She Walks With Me - Indigenous Doula Research

New Article Published in Women’s Health

New article, The Need for Sustainable Funding for Indigenous Doula Services in Canada” by Larissa Wodtke, Ashley Hayward, Alexandra Nychuk, Caroline Doenmez, Stephanie Sinclair, and Jaime Cidro, is now published in Women’s Health.

Objectives

To interview representatives from Indigenous doulas across Canada in order to document how they manage the logistics of providing community-based doula care and understand their challenges. These objectives inform the development of an Indigenous doula pilot programme as part of the project, She Walks With Me: Supporting Urban Indigenous Expectant Mothers Through Culturally Based Doulas’.

Methods

In 2020, semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of five Indigenous doula collectives across Canada. Interview transcripts were approved by participants and subsequently coded by the entire research team to identify key themes.

Results

Our article explores one of the main themes that emerged from these interviews: sustainable funding for Indigenous doula services. Within this theme we identified two sub-themes: (1) limitations on and regulations for available funding and (2) negative impacts of limited funding on doula service.

Conclusion

A major challenge to providing Indigenous community-based doula services is sustainable funding. Current models of funding for this work often do not provide livable wages and are bound by limited durations and regulations that are unsustainable and can be culturally inappropriate. Due to this lack of sustainable funding, Indigenous doula service in Canada faces challenges that include high staff turnover and burnout and lack of time and resources to provide culturally safe care, pursue professional development and additional training, and keep their services affordable for the families who need them. Future research is needed to ascertain potential programmes and funding streams for sustainable Indigenous doula support in Canada, including possible integration of doula care into the universal public health care system despite the jurisdictional challenges in providing health care for Indigenous peoples.