Administered by: Bureau of Maternal and Infant Health
The Chicago Doula project focuses on providing support to pregnant teens at a critical moment in their lives. A Doula (pronounced DOO-Lah) is a trained paraprofessional whose primary function is to offer support for both the mother and the child during pregnancy, delivery, and the weeks after the birth. Doulas counsel pregnant women and their families on the birthing process, breast-feeding, developing the mother-child relationship, and child infant development. Doulas can improve the health and chances of success for these young families. Additionally, this intervention can reduce health care costs.
In the Chicago Doula Project, pregnant teens are paired with Doulas from the same community. The Doulas have an intimate knowledge of the culture of the community and increased credibility with the teenager. During this period, trust develops as the Doula meets with the teen at least two months before the birth. The Doula is present for the birth and visits the teenager for several months afterwards.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund, Inc. provides Doula services to Parents Too Soon program participants in five Chicago area locations. The Ounce of Prevention Fund also provides intensive training and technical assistance to these program sites.
Links and Resources
Doulas of North America
Chicago Health Connection
The Ounce of Prevention Fund