Portland New Family Fund has four focus areas to improve
outcomes for parents and babies:
1. Direct Service
2. Community Education/Connection
4. Policy Change
We believe that improving maternal health in the U.S. requires a multifaceted approach given the complexity of our current healthcare and political systems. We envision a world where the United States is one of the best places in the developed world to have a baby, instead of one of the worst.
Read below to find out more about each focus area.
Portland New Family Fund (PNFF) provides birth doulas, postpartum doulas and lactation consulting to low-income families. Portland New Family Fund pays doulas and Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) a living wage/compensation to provide these services to families.
Direct Service at PNFF looks like:
- Paying a birth doula, postpartum doula or lactation consultant directly to provide care for a family.
- Providing a month of diapers and wipes to each client.
- PNFF staff picking up donations to drop off at clients homes like baby carriers, strollers, baby clothes, etc.
- Helping clients access existing resources like housing support, food support, Medicaid Birth Doula services, mental health support and more. One of the main barriers low income families is they haven't been connected to available resources.
Read more about our doula and lactation program HERE.
We leverage community education and connection to empower individuals, care providers, community organizations and key players with knowledge, creating a supportive network that enhances maternal health through shared experiences and resources.
Community Education and Connection Looks Like:
- Holding fun social events that spread awareness about maternal health issues.
- Giving presentations to hospital staff such as doctors, nurses, midwives and social workers about the obstacles low income families face during pregnancy, birth and postpartum and what steps they can take to improve outcomes.
- Meeting with insurance companies to educate them on how paying for doulas and lactation care is preventative care and will ultimately save them money.
- Meeting with other related nonprofits to discuss how we can partner to improve outcomes for parents/babies and learn about resources for our clients.
- Meeting with donors to share how maternal health is a foundational cause to give funds and resources to.
- Interacting with potential clients and sharing resources around how they can get the best start for them and their baby.
Research is crucial for maternal health in the U.S. as it drives evidence-based interventions, informs best practices, and advances our understanding of maternal healthcare, ultimately improving outcomes for mothers and their families.
At the moment PNFF is working hard to get a research grant to study the short and long term benefits to postpartum doula care. To date, there is almost no academic or scientific data on postpartum doula care. This is despite common sense knowledge that physical support in the three months postpartum is crucial for families to thrive and can even be life-saving. Research is crucial for policy change because it proves a need for federal and state policies to include certain services in basic maternal healthcare.
Research looks like:
- Applying for research grants at local universities.
- Writing research proposals/pilot project proposals for foundations to fund.
- Keeping our staff up to date on current research being done in the maternal health arenas.
- Collecting anonymous data from our clients (with their permission) so we can track how our current services are impacting them.
Advocating for policy change is imperative for maternal health, as it enables systemic improvements, equitable access to care, and the establishment of supportive frameworks that address the diverse needs of expectant mothers, parents and families, ensuring a positive impact on maternal well-being.
Policy Change Looks like:
- Talking to legislators about bills that would pay for birth and postpartum doulas plus lactation care.
- Working with hospital systems to put programs in place that encourage better pregnancy, birth and postpartum support.
- Working with other maternal and child based organizations to change laws that inhibit the best healthy start for families.