Who is behind Healing Hands Community Doula Project?


Darline Turner, BS, MHS, PA-C is a full spectrum doula, childbirth educator, lactation educator, community activist, and founder of Mamas On Bedrest & Beyond, a perinatal in home support service for high risk pregnant women.

She utilized her over 20 years of experience as a physician assistant, ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist®, perinatal fitness instructor, and educator to develop Healing Hands Community Doula Project.

As a high risk, older mom (who gave birth at 37 and 40), she brings the unique perspective as both a clinician and a patient to meet the unique physical and emotional needs of high risk pregnant women.

What is Healing Hands Community Doula project?

Healing Hands Community Doula Project serves and supports childbearing black women in Central Texas with an enhanced perinatal care program utilizing full-spectrum black doulas — from conception through the first year of their child’s life.

Watch the video to hear Darline Turner, Healing Hands Community Doula Project founder, describe the way the project supports black women and babies in Central Texas.

Also, hear women describe their experiences with pregnancy and labor crises.

What’s the maternal health crisis?

Even after factoring in education, income and overall health status, the maternal morbidity landscape is disproportionately bleak for black women. Texas is among the worst in maternal and infant health outcomes in the U.S.

  • Black women are 3 times more likely to die from complications surrounding childbirth than their white counterparts.
  • Black women are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, than white women in the US, according to the CDC.
  • Black  infants are 2-3 times more likely to die before their first birthday.

Having a doula or birth attendant present throughout pregnancy provides pregnant women with a ready resource of support, information and assistance.

Having a doula present during labor and delivery reduces the number of interventions performed and the number of “near miss” catastrophes.

The irony is that the benefits of doulas are typically only accessible to White women and/or women of means, i.e. able to pay for the services out of pocket. Thus, those who most need a doula and who would most benefit are unable to afford and hence access this potentially lifesaving support.

How does Healing Hands Community Doula Project help?

Healing Hands Community Doula Project — based in Austin, Texas — supports childbearing black women and their families with a variety of programs, including:

  • Pregnancy and Labor Support
  • Specialization in Bedrest and High-Risk Pregnancy support
  • Postpartum care
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Childbirth education
  • Community workshops
  • Support groups

Healing Hands Community Doula Project helps fill a much-overlooked gap in maternity care for Texas’ black childbearing women, drawing on:

  • World Health Organization recommendations
  • Leading research on perinatal morbidity and mortality
  • Best practices published and shared within the birth work professional community (AWHONN, ACOG, DONA, etc.)
  • Agencies, nonprofits, NGOs and other organizations with proven success in lowering maternal and infant mortality, domestically and internationally (National Perinatal Taskforce, Uzazi Village, Ancient Song Doula, etc.)

Hands Community Doula Project will also pay homage to the African American “Granny Midwives”, our wise ancestral healers from across the African diaspora who birthed this nation and whose wisdom and skills enable us to do what we are doing to serve black women today.

It is our firm belief, as it was with our ancestors, that healthy babies come from healthy Mamas, so we focus on educating black mamas listen to their bodies, heed the wisdom from within and utilize tried and true methods of healthy nutrition, exercise and lifestyle habits to be in their best before, during and after pregnancy.