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bullet point  The Birth Circle – Community Based Doula Program
The Birth Circle

“Working with our community to build an integrated circle of care that addresses the needs of the childbearing family.”

Recently integrated into the Department of Family Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the Birth Circle is a community-based program offering information and support to women and their families during pregnancy and childbirth.

Community Based Doula Program
The Birth Circle offers support to childbearing women and their families through its Community-Based Doula program, which has been serving Pittsburgh mothers since 2004. The word “doula” is an ancient Greek word, meaning “a woman who serves.” Today, the word doula refers to paraprofessionals who provide support to mothers before, during, and after giving birth. Doulas provide emotional support and encouragement, including physical comfort measures and individualized one-on-one education to women during pregnancy, throughout labor and birth, and during the newborn period. Birth Circle Doulas refer women to other needed social services, such as WIC and parenting support groups.

Doulas do not provide medical care. They are recognized by a national certifying body, DONA International ( ).

The use of doulas at birth is associated with a number of positive health outcomes, including fewer medical interventions; lower incidence of Caesarean section; reduced use of pain medications and epidurals; increased success at breastfeeding; higher patient satisfaction; and decreased postpartum depression.

The primary service model for doula practice in the U.S. is fee-based, with families paying privately for doula services. However, the Birth Circle is currently accepting clients for their no-cost doula services who have UPMC for You, UPMC for Kids, or UPMC for Life if they reside in, receive OB care in, and will deliver in Allegheny County. Please call for more information.

We offer mothers support tailored to their needs and unique challenges, and will meet with the mother at home, at a doctor’s appointment, or somewhere in the community to discuss pregnancy, nutrition, childbirth preparation, and birth planning. The doula will also provide continuous support during labor and birth, as well as at least one postpartum visit. While our expertise is in pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, we can also provide referrals to social service agencies as requested by our clients.

Wise Women Ambassador Program
The Birth Circle offers information through its Ambassador Program, started in 2001, as a means of opening a community dialogue about health and social concerns. The Ambassadors group meets monthly at an East Liberty church for a dinner meeting and presentation about a health or social concern. Attendance is open, and during the meeting women have the opportunity to learn about the issue, ask questions and take resources back to share in their community. In this way, they become “Wise Women” in their communities, who can share valuable health information.

For more information about services available through the Birth Circle, please contact the Birth Circle at:

Main Office: 412-441-3701
Fax: 412-441-3706
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