Doula Services for African American / Black Identifying Pregnant Individuals

Iowa Department of Public Health used a health equity lens and collaborated with African American / Black – identified community members and local maternal health experts to develop a culturally appropriate, community-based doula program.

What is a doula?
doula is a companion who supports a birthing person during prenatal period, labor, and postpartum. Doulas are trained to provide continuous, one-on-one care, as well as information, physical support, and emotional support to birthing persons and their partners.

What does a doula do?
Prenatal Period: Provides prenatal education, preparing families to make educated, well informed birthing and parenting choices.
Birthing: Provides physical and emotional support during labor and delivery, increasing their feelings of safety and comfort. They provide non-medical pain management techniques that decrease the need for unnecessary and expensive medical interventions. Doulas also facilitate positive communication between the birthing person and their health care providers.
Postpartum Period: Helps initiate breastfeeding and enhances a family’s confidence in caring for a newborn. Long-term doula care provides support and education for infant nutrition and health. They also serve as a source of information and referrals for a wide variety of needs.