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In partnership with Red Cedar Birth, TFF has developed a doula program that will offer midwife and doula services to pregnant and parenting teen survivors of sexual violence. A peer-led monthly birth chat where teens can discuss their feelings and experiences about birth, pregnancy, sexuality, parenting, triggers, and navigating institutions such as the juvenile justice system, hospitals, residential facilities, schools, and workforce entry/reentry. The State of Michigan provides abstinence-only sex-education, and many teens enter into their sexual and pregnancy experiences with very little and often inaccurate information related to their bodies, sexuality, and pregnancy. This doula care will be supplementary to their existing patient relationships with area medical doctors and participants will deliver at local hospitals.

Supported by three doulas with specialized, trauma-informed training, teen survivors will be provided with high-quality, competent, and experienced labor companions to help them navigate the birth experience. Doulas will support the creation of birth plans and provide emotional support and information to help new parents make decisions and communicate effectively with medical staff. During delivery, they will advocate for the client’s wishes while providing emotional and physical support.

Research has shown that simply having a doula in the room decreases the rates of c-section, epidural, induction, and other unnecessary interventions, as well as exponentially increasing the positive feedback from the client about the birth experience, which we know can set someone up for a decreased risk of postpartum depression.

People of color do not receive adequate prenatal care, experience high rates of infant mortality, and are often victims of institutional oppression and violence in medical environments. The Trauma-Informed Doula Care Program of The Firecracker Foundation will help teen survivors heal and cope during a challenging time while creating a safer birth and healthier future for their children.