We Are Award Winning, Trusted, and Community-Centered.
Open Arms is the leading independent, community-based program in Washington State providing comprehensive perinatal services to families with low incomes. We serve over 500 families every year, providing them with culturally responsive resources throughout pregnancy, lactation, and early parenting.
Our Clients Have Some of the Best Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in the Country.
Open Arms supports, educates, and empowers pregnant people and their families during pregnancy, birth, and early parenting. Since 1997, we have served over 5,200 families with community-based support, completely free of charge.
Doulas Make a Difference
The United States has extremely poor maternal and infant health outcomes compared to other Global North nations, especially for Black, Indigenous, Latine, and other birthing people of color. Research has shown that doulas improve birth outcomes and one-on-one continuous doula support for low-risk patients in spontaneous labor is endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Our Culturally-responsive, Comprehensive Support Results in Healthy Outcomes for Families*
Give birth at full term
Give birth at healthy birth weight
Bodyfeeding at birth
Bodyfeeding at six months
*Program outcomes in 2011-2022.
- We Get Results
- Open Arms’ unplanned C-section rates are lower than both King County and Washington State’s, 14.7 percent versus 26.5 percent and 28.5 percent respectively.
- 92.7 percent of Open Arms’ clients are bodyfeeding at six months, compared to King County at 39.3 percent and Washington State at 50.7 percent.
- Enrolled families have lower rates of child developmental concerns, with nearly all showing improvement on follow-up screening assessments
- Since the launch of our Family Support Services program, we have connected 179 families with resources to meet the growing need for mental health support, housing, transportation, domestic violence, and legal aid.
- Since 2020, we have provided 200 individual lactation support virtual visits as well as reached 22,000 individuals through online education events.
- A third-party evaluation of our program outcomes found 15 percent higher program retention rates than state and national Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funded programs.
- Why It Matters
- Research has shown that doulas improve birth outcomes and one-on-one continuous doula support for low-risk patients in spontaneous labor is endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
- Birthing people who have doula support have fewer complications such as C-sections, have lower rates of postpartum depression, and are much more likely to bodyfeed.
- Culturally aligned doula care is a critical tool in reducing the impact of structural medical racism on Black, Indigenous, Latine, and other birthing people of color and their birth outcomes.
- Community-based doulas and home visiting programs that support families in the early postpartum period improve attachment between parents and their babies, positively impacting early child development.
- Doula services reduce medical interventions and the costs of perinatal care.
- Supporting Research
- Washington State Department of Health, Prevention and Community Health Division. (February 2023). Washington State Maternal Mortality Review Panel: Maternal Deaths 2017–2020.
- East, Chloe N., Sarah Miller, Marianne Page, and Laura R. Wherry. (2023). Multigenerational Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net: Early Life Exposure to Medicaid and the Next Generation’s Health. American Economic Review, 113 (1): 98-135.
- National Partnership for Women and Families. (September 2022). Improving Our Maternity Care Now Through Doula Support.
- Van Eijk MS, Guenther GA, Kett PM, Jopson AD, Frogner BK, Skillman SM. (February 2022). Addressing systemic racism in birth doula services to reduce health inequities in the United States, Health Equity 6:1, 98–105.
- Center for American Progress. (April 14, 2020). Community-Based Doulas and Midwives: Key to Addressing the U.S. Maternal Health Crisis.
- Sakala, C., & Hernández-Cancio, S. (September, 2020). Improving Our Maternity Care Now Through Midwifery. National Partnership for Women & Families.
- Sturtevant, C., & Firth, M. (March, 2019). The Doula Option. University of Washington Center for Health Innovation and Policy Science.
- Ancient Song Doula Services, Village Birth International, and Every Mother Counts. (March 25, 2019). Advancing Birth Justice: Community-Based Doula Models as a Standard of Care for Ending Racial Disparities.
- Center for American Progress. (May 2, 2019). Eliminating Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Mortality: A Comprehensive Policy Blueprint.
- Bohren, M.A., et al. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2017(7)
- Center for Community Health and Evaluation. (June 2017). Community-based Outreach Doula Program, Open Arms Perinatal Services: Report on Program Outcomes.
- Health Connect One. (2014). The Perinatal Revolution.
- Center for American Progress. (January 5, 2010). There’s No Place Like Home: Home Visiting Programs Can Support Pregnant Women and New Parents.