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Entries in full spectrum doula (14)


Announcing In-Home Support for Medication Abortions

We are thrilled to announce that starting today, the Bay Area Doula Project volunteer doulas will be offering in-home support to those experiencing medication abortions.

While providing the obvious benefits of privacy, confidentiality, and comfort, medication abortions pose some challenges to patients who may require extra support during their experience. Our doulas are prepared to offer free in-home physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual support during the medication abortion experience. BADP has created a comprehensive model for providing in-home support after months of careful planning and training. To do this, we have consulted with medical experts, home-birth professional doula groups, and abortion access communities to ensure that it has responded to various practical concerns: for example, client contracts will be used to address issues of doula and client safety and legality of practice. The BADP has also created internal procedures to provide on-going guidance to volunteer doulas as they provide in-home support to clients.


For clinics:

If you are a clinic providing women’s health care in the Bay Area, and would like to offer referrals for our in-home support services, please contact While it will be up to the clients to initiate a request for doula support, the BADP would be more than happy to make a presentation to your staff about the services offered that could then be described to patients. 

For finding support:

Click here to find out how you can get support.

For doulas and friends:

Our potential to serve women in their home through medication abortion depends on our network of contacts. If you know of a site that could refer patients to us for MAB support, please contact for outreach materials. Thank you so much for supporting our work!


Why full-spectrum?

By Sarah Whedon, BADP doula and blogger

The Bay Area Doula Project is a full-spectrum doula organization.  That means we support folks across the spectrum of their reproductive lives.  We want all people to have access to compassionate support through all the possible outcomes of pregnancy, as well as for sexual and reproductive health issues that don't involve pregnancy. 

But why does it make sense for us to bring these all together instead of forming an organization that focuses on a single issue? I see three major reasons: the people we serve, the volunteer energy we draw upon, and the issues involved.  Let me explain.

1. Clients. The population we aim to serve doesn't necessarily keep their reproductive experiences distinct.  A person giving birth is often a person who's had a miscarriage. A person seeking an abortion is often a parent who's experienced one or more births.  According to the Guttmacher Institute 60% of people seeking abortions are already mothers.  To a large extent, then, the abortion-seeking population is the birthing population. A full-spectrum organization can help to normalize that reality and to re-integrate a fragmented system.

2. Doulas. There are already so many great people who are bringing a practice of compassion and a knowledge of healthcare environments to their birth and postpartum doula work.  It makes sense to tap that pool of experienced doulas and support them in bringing their resources to other areas where support is needed, like abortion, miscarriage, and adoption.  Since there's already growing structural and cultural support in place for birth and postpartum doula training and work, we can build from that rather than reinventing the wheel. Many of the people who come to the BADP for abortion doula training already have vast experience as birth and/or postpartum doulas.

3. Interlocking issues.  Reproductive concerns which may at first blush appear to be separate are actually interlinked. When we take issues of reproductive justice in isolation, we can miss the bigger picture.  Here's an example: in certain cases a previous cesarean section can increase the risks of abortion, but nobody mentions that when a cesarean birth is being proposed.  In the U.S. we have "a current national cesarean section rate of over 30%, despite evidence that a rate of 5% to 10% would be optimal."  There's a movement to increase access to abortion and a movement to decease the cesarean rate, but the two movements rarely deliberately come together and see their common cause.  A full-spectrum doula movement can help to connect issues like this.

Of course doulas and activists can do a lot of good by focusing on a single issue, and everybody has to start somewhere.  The BADP started with a focus on abortion support.  However, as an organization it's always been situated within the full-spectrum framework, and that gives us a special kind of power to create larger change in reproductive health.



How we use social media

By Sarah W., BADP doula and blogger

In anticipation of this Thursday's Salon on doulas using media technology, I thought I'd share a bit about how we at the BADP use social media. Maybe it will help you think about how you use it for your own doula work.

When I joined the BADP nearly a year ago we had this website and a very quiet Facebook page. I volunteered to get the blog rolling because I already had some experience blogging and it seemed like a great way to spread the word about the work of full-spectrum doulas. After all, it was through a blog that I first learned about the movement.

Renee joined us last spring and brought a ton of fresh energy to our social media efforts. She breathed life into our Facebook page and started a Twitter account which is now one of the most active places where we spread our messages online.  When I asked her why she volunteers to do this for the BADP, Renee told me:

I joined the Bay Area Doula Project social media team to help spread the word about the great work doulas in the Bay Area and across the country are doing. I noticed that there was this great resource out there for women who are alone in abortion clinics and I want to make sure that they know there is support for them during their procedure. I also wanted to help create awareness around the doula movement and let folks know that there are alternatives to mainstream pregnancies and that you can have an advocate on your side, no matter how your pregnancy ends, whether it's birth, miscarriage, abortion, or adoption. I found social media to be an excellent avenue for people to share information with friends, families, and their communities quickly.

Kelly came to us with her experience blogging at The Provider Project and kicked the blog up from a once in a while thing to a place where we're posting something new every week.  Kelly appreciates how the internet can connect people to information they might not otherwise have access to.  She told me:

I grew up in a small, rural town in New Hampshire where there were not a lot of educational and supportive reproductive health resources such as the Bay Area Doula Project. As a budding reproductive health activist I felt extremely isolated throughout my teenage years, lacking a community of others with similar passions. In college I first learned about full-spectrum doulas from the internet presence of two organizations in the Northeast, The Doula Project in NYC and the Prison Birth Project in western Massachusetts, whose work compelled me to become a birth doula. Social media is an amazing avenue for people from all across the world to connect with, inspire, and consult with each other, whether they live in an urban area or a town of 1,000 people. It's my hope that as a member of the BADP social media team I can help someone feel like they have the support and resources to become a full-spectrum doula in their community and understand that they are not alone.

Even though each of the three of us has our own official tasks, the team really works collaboratively. We discuss whether we want to share certain links. We edit each other's writing. We brainstorm together. And when one of us is busy with something else, we pick up the slack for each other. How do we coordinate all that? Mostly by email.

Personally, I've found the work to be very rewarding. I've increased my social media skills, met new allies, and been thrilled every time an individual has told me that something I wrote or posted touched them.

Sound like fun? Our team has room for more volunteers who've been through the BADP training (next one is coming up in October).  

Now your turn: how do you use social media to support your doula work?


Salon Series: Technology for a Hands-On Movement

Wondering how doulas use social media? Join us for a conversation on how you can help spread the full spectrum doula movement.

Bay Area Doula Project Salon Series Presents:
Technology for a Hands-On Movement:
How can we use technology to build the full spectrum doula movement?

Date: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Time: 7:00 to 8:30pm
Location: Rock Health
615 Grant Ave 3rd Floor
San Francisco 94108
Entrance through the scarf shop and look for yellow awning that reads "Yummy Bites"
Cost: Free
$5-$15 Suggested Donation for Bay Area Doula Project, no one will be turned away for lack of funds


A discussion and skill share about how doulas are using communication technologies to build their businesses and better serve their communities. Join us to learn hands-on technology tricks and tips while together envisioning how we can use technology to better serve our communities!
We'll touch on how doulas are building their bushiness, their community organizations, and their movement while supporting communication with the people and families they serve.  Light refreshments will be served.

Gwendolyn Roberts is a full-spectrum doula and member of (Re)Birthing Collective and the Bay Area Doula Project.  As a doula she makes use of user-friendly apps and sites to promote her business and to stay in touch with clients. She's also a part-time nanny, painter, poet and yoga teacher in training.  She will be presenting on how she uses social media and internet technology to build and maintain her small business. You can can find her online (Re)Brirthing presence and on Facebook
Nicole Sata is co-founder of the Birth Justice Project whose volunteer doulas serve pregnant women who are incarcerated or in drug recovery.  She firmly believes that all women deserve to have peaceful and transformative birth experiences. As a doula community organizer, she makes use of a wide range of free software and applications to help organize the Birth Justice Project and is excited about sharing the tools she uses with the BADP community.
Becky Hurwitz is the Codesign Facilitator and Community Organizer at the MIT Media Lab's Center for Civic Media. She spends her time with changemakers and techies codesigning tools and methods to leverage media technology for progressive social change.  Becky in blogland. Twitter: @beckyhurwitz
The evening will be filled with great conversation and great people! We hope to see you and your friends there!



Transforming Empathy by a Full Spectrum Doula