As I waited for the birth of my now ten-year-old son, my doula was an important part of my birth team. Although it was my second childbirth experience, it was the first time I was doing it at home. I still remember how incredibly supportive she was, sharing pain management techniques and words of encouragement that kept me calm during an otherwise scary time. So much so that by the time my son arrived, I felt like I had made a new best friend.
Derived from the Greek word meaning “a woman who serves,” doulas are professionally-trained coaches who assist parents through the birthing process. Whether giving birth in the hospital, at home or at a birthing center, doulas act as advocates for mothers during their labor and delivery. They can also assist in the postpartum period with breastfeeding support and light housework.
According to the Mayo Clinic, women labor with doulas by their side have a decreased incidence of C-sections, a shorter labor period and are less likely to have a negative childbirth experience. We’ve rounded up some Black doulas who are working to help mothers around the country feel safe and supported during childbirth.