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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Meet the Black Doulas Who Are Saving Lives and Bringing Joy to Birth

Shafia M. Monroe with other Black doulas

Nationwide — For more than 20 years now, Shafia M. Monroe, the founder of SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training, has been training and certifying doulas to help improve birth outcomes, teach Black birth tradition, and bring more joy to the birthing experience.

Birth should be a beautiful time, yet according to a report by the CDC, in 2021, the national Black maternal mortality rate increased to 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020. Even worse, there has been an increase of preterm-related infant mortality rates for Black babies which is now three times higher compared to the white infant mortality rate.

Monroe comments, “Black pregnant and postpartum women deserve the best; they should be celebrated, protected, and honored for bringing new life into the world. Historically when a Black woman was pregnant it was a time of joy, and her community surrounded her with love and support.”

Black women need doulas because it shortens labor, reduces cesarean sections, decreases medical interventions, lessens the need for regional anesthesia, increases breastfeeding rates, reduces premature births, and parents feel more satisfied with their birth experience. These outcomes positively impact birth.

Becoming a doula is a rite of passage to community healing, by learning how to care for pregnant women, understanding the physiology of pregnancy and birth, learning the legacy of 20th century African American midwife, reducing Black infant mortality and maternal morbidity, teaching nutrition, and practicing self-care, and becoming an entrepreneur.

“My goal is to increase the number of Black doulas, who can educate the community on how to improve infant and maternal health, bring joy to Black birth, and be pillars in their communities,” says Monroe.

To build the doula workforce, Monroe will hold online and in-person trainings every other month throughout 2023.

For more information about the SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training, LLC, visit the official web site at SMCDoulas.com

For more information or for press inquiries, contact info@smcdoulas.com or 503-281-1688.