Recently we had our monthly board meeting. As usual, I came away completely inspired by Open Arms.

Annie Moffat, our WCELI Program Director, presented to the board on the many new program changes and updates for this year. The staff have clearly been working extremely hard to implement a whole new model for client visits and recordkeeping that streamlines processes and ensures that every client receives all information.

Some highlights:

  • We now have a much more efficient system of collecting data about births and outcomes. Although this is all information we’ve tracked since Open Arms opened its doors, it will be a lot easier for our doulas to keep records with the new system, and it will be a lot easier for us later to go back and run statistical analysis on our outcomes to bring you solid quantitative data about the work we do. You’ll be hearing more about this for sure.
  • Our doulas now routinely screen for perinatal depression. As seen in previous posts, this is critical for maternal and baby health. By addressing this routinely with every client, we hope to remove the stigma and enable women who experience perinatal depression to seek help early.
  • Our doulas also spend time with every client discussing the signs and symptoms of preterm labor, and how to bring this to the attention of caregivers. Preterm labor is not like traditional labor, and the signs and symptoms can be subtle. By making clear what to look for, women can return to their caregivers with clear information to seek medical help when they experience something out of the ordinary. Already we’ve seen this information make a difference to our clients, who were then able to seek help early enough to stop labor.

I’m thrilled with the hard work that the staff has been doing and their clarity in forming such a robust program. I think both our doulas and clients will benefit from the new guidelines.

And who knows – out of all the women who learn what preterm labor is like, some percentage might tell a sister or friend, and help another woman avoid delivering prematurely. Out of all the women who receive screening for perinatal depression, some percentage might recognize the signs in a cousin or daughter and help her seek help in a nonjudgemental way.

Open Arms hopes, by supporting, educating, respecting, honoring and empowering women, to make a difference not only to the women who are our clients, but the women who know them as well.

As the commercial goes, “And they tell two friends, and so on, and so on…” And that’s how change happens.

Once a woman finds her voice, connects with her power, it’s awfully hard to take that away. She will go out in the world and help others become knowledgeable.

We support the women who will teach the village that will raise the children.

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