FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2023
Milwaukee Health Department’s BOMB Doula Program Celebrates World Doula Week
MILWAUKEE – World Doula Week is celebrated annually from March 22 through March 28. This worldwide celebration of doulas is an opportunity to empower and educate on the important physiological, emotional, and psychological support doulas provide to women and birthing people.
A doula is a non-medically trained professional that works with pregnant families during the perinatal journey, through the birth, and can provide postpartum support. The doula’s primary goal is to ensure the birthing person has a positive birth experience. They provide educational, emotional, physical, and spiritual support to clients and their partners. Working collaboratively with the birthing person, a doula is able to assist with creating a birth plan, discussing patient rights, and providing comfort measures during labor, such as massage and aromatherapy.
There are a lot of similarities between doulas and midwives but some very important differences. The important distinction is that midwives are trained to perform medical tasks, like testing, cervical exams, and delivering babies. Their concern is the health and safety of the parent and the baby. A doula, on the other hand, is solely focused on the birthing person’s emotional and physical well-being without doing any hands-on medical tasks.
The Milwaukee Health Department’s BOMB (Birth Outcomes Made Better) Doula program was created in 2019 to support healthy pregnancies and nurture healthy babies in the city of Milwaukee. After overcoming challenges during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has continued to see growth. Since its inception, the program has served 171 Milwaukee families. By May 1, 2023, the program will consist of a program manager, coordinator, four Milwaukee Health Department doulas, and two community doulas.
Services through the BOMB Doula program are available to any city of Milwaukee resident who is at or before 30 weeks pregnant. Clients who participate will have a doula through birth and 12 weeks postpartum. The doula services through the Milwaukee Health Department are available at no cost to the families and don’t require health insurance coverage.
“The health disparities present throughout pregnancy and childbirth, especially for Black women, are substantial. Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes,” said BOMB Doula Program Manager Christina Drain. “Evidence shows that community-based doula programs can reduce or eliminate health disparities by providing support to women most at risk for poor outcomes. By creating opportunities for education and providing an advocate for the mother’s health, we can directly impact healthy births in Milwaukee.”
Any city of Milwaukee resident interested in learning more can visit the BOMB Doula page on the Milwaukee Health Department website and fill out a referral form, or call the program directly at 414-286-8620.