If you’re an expecting mom, you might have a lot of questions. Pregnancy and motherhood are no small task, but with the proper support, you can navigate this season of life certain that you’re doing what’s best for you and baby. One of the best ways expecting moms can equip themselves with the tools they need for a happy and healthy birth is through the utilization of a Doula. Through Children’s Futures, women of color can access free Doula care to aid them through prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care.

Through the Trenton Community Doula Program, expecting mothers can be paired with a Doula to help them learn more about the birthing process, go through a variety of coping skills and comfort measures, and review typical birthing procedures. This program was established to help address the high rates of Black Infant Mortality in the Trenton area. To date, the program has served over 100 women. Currently, the program has 16 Doulas of color available to help program participants. If you’re an expecting mother and wish to participate in this program, please contact Ashley Neblett at (609) 695-1977 for additional details.

So what is a Doula? A Doula is defined as a certified individual who provides continuous emotional, physical, and informational support to women throughout the duration of their pregnancy. From prenatal to postpartum, Doulas are available to help moms have the best experience possible with pregnancy and childbirth. Per a 2017 Cochrane Database Systematic Review, “Continuous support in labor may improve a number of outcomes for both [the birthing person] and baby, and no adverse outcomes have been identified. Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the [person’s] own network, is experienced in providing labor support, and has at least a modest amount of training (such as a doula), appears beneficial.”

Services for women of color are of critical importance to assure a more equitable and positive birthing experience. New Jersey currently ranks 47th in the country for its high infant mortality rate, and black mothers are seven times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers. Addressing these stark disparities is a critical first step in making labor and delivery a safer and more rewarding experience. Children’s Futures has stepped in to fill this void, noting that “the expressed goal is to reduce this phenomenon by working with at-risk women of color in the Trenton community providing them with individually tailored prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care.”

Children’s Futures provides Doula support and a variety of other resources pertaining to topics such as parenting, child care, and community support. Founded in 2001 through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Children’s Futures works throughout Central Jersey to help children and their families have a healthy start in life. Through their efforts, Children’s Futures works to increase health and wellness to ultimately negate health and social problems which can lead to a lifetime of poor health outcomes and dependency. Children’s Futures partners with a variety of educational, health, and social welfare organizations, and through their collaboration they can more broadly meet the needs of the population they serve.

For women navigating the process of pregnancy, a support system and an advocate can make all the difference. Doulas help to provide mothers with hands-on skills, solid education, and the reassurance of knowing that they are never truly alone. If you want to learn more about Children’s Futures, you can explore their website here: Children’s Futures – Homes. Mothers and their babies are the backbone of our society, and programs like these empower the Trenton community to show up for some of our most precious residents.

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