The Role of Doulas in Supporting Safe & Affirming Perinatal Healthcare for Queer Families

Queer people experience perinatal health disparities and face challenges seeking affirming perinatal healthcare. While there is evidence that doula support can be beneficial for communities who experience oppression and exclusion from perinatal health spaces, there is little research on the role and potential benefit of doula support in the perinatal experiences of queer families.

For doula support to be impactful, doulas must understand the unique perinatal health needs of queer families. Since 2017, Wellness Within (WW), a non-profit organization supporting criminalized women, trans and nonbinary people in Nova Scotia, Canada, has offered free doula training to systematically excluded communities, including queer communities. In 2020, WW created a Queer Doula Toolkit and in 2021, WW offered two queer doula trainings. This session will share findings from the development of the Queer Doula Toolkit and our research exploring unmet needs for queer patients, families, and the priorities for perinatal care providers to address those needs.