The Parents as Teachers Show Me Strong Families affiliate is proud to introduce its five certified Black doulas. What is a doula: A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to an expectant mother throughout the pregnancy, during labor, and in the weeks following the birth. A supportive member of a birthing team, they work to improve health outcomes.
Parents as Teachers’ five certified doulas help lower prematurity, maternal-infant morbidity, and mortality through a network of health professionals and peers and have supported moms in delivering 26 babies to date. They recently provided service to a mother who gave birth on National Parents as Teachers Day. His name is Jace. Baby Jace was born on November 8 and weighed in at 4lbs and 10 oz. He has two older brothers ages 3 and 6. The family has participated in SMSF in Normandy, Missouri since July of 2020. Mom received prenatal visits from her doula and will receive postpartum visits as well.
Black women are more at risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth,” said doula Robin Lloyd, a lead parent educator at the Parents as Teachers National Center. “Parents as Teachers’ certified doulas provide culturally competent, comprehensive midwifery and doula care through pregnancy, birth and postpartum, as well as social, physical, and emotional wellness support so families can thrive.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black women are dying at roughly three times the rate of white women in birth-related deaths. That statistic gets direr with age. According to Trusted Source.org, Black women over age 30, are four to five times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.
According to research conducted by the Center for American Progress, predominantly Black neighborhoods are still hard-pressed for quality grocery stores, well-funded health centers and hospitals, and consistent health coverage. Many might assume the disparity is primarily an economic issue. That’s not true. According to the CDC, Black mothers with a college degree are 5.2 times more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts.
“The lack of safety in birth affects every Black mother, from Olympic champion Serena Williams to the high school educated young woman giving birth,” Lloyd said.
Black women of all socioeconomic backgrounds are facing life or death challenges. Blackness appears to be the only commonality that decreases a birthing person’s chance at a healthy pregnancy and delivery. If she’s Black and birthing, she may be in the fight of her life.
Making doula care readily available may help improve Black maternal health in pregnancy and delivery. It’s clear that providing Black women with support in pregnancy and postpartum increases their chances of a healthy birth for both mom and baby.