The By My Side Birth Support program recently celebrated its 500th birth. This celebratory spot was held by Lisa Johnson, a bouncing bundle of joy, weighing in at a loving 6 pounds. Lisas mother, Shemaiah Johnson, remembers the labor leading up to the birth lasting between two and three days. She credited the support of her boyfriend and her doula, Kesha King for helping her through it, saying, I dont think my experience would have been that great if they were not there.

Having a doula was very important for this first-time mom, because Kesha provided relief for her anxiety around having a baby. Doula support is of a very distinct nature. Being a doula involves providing continuous, compassionate support both physically and emotionally. Kesha did just that. She devoted her time to support both Shemaiah and her boyfriend, which allowed labor and delivery to be as smooth as possible.

Shemaiah noted, I dont think I would have been as informed if she wasnt there.

A doula is a trained non-medical support professional who provides physical, emotional, and educational support to a pregnant woman and her family. Doulas can cost anywhere from $800 to $2500 and are usually not billable through insurance companies.

Fortunately, Healthy Start Brooklyn provides free Doula services to eligible women living in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York and parts of Bushwick. In areas where women may not be able to afford the much needed extra support doulas provide prenatally, during labor and delivery and also postnatally. They also provide technical assistance in areas such as breastfeeding, an area where Shemaiah credited her ability to succeed to Kesha. Shemaiah noted that breastfeeding seemed hard, and if not for Kesha, I would not have been able to do it the right way.

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