Empowering Families Through Postpartum Doula Care

March 29, 2024

Simone Snead, MPH, CLC serves as Program Manager for the Mom and Baby Action Network at March of Dimes. She received her MPH from University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health from Temple University. Simone's work has focused on the decreasing rates of both maternal and infant morbidity & mortality and the impact those tragedies have on African American women in the United States. Simone is also a Certified Lactation Counselor and both a Birth and Postpartum Doula, and has assisted with 30+ births.

Bringing a new life into the world is an adjustment for many. During this transformative experience, families may find themselves navigating uncharted territory, grappling with the physical, emotional, and practical demands of parenthood. Postpartum doulas empower their families through personalized support, education, and advocacy. They offer practical assistance with newborn care, relieving parents of stress and encouraging bonding with baby. Doulas validate parents’ experiences and help them to navigate the emotions that may arise in the postpartum period.

Postpartum doulas provide valuable education on topics such as breastfeeding, postpartum recovery, and newborn care; this ultimately empowers families to make informed decisions and feel confident about those decisions as a parent. Postpartum doulas advocate for their families within the healthcare system as well. Doulas empower parents to voice their concerns and preferences to ensure that families receive respectful and personalized care that aligns with their values and goals, fostering a sense of empowerment and confidence as they navigate the journey of parenthood.

Postpartum doulas empower families in various ways:

  1. Encouraging Informed Decision Making: Doulas provide families with evidence-based information on topics such as newborn care, feeding options, and postpartum recovery, empowering them to make informed decisions.
  2. Promoting Confidence: Doulas offer reassurance and validation to parents, helping them build confidence in their parenting abilities. By acknowledging parents’ strengths and providing positive reinforcement, doulas empower families to trust their instincts and feel more self-assured in their roles as a parent.
  3. Encouraging Bonding and Emotional Support: Postpartum doulas specialize in creating opportunities for meaningful bonding between families. Activities such as, skin to skin contact and infant massage are examples that many doulas recommend to increase bonding between parents and infants. Doulas also offer compassionate listening and emotional support to families as they navigate any challenges in parenthood.
  4. Advocating for Family Needs: Doulas advocate for families within the healthcare system, ensuring that their voices are heard, and their preferences are respected. Whether it’s communicating families’ needs and concerns to healthcare providers, helping to navigate medical decisions, or facilitating access to support services, doulas work to ensure that families receive the quality care and support they deserve.

Having a postpartum doula can greatly enhance the postpartum experience for families, providing them with the support, guidance, and reassurance they need to navigate the joys and challenges of parenthood with confidence and ease.