Baby Dove is teaming up with a Brooklyn-based doula service to provide Black mothers with the best healthcare during pregnancy. On Sept. 12, the company announced the launch of their new doula campaign, spearheaded by Ancient Song Doula Services co-founder, Chanel Porchia-Albert. The exciting program aims to equip future doulas with the education needed to provide quality health care to Black mothers in need. Additionally, the program will help to raise awareness about some of the maternal health conditions impacting Black mothers today, from post-partum depression to life-threatening conditions like pre-eclampsia.
Under the new campaign, Baby Dove’s Black Birth Equity Fund will raise their initial investment of $250,000 to $500,000 to help Black expecting mothers access critical doula services. Porchia-Albert will also lead the Dear Doula content series, which will provide Black mothers with answers to common pregnancy-related questions regarding the labor and delivery process, postpartum care and doula services.
“Partnering with Baby Dove allows me to have a broader range and answer people’s questions,” Porchia-Albert told Essence during an interview. “And the Black Equity Fund is another way to help make doula services even more accessible to everyone.” Ancient Song is a national birth justice organization that has been working to eliminate maternal and infant mortality and morbidity among Black and Latinx people since 2008.
Having a doula can reduce the need for risky delivery procedures
Porchia-Albert, who left her corporate job to become a full-time doula in 2008, said that providing Black mothers with doula care will give them a voice during the pregnancy process.
“A doula comes in having the knowledge around medical procedures and understanding the language that is being spoken in the room,” she said. “There is a space of power and privilege that happens within the birthing room, and having a doula there allows for the centering of a person’s humanity and their voice. This prevents some of the things that may normally happen to women from happening.”
The maternal health care crisis continues to impact Black mothers. Studies show that Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications due to underlying chronic health conditions, bias and inadequate healthcare. Black women are often recommended to undergo c-sections to prevent complications from vaginal delivery but bleeding and haemorrhaging can also lead to fatal health risks. According to Open Democracy, Black women receive c-sections at a 35.9 percent higher rate than white women. Fortunately, Black mammas can drastically reduce the need for c-sections and epidurals by including a doula in their delivery plan.
During an interview with Every Mother Counts in 2014, the mother of six, said that she was inspired to step into the doula industry after a visit to a regular OB-GYN left her feeling uncomfortable about the traditional medical system’s delivery process.
“I wanted a more personable approach where I didn’t feel like a number,” Porchia-Albert said. The doula expert hired a midwife and doula, who she said helped her to have a “wonderful” delivery experience at home. Now, the women’s reproductive advocate wants to educate other mothers who may benefit from doula services.
“At that time I was working in corporate America and my insurance covered my home birth. I didn’t have to worry about the costs associated with it. Then I started to think about all of the women like me who don’t know about this option; women who have to go to free clinics where they wait four or five hours for a ten-minute visit,” she continued. “So many women don’t receive the information they need to make informed decisions about their care. Instead of having the authority to have full rights over their bodies… That’s what really pushed me into this kind of work.”
You can read more about the Doula campaign here.
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