Community-Based Doula Program

Black doula coaching a Black woman on how to breastfeed in office setting

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 peer-to-peer relationship and continuity of care knit a fabric of support around the family, which has broad and deep impact on a variety of outcomes.

Five essential components

HealthConnect One’s community-based doula programs rely on five essential components:

  1. Employ women who are trusted members of the target community
  2. Extend and intensify the role of doula with families from early pregnancy through the first months postpartum
  3. Collaborate with community stakeholders/institutions and use a diverse team approach
  4. Facilitate experiential learning using popular education techniques and the HealthConnect One training curriculum
  5. Value the doula’s work with salary, supervision and support

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.

What do Community-Based Doulas do?

Community-based doulas provide culturally sensitive pregnancy and childbirth education, early linkage to health care and other services; labor coaching, breast- feeding promotion and counseling, and parenting education, while encouraging parental attachment. 

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
photo of AMCHP article

HealthConnect One’s 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.

Recent Community-Based Doula articles

See all Community-Based Doula Articles

quotation mark image

I could not have made the link between doula work and social justice work without the wonderful people of HealthConnect One. They taught me about race and class and birth. They gave me a health equity lens through which to view my biases, my assumptions. They taught me how to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. They pushed me, made me go outside my comfort zone, and then held my hand and said you are not alone. We are doing this together. 

Georg’ann Catellona, doula