Community-based Doula Project

The Cause

The Community-Based Doula Project is a collaboration between local Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA) trainer Sonya Duffee, Espirito Edmonton, and Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative.
By training multicultural health brokers and others from different cultural community organizations to become Certified Labour Doulas, Edmonton’s need for community-based doula’s who provide free, culturally relevant labour and delivery doula support services to pregnant mothers can be met.
Community-based doulas meet the needs of women experiencing social and economic barriers; they are doulas that are skilled at providing culturally relevant, trauma informed, empowering social, emotional, and informational support during and after pregnancies and during labour and delivery.
Currently Edmonton does not have any community-based doula services. This would be a new and much needed service in Edmonton.
Through this collaboration the Community-Based Doula Project will allow for health brokers and service providers from cultural community organizations to be trained, mentored, and supported to become Certified Labour Doulas. Those who are part of this program will meet monthly to learn and support each other through the process of becoming certified doulas and also be assisted with feedback and support from a certified doula trainer.
Being a Certified Labour Doula will add further knowledge, and experience to the crucial support that frontline workers already provide to expectant women and families.

Evidence-based research and reports have found that community-based doulas and programs help to reduce unnecessary medical interventions, increase the initiation and retention of breast-feeding rates, and decrease stress related to language barriers and cultural differences. Research has also found that doula support is directly linked to reduced rates of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Who Will it Benefit?

The Community Doula Project will benefit pregnant newcomer and immigrant women and their families by being provided with doulas that provide culturally relevant support during their entire pregnancy, labour and delivery, and post birth. Certified community-based doula support extends beyond the standard 6-week postpartum period.

The roots of the Multicultural Health Brokers’ work are planted in our Perinatal Health program. For almost 2 decades, we have been celebrating expectant and new parents and their families.
We form relationships with families through facilitated pre-natal classes and group sessions; we provide caring support to individuals through pre-natal, post-natal, and early parenting; and we help families access Alberta Health Services Health for Two resources. The trust we build with families begins with our pre-natal health support for families.

• Supports 16% of all births in the Edmonton region
• Serves 23 cultural/language communities
• Offers inter-cultural competency training for government organizations, service providers, and companies
• Supports culturally-responsive practice and policy development in government and community organizations
• Focuses on prevention, and broad determinants of health

Doula certification organizations and associations, local community service providers, and health professionals, are also given the opportunity to learn about racial disparities in pre/post natal health services and health care, and the benefits of providing certified community-based doula support to at-risk, low-income, and newcomer communities.