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Community Doula Program - About Us

About Us


Note: In 2006 the CDP merged with a strategic partner; this page is kept for historical purposes only.

Doula is an ancient Greek term that has come to mean "mothering the mother"; a Doula is a trained labor assistant. The mission of the Community Doula Program was to educate and nurture expectant youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods, by cultivating a network of peer Doulas from the community itself.

The purpose of the Community Doula Program was twofold. The primary objective was to provide integrated education, hands-on assistance and support during pregnancy, labor and birth, breastfeeding and early motherhood through Doulas. The second objective was to cultivate a network of trained, peer Doulas from the communities served.

The Community Doula Program recruited and trained young mothers to serve as mentors to at-risk pregnant teens and young mothers from their own community. These mentors, called Doulas, helped young expectant mothers develop and maintain healthy lifestyles during pregnancy, breastfeeding and early motherhood through in-depth integrated educational sessions and emotional support.

The program's three distinguishing characteristics were: 1) in-depth integrated basic education spanning the range of issues a young mother needs to be informed about from nutrition, to pregnancy and labor, breastfeeding and early child care; 2) integration of education and emotional support, particularly labor support at the hospital; and 3) training and mentoring of women from the community itself, providing culturally-sensitive services and creating a lasting multiplier effect as Doulas remain in the communities helping others for a long time.

We provided six key integrated services: 1) Classes on pregnancy & nutrition, labor & birth, breastfeeding and early child care and development; 2) One-on-one support throughout pregnancy; 3) Labor support at the hospital; 4) Hands-on breastfeeding counseling and support; 5) Post-partum and post-partum depression assistance (in collaboration with other agencies); 6) Recruitment and training of peer Doulas.

It is not only important to provide teenage women with prenatal education throughout their pregnancy, it is also important to provide support during pregnancy and labor so the birthing and parenting process can be a positive one for them, with stronger mother-child bonds and positive role models the young women can relate to. Because of the integrated in-depth information and personal attention, women felt strengthened and empowered to start asking questions and assuming the responsibility of their child's development and family health.

By training Doulas who remain in the community, not only do we helped keep the women healthy and taught them to take care of their families in the long-term, but we also improved the effectiveness of interactions with the healthcare system, where language barriers and cultural differences can often lead to inadequate care. Doulas received extensive classroom and hands-on training focused on preventive health and entrepreneurial skills. They remain in the communities served referring and helping neighbors and friends, thereby creating a lasting multiplier effect.

Contact us · www.communitydoula.org · webweaver