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In honor of Black Maternal Health Week (which was observed April 11-17, 2023), Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest is proud to feature For The Village. Read on to learn more about how this organization is fighting back against maternal health disparities.

Nestled in metropolitan Chula Vista, CA, For The Village is working to radically change the quality of life for pregnant people and families by providing free and low cost doula services and education for all residents of San Diego County. FTV was founded in January 2018 by doula and activist Sabia Wade.

Since its founding in 2018, For The Village has trained over 80 Community Doulas and supported more than 400 families. In the last five years, FTV has proudly created free access to Childbirth and Lactation Education classes, provided individualized support from Lactation Specialists who are International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) certified, and provided Postpartum Support from their Parent Companion Program for qualifying families. Though they offer low-to-no cost services, it is founder Sabia Wade’s vision to be able to support everyone that comes to them for full-spectrum doula care.

In 2021, the United States had one of the worst rates of maternal mortality in the country’s history. In 2021 alone, 1,205 people died of perinatal causes, a 40% increase from the previous year. Of these, Black Americans were 3x more likely than their white counterparts to die of birth-related causes. Doulas provide emotional, physical, and informational support before, during, and after all labor and birth outcomes. Studies show that doulas can contribute to improved maternal and infant outcomes and experiences by reducing stress, anxiety, and pain, and by promoting self efficacy and confidence across all pregnancy and delivery choices. 

For The Village’s care practice is rooted in the principles of Reproductive Justice — leading with equity and the cultivation of conditions for parents to be able to have and raise children in safe, inclusive communities. 

“It is our hope that all birthing people have access to this care, feel educated, empowered, and heard. We want all Birthworkers to be compensated for their time and expertise, and to be acknowledged as critical members of the care team in the birth setting,” says founder Sabia Wade.

Recommendations for Maternal Health and Infant Health Quality Improvement in Medicaid CHIP from 2020 included continuous doula support during labor as a strategy to improve perinatal care management, because it has been found that continuous labor support provided by doulas reduces rates of cesarean delivery, reduces the need for epidural analgesia, and improves infant Apgar scores.

An observational study of low-income women (41 percent of whom were Black) found that doula-assisted parents were four times less likely to give birth to a baby with low birthweight, two times less likely to experience a birth complication involving themselves or their baby, and significantly more likely to initiate breastfeeding.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest believes in fighting for a world where all people have access to the health care they need and deserve – and we will not stop until all people and parents have the right, access, and autonomy to decide what’s best for their health, lives, families, and futures. We would not be able to do this work without the remarkable conviction and support of partners like For The Village. 

We are proud to share in a vision where sexual and reproductive rights are human rights, and work towards that vision together

Please visit forthevillage.org, and follow them on Instagram @ForTheVillageInc to learn more about this incredible organization. Currently, they are seeking $1 for 1 Birth ($20 per month) for one year – your contribution could help provide support to families in need who are victims of domestic violence. Their goal is to have 100 people make this pledge.

If you are interested in becoming a doula, For The Village also has a free doula training happening June 23-25, 2023. All learning materials and CPR training will be provided.


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