findings were the high breastfeeding rates and low c-section rates achieved by the Community-Based Doula Programs implementing this model.”
To download the complete paper, click here: Health Connect One’s White Paper on the Role of Community-Based Doulas
Types of Doulas
About The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health (AWMNH)’s Community-Based Doula Program
Our Community-Based Doula Program provides prenatal, labor, postpartum and breastfeeding support for low-income pregnant women and persons. We specialize in working with clients who have Medi-Cal, and with special populations of pregnant persons such as teenagers, the incarcerated, and the homeless.
We also work with moderate income families who are insured but cannot afford to pay the full fee of a Doula. We work on a sliding scale, on a donation basis, so that “Every Family Can Have A Doula.”
Looking for a Doula? Click here to view our team of Los Angeles Doulas.
- Come from the same community as the women they serve and have the linguistic capability and cultural competency to work with specific ethnic groups and high-risk women and teens.
- Work with clients from early pregnancy up to 8-weeks postpartum providing home-visitation, assessment of the mother and newborn, support for breastfeeding, and education and referrals.
- Are Community Health Promoters (“Promatoras de Salud“) who have in-depth knowledge of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and intraconception health.
- Are caring and trusted companions providing social support throughout the perinatal period. This intensive support may reduce social stressors associated with preterm labor for persons at high risk for preterm labor such as African-American women and teenagers. Social support has been shown to be highly protective for preterm labor among high-risk populations such as African-Americans and adolescents.
- Support health behavior change, provide health education and help clients navigate the health care system, increasing access to timely, professional maternity and newborn care.
- Empower clients throughout the childbearing year and between pregnancies promoting healthy lifestyles. This may help to reduce stressors which contribute to poor pregnancy outcomes due to obesity, diabetes, smoking, poor dietary habits, trauma, stress, etc.
- Objectives for maternal-infant health are impacted by childbirth practices. In spite of spending far more money per capita on maternity and newborn care than any other country, the United States falls behind most industrialized countries in perinatal morbidity and mortality, and maternal mortality is four times greater for African-American women than for Euro-American women;
- Midwives attend the vast majority of births in those industrialized countries with the best perinatal outcomes, yet in the United States, midwives are the principal attendants at only a small percentage of births;
- Current maternity and newborn practices that contribute to high costs and inferior outcomes include the inappropriate application of technology and routine procedures that are not based on scientific evidence;
- Increased dependence on technology has diminished confidence in women’s innate ability to give birth without intervention;
- The integrity of the mother-child relationship, which begins in pregnancy, is compromised by the obstetrical treatment of mother and baby as if they were separate units with conflicting needs;
- Although breastfeeding has been scientifically shown to provide optimum health, nutritional, and developmental benefits to newborns and their mothers, only a fraction of U.S. mothers are fully breastfeeding their babies by the age of six weeks. Increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration in the United States is one of the Healthy People 2020 objectives for the public’s health. Breastfeeding has numerous benefits for mothers and children including lowering rates of infant mortality and morbidity, enhances bonding between mother and infant, and decreases women’s risk of breast, cervical and uterine cancer. -From the preamble to the MFCI by CIMS.
Want to Join our Team?
If you are a Doula and would like to join our team, please contact Debbie Benton, Doula Program Coordinator for an application and interview. We are currently accepting applications for Birth and Postpartum Doulas and Perinatal Support Specialists. Birth Workers of Color and persons with bi-lingual skills (Spanish, Mandarin, French, Swahili, African languages) are encouraged to apply.
Our Community-Based Doula Program is funded by Health Net.
RESOURCES FOR DOWNLOAD
Click here to view our team of Los Angeles Doulas
Download PDF: Doulas for BIRTH Mother Mentor Program
Download PDF: Summary of Literature Community-Based Doulas