While poverty and inadequate resources certainly affect quality of life, levels of chronic stress, and health, a singular focus excludes the burden of racism, gender oppression, obstetric violence, and institutional policies that negatively affect pregnant people of color. Birth workers of color are responding to the maternal health crisis with doula care that is reflective of the needs of families in their local communities.
Communal responses to disparities reveal the activation of pregnant people raising their families in environments where resources, dignity, quality care, support and humane treatment are scarce. Solutions for mortality and morbidity in birth reside in the resilience of people facing inequity every day. Racism and implicit bias continue to drive health inequity in the United States. Community-based doula care reflects an organized, collective framework where African American, African immigrant/refugee, Latinx, Indigenous or historically underserved individuals formalize and implement programs with the specific aim of serving their own communities.
Fundamental values of support are rooted in individual wisdom and self-determination. These programs are culturally infused, generationally informed, and responsive to years of ongoing oppression resulting in trauma informed actions that pull families together in crisis.
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