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Can Doulas Help Close the Racial Gap in Maternal Health Outcomes?

Start Early’s Diana McClarien and Patricia Ceja-Muhsen share how doulas can help address systemic inequities for Black mothers.

February 15, 2021
  • Start Early News
  • Equity
  • Health and Development
  • Press Coverage

Racial inequities embedded in our current health care system make prenatal and maternal health care less accessible and less responsive to Black mothers regardless of their socio-economic status.

In a recent Block Club Chicago article exploring how doulas can help even the playing field in maternal health for women of color, Denise Cain — a mother in Start Early’s (formerly known as the Ounce) Healthy Parents & Babies program — spoke about how she benefitted from having a doula guide her through her second pregnancy and postpartum care.

“Support from a doula — who is trained to advise and offer emotional and physical support to mothers before and after birth — can make a big difference in the unequal health outcomes women of color face,” Diana McClarien, vice president of Start Early’s Early Head Start & Head Start Network shared in the piece.

In the piece, Start Early doula Patricia Ceja-Muhsen explains how doulas help inform women about all the different choices they can make, empowering them to have more control over their pregnancy and birthing process. She also adds that doulas can make sure doctors listen, address all of an expecting mom’s concerns and fully inform women about their options and the care they are receiving.

Start Early’s direct-service programs provide critical supports to young parents for building strong relationships with their baby and creating a safe and stimulating home environment. It is programs like these that can ensure all new moms and babies, including Black moms and babies, receive the quality physical and emotional care they need and deserve.

Read the full article at Block Club Chicago.

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