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Article

“My 9 to 5 Job Is Birth Work”: A Case Study of Two Compensation Approaches for Community Doula Care

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Sexual Health and Reproductive Equity Program, School of Social Welfare, University of California, 110 Haviland Hall, MC 7400, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
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SisterWeb San Francisco Community Doula Network, 1912 Keith Street, San Francisco, CA 94124, USA
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ACTIONS Program, School of Nursing, University of California, 2 Koret Way, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, 2356 Sutter Street, J-140, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
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School of Public Health, University of California, 2121 Berkeley Way #5302, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10817; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010817
Received: 26 June 2021 / Revised: 9 October 2021 / Accepted: 10 October 2021 / Published: 14 October 2021
With the increased policy emphasis on promoting doula care to advance birth equity in the United States, there is a vital need to identify sustainable and equitable approaches for compensation of community doulas, who serve clients experiencing the greatest barriers to optimal pregnancy-related outcomes. This case study explores two different approaches for compensating doulas (contractor versus hourly employment with benefits) utilized by SisterWeb San Francisco Community Doula Network in San Francisco, California. We conducted qualitative interviews with SisterWeb doulas in 2020 and 2021 and organizational leaders in 2020. Overall, leaders and doulas reported that the contractor approach, in which doulas were paid a flat fee per client, did not adequately compensate doulas, who regularly attend trainings and provide additional support for their clients (e.g., referrals to promote housing and food security). Additionally, this approach did not provide doulas with healthcare benefits, which was especially concerning during the COVID-19 pandemic. As hourly, benefited employees, doulas experienced a greater sense of financial security and wellbeing from receiving consistent pay, compensation for all time worked, and benefits such as health insurance and sick leave, allowing some to dedicate themselves to birth work. Our study suggests that efforts to promote community doula care must integrate structural solutions to provide appropriate compensation and benefits to doulas, simultaneously advancing birth equity and equitable labor conditions for community doulas. View Full-Text
Keywords: doula; community doula; birth equity; compensation; health equity; labor conditions; maternal health; pregnancy doula; community doula; birth equity; compensation; health equity; labor conditions; maternal health; pregnancy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gomez, A.M.; Arteaga, S.; Arcara, J.; Cuentos, A.; Armstead, M.; Mehra, R.; Logan, R.G.; Jackson, A.V.; Marshall, C.J. “My 9 to 5 Job Is Birth Work”: A Case Study of Two Compensation Approaches for Community Doula Care. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 10817. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010817

AMA Style

Gomez AM, Arteaga S, Arcara J, Cuentos A, Armstead M, Mehra R, Logan RG, Jackson AV, Marshall CJ. “My 9 to 5 Job Is Birth Work”: A Case Study of Two Compensation Approaches for Community Doula Care. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(20):10817. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010817

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gomez, Anu M., Stephanie Arteaga, Jennet Arcara, Alli Cuentos, Marna Armstead, Renee Mehra, Rachel G. Logan, Andrea V. Jackson, and Cassondra J. Marshall 2021. "“My 9 to 5 Job Is Birth Work”: A Case Study of Two Compensation Approaches for Community Doula Care" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 20: 10817. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010817

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