Currently the only Community Doula program in the state, this pilot is an initiative of SPAN’s
Improving Pregnancy Outcomes (IPO)
program, which is funded by the NJ Department of Health (NJ DOH), Division of Family Health Services. It is based on an understanding that improving birth outcomes and reducing disparities in infant and maternal mortality requires a systems approach that has been modeled in cities and states across the country.
Community doulas provide non-clinical, emotional, physical and culturally responsive support before, during, and after pregnancy. With a community doula:
- Women need fewer medical interventions
- Women have decreased risks of having a Caesarean
- Women use less pain medication
- Women have shorter labors
- Mothers and their infants are more likely to have increased bonding
- Mothers feel happier about their labors
- Infants' APGAR scores tend to be higher
Study after study has shown that mothers supported by doulas are more likely to breastfeed their newborns, exclusively breastfeed, and continue breastfeeding.