Birthing Project USA
Birthing Project USA
"T h e   U n d e r g r o u n d   R a i l r o a d   f o r   N e w   L i f e"
An International Organization & Resource Center for improving birth outcomes for women of color.
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Birthing Project Sister♥Friends

Reducing Infant Mortality

Nashville Birthing Project Sister Friends

Memphis, TN Birthing Project Sister♥Friends

Birthing Project SisterFriends is an extended family model with each volunteer SisterFriend responsible for one pregnant woman.  The pregnant teens and women range in age from 12 to 44 years old and in situations from married and employed but without the benefit of health insurance to unmarried with risk factors such as chronic disease, substance abuse and/or lack of basic resources (housing, transportation, etc.). 

The SisterFriends represent a cross section of personal and professional interest including health care, social services, the arts, community education and advocacy.  Many of our SisterFriends come from the faith community and services clubs, such as sororities.

The original “Freedom Trains” led women from physical slavery.  The Birthing Project helps women identify and use the resources necessary to care for themselves and their families.  It also helps them remember that they are part of a community that cares for them.  The beginning point is pregnancy.  The final stop is a healthy one year old child and the ability to care for that child in terms of providing a source of income, housing, support system and other factors involved in maintaining optimum health status.  We love the idea of saving our own lives, advocating for our own children and being our sister’s sister.

The Plan
Community Involvement

The goal of The Birthing Project is to keep more babies alive by recruiting, training and supporting community volunteers to provide direction, emotional support and education to the mothers.  This support continues for one year after the birth of their babies.

The Strategy
Care Coordination, Support and Advocacy

During pregnancy, the primary focus is on obtaining, understanding and complying with prenatal care and development of resources necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.    This includes identifying and coordinating services offered by agencies such as the health department, criminal justice, children’s protective service and social services. It also involves attending childbirth preparation and parenting classes and being a birth partner, if appropriate.

Project participation continues through the child’s first birthday.  During this year the SisterFriend supports her extended family in obtaining the parenting and life skills, identifying and pursuing education and employment goals and…understanding that she is  part of a community which cares for and values her.

The Outcome
Over 10,000 Babies Born into Birthing Project Communities

Sister Friends

 Our babies are born as healthy as possible to parents who are prepared to care for them.  The Birthing project model has received local, national and international recognition,  It has been replicated in over 90 communities in the US, Canada, Latin America, Cuba and most recently, AfricaThe collective vision and spirit of our communities have allowed us to continue to meet the challenge of facilitating better birth outcomes with the creativity, commitment, humor and love that has brought us this far.

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Birthing Project USA
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