Health officials increasing access to doulas in Johnson County

Health officials increasing access to doulas in Johnson County
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:25 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Johnson County Public Health (JCPH) is launching a new program that will bring more doulas to more people in the county.

A doula is not the same as a midwife, but they are a person who helps with deliveries and advocates for mothers when they’re giving birth.

There are two parts to the program. First, JCPH is working with a doula trainer who can help more people learn these skills. The second part is funding a provider of doula services who will help underserved populations in Johnson County.

Danielle Pettit-Majewski, the director of JCPH, said this has been a project years in the making. She said doulas can be advocates for women giving birth, helping make their needs known when they feel pain, intimidation, or face cultural barriers.

Pettit-Majewski said she hopes doulas help “if you are maybe new to this country, or maybe you have a different culture.” She added they help “make sure that what is appropriate for you is being relayed back to your medical team.”

The director added one of the reasons they looked at this program was because of the maternal mortality rates in Iowa, specifically for black women, which is six times higher than it is for white women in Iowa.

The Health Department is still finalizing its decision on which doula applicant will be awarded the funding.