“Until there is racial equity for Black mothers, doulas—when they are accessible—are an additional layer of advocacy filling a void missing in today's healthcare. In some cases, doulas are relieving some of the stressors that have a direct impact on the health of a fetus. They are supporting the government and medical practices to reduce postpartum depression and infant mortality, and thus saving Black lives.” – Christine Michel Carter, Parents Magazine
Kairis Chiaji: For years, I have been known as the Doula in Heels to the Sacramento community. However, not everyone understands what the role of a doula entails. As I meet with my “mamas” to see if we can work together, including the Maternal Child Health Equity program with Blue Shield, I help provide some much-needed background on how I can help them and their loved ones during their entire pregnancy journey. Here’s where I start…
A doula’s role:
- Birth doulas help you during your “perinatal” experience— they are present during pregnancy, labor, and as you transition into the “fourth trimester,” or post-partum. Our purpose is to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience.
- Doulas receive community health advocate and family-centered training so that they can assist with holistic support. We do not provide medical care. Our services provide evidence-based education so clients understand medical procedures; can ask questions to assess alternative options in managing their birth; and orientations of hospital protocols so mothers can make informed choices with their care.
- Birth doulas are not just for the mother and child—we assist the whole family. We ensure that everyone involved is supported and informed of the options at hand.
- Birth doulas reduce the need for interventions and improve birth outcomes. Births do not always go to plan, but doulas are present to help facilitate shared decision-making when situations change.
To learn more about how this doula-patient relationship works, please view this piece from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association