Community-Based Doula Program

Commuity-based doula programs: the power of peer-to-peer support!

Community-based doula programs dramatically increase breastfeeding rates and decrease c-section rates – by providing extended, intensive peer-to-peer support to families throughout pregnancy, during labor and birth, and into the early postpartum period. They are a mitigating factor for maternal mortality, and for many other risks to birthing families, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color.
The Community-Based Doula Program Model succeeds because doulas are of and from the same community as their clients and are able to bridge language and cultural barriers for optimal health and well-being.  This is the only home visiting program model in the U.S. in which a home visitor is present at the birth.
Would you like to talk about how this program might look in your community, or how it might integrate into your organization’s existing programs?

National Recognition

The Community-Based Doula Program is featured in the 2018 Home Visiting Yearbook published by the National Home Visiting Resource Center, and was recognized as a Best Practice by the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) in 2016.

Five Essential Components of the Community Based Doula Model:

Employ women who are trusted members of the target community

Extend and intensify the role of doula with families from early pregnancy through the first months postpartum

Collaborate with community stakeholders/institutions and use a diverse team approach

Facilitate experiential learning using popular education techniques and the HC One training curriculum

Value the doulas’ work with salary, supervision and support

Watch a short video about Community-Based Doula programs

We’re bringing back this video from a few years back to illustrate the strong relationships and shared experiences that are the foundation of community-based doula programs.

The impacts of HealthConnect One and the community-based doula model are transformative. There is no greater work in our communities than building stronger families and advocating for the health and wellness of the youngest members.

Cheryl Hunter
Author of Understanding Doulas and Childbirth: Women, Love, and Advocacy, New York: Palgrave Macmillan
mapping the perinatal journey diagram

Positive Outcomes

Community-Based Doula Programs improve infant health, strengthen families,
and establish supports to ensure ongoing family success.

Improved prenatal care

Increased breastfeeding rates

Fewer medical interventions

Fewer c-section deliveries

Increased parent-child interaction

More positive birth experiences

Improved parenting skills

Community-Based Doulas and Breastfeeding Duration

The breastfeeding rates of mothers served by a Community-Based Doula Program are astounding. Not only do mothers breastfeed, they also breastfeed for much longer than what is typically seen in similar populations. According to The Perinatal Revolution, breastfeeding duration among both Black and Hispanic mothers served by community-based doulas were significantly higher than PRAMS benchmarks.

Black or African American Mothers

  • Community Based Doula Participants

Hispanic Mothers

  • Community Based Doula Participants

Community-Based Doula Stories

  • HC One Trains Emerging Birth Workers In Milwaukee, WI

    During this pandemic, HealthConnect One (HC One) continues to provide training and consulting to organizations across the country. The rise in COVID-19 cases makes community-based doulas, even more, important in supporting moms and babies especially “pregnant Latina and Black women who are infected at significantly higher rates than white women.”  Data shows that community-based doulas

    July 28, 2020
  • Report focuses on midwifery model

    Similar to community-based doula programs and policies, midwifery-based models face a lack of understanding and support. Aiming to change that is a May study by Institute for Medicaid Innovation that reports “Hospitals that incorporate midwives have a 74% lower rate of labor induction and a 12% lower rate of cesarean deliveries.”   The IMI is

    May 20, 2020
  • Reports highlight community-based doulas’ role vs. maternal health crisis

    One new report out of Washington, D.C. highlights that racism is the driving force of disparities in maternal mortality and doulas and midwives are key to the solution. Another from a Native women-led organization in New Mexico analyzes the living-wage pay scale of, and recommends a greater role for, community-based doulas.  Taken together, both reports

    April 30, 2020
  • New Webinar: April 30 – Supporting Birthing Families During COVID-19

    Update: here’s a video of the webinar featuring Dalvery Blackwell presenting on African-American Breastfeeding Network’s birth work in Milwaukee during COVID-19.     COVID-19 virus has been deemed a public health pandemic by the World Health Organization in January. During this time, birthing communities of color and African-American families need continuity of support, affirmation and

    April 1, 2020

Contact our National Program Director to discuss
how this model can work in your community:

Jeretha McKinley