Program Spotlight: Doula Services

Family Focus is proud to announce the expansion of Doula services to four additional locations: Belmont Cragin, Evanston, Highland Park, and South Holland! Doulas, which means “a woman who serves” in Greek, work with women and families with the goal of ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

Family Focus Doulas specifically work with women after six months of pregnancy, and work to educate their clients on the labor and delivery process, help families develop a birthing plan, such as knowing what to do when their water breaks, or what happens if they need an induced labor or caesarean, and help with comfort techniques, including relaxation methods, breathing exercises, massage, and more. Doulas are also present at birth and help provide emotional support to women during labor and delivery and communicate a woman’s needs to her medical team.

After birth, doulas continue to work with families for eight weeks, and help care for the mother by assisting with breastfeeding techniques, helping families feed and care for the newborn, and by providing emotional support to the mother and family. After eight weeks, participants then transition to receive our home-visiting services.

Family Focus currently has 16 Doulas across our centers, each of which has a caseload of 10 to 12 families at a time. As of August 2023, more than 96 families are receiving Doula services – by year’s end, we hope to have more than 200 families receiving these services. These services are vital because, in the words of Sherneron Hilliard, VP of Programs:

“Having a doula is the best first step for becoming a parent – we help parents recognize their importance in being a baby’s first teacher. This doesn’t just start at birth, but before.”