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The Doula Foundation in Springfield received a grant for more than $2,1600 from the Missouri Children's Trust Fund to support its First Connection Program, helping to educate teen mothers through pregnancy. KSMU’s Shannon Bowers has the details.
20 expecting mothers between the ages of 15 and 21 will now be able to receive care from a Certified Doula to educate, support, and empower them though their pregnancy and 12 weeks post-partum care as Salina Bollinger, the program coordinator, explains.
“Well, we do a lot of pregnancy and parenting education. From the beginning of the time, prenatily them but we also do a lot of healthy living and helping them connect with community resources. And then in the 12 week period afterward, really focusing on that new born care,” said Bollinger.
The Doula Foundation serves at-risk pregnant women in Greene County and the surrounding areas. Last year they served 297 women, a third of who were 21 or younger. This is the third year that the Frist Connections Program has received this grant from the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund.
“We are very unique because we are at the birth. We like to say we are at the heart of the birth,” said Bollinger.
Doula is originally a Greek word meaning “woman servant.” Certified Doulas are pregnancy professionals who are there to serve women on their way to becoming new mothers. Every Doula instructor has taken numerous parenting and birthing classes and specializes in parental yoga and breast feeding. They are even on call 24/7 during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Bollinger says that their monthly meetings for expecting mothers are making a positive difference, too.
“It’s really been pretty amazing to see how the moms are really building a community around each other. These young moms are learning from each other and using each other as resources too which is going to help them long term even after we are not in their life,” Bollinger said.
Some studies show that that the presence of a Doula results in a shorter labor, a reduced need for pain medication, and improved outcomes for both mother and baby. While most women involved in the program are on WIC, Doulas can be helpful for all women.
Of the 297 women served in the Springfield area in 2012, , approximately 93% had an average birth weight, 93% of program mothers initiated breastfeeding, and 93% of the program babies were born full term.
For KSMU News, I’m Shannon Bowers.