Doula Program Announced in San Francisco

Supporting the announcement at San Francisco City Hall.

On September 4th, 2018 San Francisco President of the Board of Supervisors’ Malia Cohen announced the launch of the City’s Doula Program, creating access to culturally relevant doula services for families in San Francisco most at risk maternal mortality and premature birth.

This new program is a partnership between the San Francisco Department of Public Health and SisterWeb, a San Francisco-based community doula network that trains, supports and sustains doulas from marginalized communities. We're proud to stand with our San Francisco Collective Impact to prevent preterm birth partners, Expecting Justice, who have spearheaded the work for this important change with Supervisor Cohen. The program will begin phasing into effect in January 2019, and aims to improve access to doula services for the families at highest risk of poor birth outcomes in an effort to support healthy births in San Francisco.

Learn More About SisterWeb

Recent research of Black women conducted in San Francisco and other Bay Area counties revealed that most women from these communities felt disrespected, stereotyped, and coerced throughout their maternity care interactions. Currently Black and Pacific Islander women are disproportionately impacted by adverse medical outcomes in birth, in addition to high instances of maternal mortality and preterm birth. Black women make up just five percent of birthing mothers in San Francisco. But black babies make up 23 percent of all infant deaths in the city.

“Research shows that a patient advocate such as a doula, is one intervention that can change these outcomes and reduce unnecessary medical intervention during birth,” said President Cohen. “This program is innovative because it does not just train doulas, but offers ongoing mentorship, professional development, reflective practice, and community-building for its collective of doulas. It is imperative that we show up and support women and their options for healthy births at this juncture.”

See coverage of the announcement from CBS, here.