March marks the second celebration of Community Doula Week, an awareness campaign highlighting the unique role that doulas play in the health of mothers and babies. A doula is a trained professional who supports expecting and new mothers at each stage of pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. Doulas do not deliver babies but do serve as advocates, supporting mothers in developing birthing plans, attending the delivery and following up to monitor mom’s wellbeing. Evidence shows that the involvement of a doula results in lower, unnecessary birth interventions including fewer c-sections.
Nurture KC is offering doula services to 25 mothers in our Healthy Start program, courtesy of a grant from Health Forward Foundation. As we continually seek ways to improve birth outcomes for the families we serve, providing doulas is vital to our mission. Since we began in September, 20 mothers are receiving doula services through two local doulas, one who is English-speaking and one who is Spanish-speaking. The popularity of the program has exceeded our expectations, demonstrating the importance of this integral piece in the birth process.
In addition to direct doula services, Nurture KC seeks to build access so that more women may benefit. To that end, we are investing in training three of our community health workers and two Healthy Start participants as doulas. The foundation that has been laid this year takes the concept of doula awareness and transforms it into a critical tool for serving mothers and babies.
Executive Director, Nurture KC