Doulas Are Essential Project
Here in Northeast Florida, many of the local hospitals have instituted policies that prevent doulas from assisting birthing persons. This is sure to have a tremendous effect on maternal and neonatal outcomes over the course of the year.
What can you do?
We need your help! Our voices together can make a difference.
sign our petition
We’ve created a petition on change.org to attempt to get the attention of those in charge of these policies. Your signatures can make a difference.
submit a video clip for our community video project
We are currently collecting short video clips of local mothers, fathers, doulas, midwives, therapists, and other birthworkers to compile into a collaborative effort to document how crucial doulas are to maternal and infant health, and how NOT having access to a doula is affecting local birthing persons.
We want to hear YOUR voice!
Did you give birth in a local hospital during this pandemic, and do you think a doula could have been beneficial?
If you’ve had a doula attend your birth at some point in the past, how do you feel their expertise affected your birth experience?
Are you a birthworker or healthcare provider who is concerned about the lack of doula support in our local hospitals? We want to hear from you too. How are these restrictive policies affecting the families you support?
And finally, are you a doula? We want to hear from you too. We know how much you love the families you serve, and we want to hear why you do what you do, and why you’re so frustrated with these policies.
So, here’s what we need from you.
Please record a brief (3 minutes or less) video of yourself – real life, messy hair is fine, kids in the background is fine, but clear sound without background noises, and a somewhat uncluttered background may help the editing process (but also, life with children is messy, and we understand that 1000%)
You can record this on your phone, webcam, whatever.
Begin by introducing yourself. Your name (first name is fine) and your title (mom of 3, doula, midwife, pediatrician, lactation consultant, etc.)
Tell us how you feel. It’s okay to get emotional.
Finally, upload your video here, and our team will contact you once we’ve added you to the video project!
Thank you for adding your voice!
support our mission
Your donations to the North Florida Birth Alliance, a 501c3 organization dedicated to improving birth in the North Florida area, help us to provide necessary support to local families through our Birth Equity Fund.
Thank you for your kindness and generosity.
An excerpt from the petition and letter we sent to local hospitals, policymakers, and representatives:
Birthing in the time of a pandemic has left families overwhelmed with anxiety and fear beyond what is expected in pregnancy and birth.
Continuous labor support from a trained professional like a doula has been proven to have positive outcomes for families.
Research provides evidence that continuous, one-on-one birthing support from a doula reduces the risks of dissatisfying or traumatic birth experiences, unplanned Cesarean birth and presents improved Apgar scores that assess a newborn’s health immediately after birth. (Bohren, M.A., et al. 2017)
Also, evidence indicates that these health benefits to mother and child are reached with the support of a doula who is NOT a hospital staff member or NOT a part of the social network of the birthing person such as a partner or family member.
However, with policies such as “one support person” families are having to make the impossible choice between having loved ones by their side during birth and having the trained professionals they have hired to support them through one of the most important experiences in their lives.
The mental impact of such a traumatic experience can later develop into a mental health disorder, Postpartum Depression being the number one complication of childbirth. [theBlueDotProject.org]
“Doulas provide a bridge in the maternity care gap” as stated by the International Childbirth Education Association in an article titled “Role and Scope of Birth Doula”.
AWHONN, acknowledges in an update April 8, 2020, that “health officials are now citing evidence that the coronavirus is resulting in higher mortality rates in the African American community. We already know that maternal mortality rates are also disproportionately higher as well for this community. We hope that this data begins a new era of awareness of healthcare inequities and that proper solutions can be identified and addressed.”
We seek to bring awareness to this inequity in our healthcare system and find community support for bringing doulas back into the birthing room. Now, more than ever, we need to prioritize better birth outcomes for long term health of the mother and child.