HealthConnect One's® Community-Based Doula Program

Last updated: 2015

Model overview

Theoretical approach

The Community-Based Doula Program connects underserved women to doulas, members of the local community trained to provide support during pregnancy, delivery, and the early postpartum period. Doulas serve as a liaison between families and the health care system, aiming to connect families to resources and bridge language and cultural barriers. The model is based on the belief that intervening during this period can foster women’s confidence and create long-term support networks.

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Model services

Doulas establish an ongoing relationship with mothers beginning in pregnancy and continuing during the early postpartum period. Doulas conduct home visits, accompany women to prenatal appointments, and are present during labor, delivery, and in the first few postpartum hours to provide physical and emotional support. Community-based doulas use a list of priority topics to plan home visits. During prenatal home visits, doulas assess families’ needs and strengths, help them develop a birth plan, promote positive health behaviors, and facilitate access to prenatal care and other resources. Postpartum visits focus on supporting breastfeeding; fostering positive parent-child interactions; providing information on infant development, care, and safety; and referring mothers to community resources to address other health or environmental concerns. Other services may include telephone calls and center-based classes and parenting groups.

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Intended population

HC One’s Community-Based Doula Program targets underserved, low-income pregnant women. Local sites can further refine the target population based on their communities’ needs, by focusing, for example, on teenagers, tribal communities, non-English speaking immigrants, or women undergoing addiction treatment.

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Where to find out more

Jeretha McKinley
National Program Director
HealthConnect One
Phone: (404) 798-7718

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