Doulas are trained mentors from the community who help young families establish strong parent-child relationships before the child is even born. By encouraging healthy prenatal practices, offering support during labor and delivery, and fostering bonds between babies and mothers and fathers, doulas help establish the foundation for a child's future health and development. The Ounce designs and develops models, training and materials to help doula programs prevent the academic achievement gap and the social problems it can create, including school dropout rates, teenage pregnancy, juvenile crime and chronic health conditions.
Every year, doulas trained by the Ounce of Prevention Fund help usher in a healthy start for nearly 1,000 babies. Our network of community-based doula programs at 20 sites throughout Illinois is the first in the country to serve teen parents and to be publicly funded.
Research shows that strong parent-child relationships are essential for a child's healthy development, and can not only improve a child's school readiness, but also play a role in breaking cycles of poverty, abuse and neglect. The majority of pregnant teens served by Ounce doulas are still enrolled in school a year after delivering their babies, and are also less likely to have another child within two years.
These videos and more are also available on YouTube.
- Ounce doulas get young mothers and babies off to a healthy start
- Publication: Parents Too Soon/Doula Annual Report 2008-2009
- Home Visiting Longitudinal Research Study
- Publication: First Days of Life
- Catalyst Chicago article: Teaching teen moms to boost early learning
- Peoria Journal Star article: Doulas do it all