When it comes to maternal health, Georgia’s reputation as one of the worst places to give birth is well known. According to a Capital B report, since 1994, the state has lost 41 labor and delivery units, including at least six in the metro Atlanta area. Those closures, along with increasing maternal death rates among Black women, have led birthing people to look for alternatives for support throughout the birthing process. One of those options includes calling in the help of a doula.
Doulas are trained to give birthing people emotional and physical support before, during, and after birth. While they aren’t medical professionals and usually don’t assist with delivering babies, they are able to advocate for you in hospitals, keep up with your nutritional needs, and offer an alternative to Western medical birthing practices.
“When you’re pregnant, you should be able to be vulnerable or let your guard down, because it’s such an emotionally energetic experience,” said Brandie Bishop, a doula who founded Your Tribe Family Services. “Unfortunately, during that season when you’re inside of … the medical system that we’ve created, the unfortunate truth for Black and brown bodies is that you don’t get the ability to be vulnerable because there’s so many things coming at you.”
Below, we break down some of the best places for you to find a Black Doula in metro Atlanta.
National Black Doulas Association
The National Black Doulas Association is a convenient place to find a Black doula in your area. The organization trains Black doulas and connects them with families across the country. The hope of the organization, the website states, is to fight the ever-increasing mortality rate for Black women when giving birth. Many Black doulas in Atlanta are affiliated with the NBDA, and are certified through the organization’s training courses.
The NBDA’s directory has over 30 listings for Black doulas in metro Atlanta. You can find it here.
Atlanta Doula Collective
The Atlanta Doula Collective is a group of 16 doulas who provide various services, often at reduced rates, in order to serve Black families. The goal, the collective states on its website, is to lower the barrier for Black families to receive doula care. Often, doula care can be as costly as $3,000 for prenatal and postpartum visits.
ADC charges just $850 for labor support. That support includes two prenatal visits, postpartum wellness check-ups, and a birth plan preparation session. You can also sign up for postpartum support for $500. A postpartum doula will visit you three times following your birth, help you create a postpartum care plan, and provide breastfeeding support. The doula will also assist with some light housekeeping, like dishes, sweeping, laundry, and meal prep.
ADC also hosts events, like Mama Talks every third Saturday of the month, where a community expert comes to speak with pregnant families in a community forum. The Pregnancy Information Circle and Lunch is a virtual six-week training program for families who want childbirth education. Topics include pregnancy nutrition, breastfeeding basics, and postpartum recovery.
Your Tribe Family Services
Bishop has been servicing the metro area for more than a decade, and knows the importance of doula care for Black people.
Her doula business, Your Tribe Family Services, offers a variety of services, including placenta encapsulation, birth planning, and labor support.
Bishop’s premium service offering is the Oromo Tribe Package, which includes three prenatal visits in addition to labor and delivery support. Patients get remote support during early laboring hours, coaching throughout the delivery, and in-person care at the client’s chosen birthing place. The Oromo package also includes two postpartum visits where the client will receive help with things like breastfeeding. The plan also includes placenta encapsulation, which would usually cost a little extra, according to the website.
Bishop also offers separate nanny services and doula education and training.
Goddess Birth Sisters
Goddess Birth Sisters is a nonprofit collective of six birth doulas who have different specialties, such as breastfeeding, alternative education for family planning, physical movement, and even reiki therapy. The doulas refer to themselves as “birth keepers” who believe birthing is a spiritual experience.
On the Goddess Birth Sisters website, each doula has reliable contact information listed, along with their specialties, and availability. Some of the birth sisters specialize in postpartum family planning, while others specialize in therapeutic dance and prenatal movement therapy.
Atlanta Family Doulas
Atlanta Family Doulas has more than nine Black doulas on the team that you can choose from on their website. The service is owned by Elysia Douglas, who has practiced doula care for 10 years. She originally started the company as Mother to Mother Labor Support in 2012, then changed it to the North Atlanta Concierge Doula Services. Just this year, Douglas switched the company’s name to Atlanta Family Doulas, which has a predominantly Black staff.
Atlanta Family Doulas offers labor support, postpartum support, and placenta encapsulation.
In an interview, Douglas told Capital B Atlanta the most important thing when offering care to clients is making sure every person gets the same individualized care, tailored to their birthing needs.
“In our agency, we practice equity,” she said. “Everyone doesn’t get a cookie cutter experience.”
Atlanta Family Doulas serves families inside and outside the perimeter, and are willing to travel as far as Dahlonega, to offer care.
Imani Byers was inspired to start Rebyrth Wellness after finding herself surrounded by pregnant people and wanting to answer a calling to help Black people. Her background as a social worker, she says, helps her understand the emotional needs of her clients and provide individual care tailored to every client’s needs.
Rebyrth offers various services for fertility, birth, and postpartum health. For birth support, Rebyrth offers three different packages ranging from $1,050 to $2,100. All doula packages come with Byers being on call at a certain point in your pregnancy, and unlimited text and call support. Depending on which package you choose, you can also receive postpartum visits, a holistic postpartum kit, in-person labor support, and help with creating a care plan for your newborn.