Virginia Prison Doula Project

Mission Statement:

The Virginia Prison Doula Project provides pregnancy and parenting support to incarcerated parents. Our trained doulas offer emotional, physical and informational support for incarcerated mothers throughout pregnancy, during childbirth and the postpartum period, including support with breastfeeding and lactation. The goal is to nurture healthy relationships and to promote confidence in parenting.

pregnant prisoners cartoon

Our Work:

Mothering from Within:

gender-responsive, Trauma-informed support group for women in the childbearing year who are either currently pregnant or have had a baby within the last 12 months. Sessions include prenatal and postpartum yoga, breathwork, discussions surrounding a range of topics concerning prenatal and postpartum wellness, including nutrition, movement and. stress management, support with maintaining healthy relationships, and crafting a vision for how to parent successfully when released.

Lactation Support:

Program for people who have given birth in prison and wish to provide pumped breastmilk for their babies. Parents return to prison with a breast pump from the hospital and are set up in the infirmary. The milk is safely stored and transferred to custody of the infant’s guardian. This program not only promotes the overall health of the mother and baby but serves to keep the new mother bonded with her baby from behind bars. She must pump every two to three hours around the clock to sustain her supply. This dedication along with knowing that her body is continuing to nourish her baby despite the separation helps her to build her confidence as a mother.

Doula Support:

Pregnant inmates have access to doula support during pregnancy, throughout labor and delivery, during separation from the infant and postpartum recovery. The doula package includes three prenatal visits, on-call labor and delivery support, supportive presence when separating from the infant before leaving the hospital and two postpartum visits back at the prison.

doula support in prison

Virginia Prison Doula Project

created by Shot/Minority Programmers Association