Meghan Markle using a Doula? They Can Be Vital for Black Women


  • Meghan Markle will be able to use a doula, a non-medical party support expert, during her second birth.
  • Doula-assisted birth is linked with better results and a more positive experience.
  • Doulas can decrease maternal mortality disparities, which affect women of color, no matter their fame.
  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

Some aspects of Meghan Markle’s second birth will be very different from her first: She will be in the United States instead of the United Kingdom, and it is said that home delivery – something she had planned to do for the delivery of her first child Archie, but ended up in a hospital.

Using a doula, however, can be a constant in their birth experiences, however the Duchess herself has never confirmed taking one.

Insider spoke to Sabia Wade, known as “The Black Doula” about what doulas are and why they can be particularly important partners for Blacks during birth.

Doulas provide physical, emotional and educational support

Doulas are professionally trained doctors to support women before, during, and immediately after birth.

What it may look like suggesting and facilitating a change of position during birth, it offers a practical touch for relieving a poorly positioned baby outside, or favoring a patient in a hospital who wants to push a little harder before being rotated for a c-section.

But a lot of what the doulas do isn’t so tangible, Wade told the Insider.

“We’re the friend, we’re the sister, we’re the mother or aunt of rhyme, we’re the lawyer,” she said. “Sometimes, we have to be fighters.”

Research she linked “continuous support during labor,” which is what doulas provide, with better outcomes for maternal and child health. Using a doula can result in a higher probability of spontaneous vaginal birth, shorter labor, fewer c-sections, less anesthesia, lower Apgar scores (an assessment of how well a baby is doing in the world immediately after birth), and less negative feelings about the experiences of childbirth.

Doula use is not linked to any adverse effects, although doulas cost money and are typically not covered by insurance. Most people pay between $ 800 and $ 2,500, depending, and organizations like Wade’s Profit For the Country offers free or low-cost doula services to underrepresented communities.

But not everyone who wants and can afford a doula can find one. New York had only 200 to 300 active doulas in 2019. That same year, 221,539 babies were born in the city.

Black women, regardless of their socioeconomic status, can particularly benefit from doulas

In the United States, black women are at least twice and a half more likely to die in pregnancy, in childbirth, or immediately after childbirth than white women. Other statistics show pregnancy-related deaths for black Indians, Native Americans, and Alaska women over 30 are four to five times higher than for white women.

“It’s really easy for people to look at maternal mortality disparities for Blacks and say,‘ If they earn a lot of money or have so much education, it should be better, ’but research shows that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make a difference“, Said Wade.


The experts said indicated a variety of factors that could explain the results, Including socioeconomic status, access to prenatal treatment, racial prejudice in the medical system, a culture that does not encourage black women to talk about health problems, and medical complications during pregnancy, such as pre- eclampsia.

Leveling the playing field involves improving the health care system at all levels, from how doctors are trained, to how hospitals are structured to how insurance companies reimburse them, Wade said.

“There is no answer to this crisis, but what we can say is that a doula is probably the fastest option we can have available for a black-born person,” Wade said. Implicit injury training does nothing, he added, when someone is six inches tall.

Pregnancy Pregnant belly woman

LAW / After Late / Getty Images

Not only has research shown that doulas can reduce negative birth outcomes that are more common among Black women such as premature birth and c-sections, but they can also improve the birth experience – especially if the doula herself is even a person of color.

Wade recalls a woman who attended who was encouraged to sit in the shower at the hospital to relieve the pain of contraction. Wade realized that the patient was hesitant because the water had damaged the hair tissues she had obtained before birth, so Wade quickly removed a shower cap from a plastic bag.

Two years later, the patient is still grateful she didn’t have to explain what she needed to the doctors and nurses, Wade said.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re Meghan Markle or Sabia Wade, when you’re in the birth experience, the physical part is a lot, the emotional part is a lot,” Wade said.

While clinicians and family members have different skills, opinions, and emotions, a doula can keep the complete picture and be the “leveler” among all, she said.

“Being in the moment is essential,” he said. “No matter how much money you make or what you have access to, you always need that person.”

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