LiveWell Louisiana

Labor Gains

Birthmark Doula Collective offers support before, during and after pregnancy.
April 30th, 2015 by: Misty Miloto

New moms-to-be, listen up! Birthmark Doula Collective — a network of trained and experienced doulas, lactation counselors and educators — offers personalized services all across New Orleans to women and their families throughout pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period. Co-founded by Latona Giwa and Dana Keren, the organization seeks to improve birth outcomes and empower New Orleans families through its services. According to Keren, the United States ranks behind 30 countries in maternal and infant mortality rates, low birth weight and breastfeeding rates. “And within the United States, Louisiana ranks the worst of the worst,” she says.

“Our C-section rate is six times that recommended by the World Health Organization — over 40 percent of babies in Louisiana are born via C-section,” Keren explains. “And we have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the nation.

Studies show that doula support significantly shortens labor and decreases the need for C-sections and other unnecessary medical interventions. Moms also report greater feelings of satisfaction and empowerment postpartum, and [they] have decreased rates of postpartum depression, as well as increased rates and longer durations of breastfeeding.”

Services at BDC include prenatal visits, covering topics such as fears and anxieties surrounding labor, relaxation techniques and more; 24-hour phone support, starting two weeks before your due date; continuous and uninterrupted labor support; and postpartum visits (including breastfeeding support, new baby care support and postpartum depression screenings). BDC also offers a variety of classes, medical equipment rentals and free parenting support groups.

Going forward, BDC is working to open the city’s first birth center. The NOLA Birth Center will be a medical facility where mom’s can give birth outside of a traditional hospital environment.