San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Malia Cohen has announced the establishment of a doula program in the city.
The program, which will take effect in January, aims to create access to doula services for low-income families. Doulas provide non-medical assistance and support to women before, during and after childbirth.
According to Cohen’s office, recent research conducted in San Francisco and elsewhere in the Bay Area showed that black women felt disrespected, stereotyped, and coerced by doctors during their maternity care.
Black women, along with Pacific Islanders, also suffer from higher rates of maternal mortality and pre-term births, according to studies by the National Institutes of Health.
“It is imperative that we show up and support women and their options for healthy births at this juncture,” Cohen said in a statement.
The program is a partnership between the city’s Department of Public Health and SisterWeb, a doula network that trains and supports doulas from marginalized communities.