Cook County Recognizes March 22 as World Doula Day

Cook County Recognizes March 22 as World Doula Day
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Cook County Recognizes March 22 as World Doula Day (Cook County, IL) — Last week, the Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller to recognize March 22 as World Doula Day in Cook County. The day coincides with the start of Doula Week, which takes place from March 22-28. The observance serves as a reminder of the contributions doulas make to supporting women, newborns and families before, during and after birth. The resolution recognizes the instrumental role doulas play in fostering physiological, physiological, social, emotional, and psychological well-being of individuals and families.

“I went through a difficult delivery, and even with a background in health care, it was necessary to have someone with me to serve as my advocate. I was lucky to have my husband there to fulfill that role — but for many women, that advocacy comes from a doula. Doulas can make a significant impact on someone’s birth and postpartum experience, as well as health outcomes for the mother and child,” says Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller. “Doulas play a crucial role for so many women and families during a time full of transition and new challenges, and they deserve recognition and celebration for the life-changing work they do.”

Receiving doula support during birth is associated with a reduction in c-sections, premature deliveries and stress and anxiety, as well as a shorter labor. It can also improve breastfeeding success, and can create overall positive impacts on the mother and child. A lack of support prior to and during birth can result in lower birth weight or preterm birth. These outcomes, as well as stressful birthing experiences and other negative outcomes, are particularly common among families with low socioeconomic statuses, non-English speakers and women of color.

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Throughout her time in office, Commissioner Miller has made it a priority to use her background in the healthcare industry to advocate for efforts to reduce health care disparities and improve Cook County’s maternal mortality rates, and specifically the disparities in health care that result in worse outcomes for Black women. In April 2023, she sponsored a resolution at a Board meeting to draw attention to National Minority Health Month and Black Maternal Health Week, and convened an important hearing to examine morbidity and mortality rates in Cook County in June 2023. At this year’s NACo Legislative Conference, Commissioner Miller’s Resolution in Support of Federal Funding for Doula and Social Support Services and Training was approved by the NACo Health Policy Steering Committee, and she plans to introduce the resolution at the Annual Conference this summer for full NACo board approval. Additionally, Commissioner Miller secured $1 million in the FY2024 budget for Cook County Health (CCH) to implement doula services at CCH.

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 700 women die in the U.S. each year as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications, with higher deaths in women of color compared to white women. The U.S. has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world.

Cook County Recognizes March 22 as World Doula Day

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