Community Doula Connection Program
Birthing Families Foundation Community Doula Connection Program connects equity deserving families with perinatal doula support, food security and resources to fill the gaps in the current perinatal health care system.
Through close collaboration with community partners such as; HerWay, Islanders Working Against Violence (IWAV), and local Midwives, we receive referrals to support vulnerable families for whom the cost of a doula would be a barrier.
Community Doula Connection program doulas support prenatally, during birth and postpartum, with food security and alternate community referrals for families when additional support is needed.
What is a Doula?
Doulas work with pregnant people to help them experience care that is individualized, safe, healthy, and equitable. Doulas can be particularly beneficial for women of color and women from low-income and underserved communities and can help reduce health disparities by ensuring that pregnant people who face the greatest risks have the added support they need. But for people in low-income communities, doula care is often out of reach due to financial constraints and the limited availability of doulas in their communities.
Doulas serve as a navigator for families traversing the healthcare system. Their presence creates accountability within the system and it shifts the inherent power imbalance by giving the birthing family a teammate whose primary role is taking care of them and isn’t tied into the system. Also, doulas operate on the margins, and as a relationship has been built over time, there is greater likelihood that families will confide in doulas and reach out for help, as opposed to navigating a complex health care system where fears lay in their being judged as an inadequate caregiver.
Why we want to help.
Doulas often volunteer their time to support families who cannot afford a doula. This is problematic as “care work”, which is arduous and usually left to women, continues to demand that women work for free or are undercompensated for their time. We will address the sexist imbalance of women doing “Care work” on a volunteer basis by paying our doulas a fair and living wage.
What are equity deserving families?
This program provides essential support for marginalized and at-risk childbearing families. BFF serves the families who are most at risk for poor maternal and infant health outcomes.
In Canada/BC today marginalized, low income, BIPOC and immigrant families are at much greater risk of health disparity such as increased risk of maternal mortality, infant mortality, and postnatal depression amongst other negative birth outcomes due to systemic racism, lack of resources and power structures in the healthcare system. This not only leads to the further breakdown to the family unit and intergenerational trauma but also to increased costs and burden on the health care system.
How doulas benefit the healthcare system.
The benefit of doula care to the Canadian Health Care system shows up primarily in how it helps reduce a mother’s need for prolonged health care and therefore reduces health expenditures.The average cost of a vaginal birth in BC ranges from $1,898 to $3,328 (Optimal Birth, 2016). When a birth requires a cesarean delivery that cost rises to between $3,308 to $5,511 (Optimal Birth, 2016). With doulas decreasing the odds of a woman giving birth by c-section (Simkin, 2012), this contributes to a significant reduction in birth related expenditures.