Local Women Train to be Doulas through Healthy Start Coalition

Posted on June 30, 2022

Stuart, Fla. - Twelve local women have completed training through the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition to become community-based doulas.

A doula is a trained non-medical assistant who provides physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth. The Doula training program is designed to serve low-income, high-risk women throughout their pregnancy and the birth process to improve pregnancy, maternal, and infant health outcomes.

“Doulas can make an enormous difference to mothers and babies, particularly for women who may not have other support available to them,” says Martin County Healthy Start Coalition CEO Samantha Suffich. “Because a doula is a member of the community, she can form a strong bond with the mother in the weeks leading up to giving birth, making sure the expectant mother  has everything she needs and is doing the right thing for herself and her baby. A Doula then stays with the mother through labor and is available during the crucial time after birth to help a mom  with breast feeding and successful bonding with her baby.”

The Doula training program is funded through the Lichtenberger Family Charitable Fund and Ranieri Family Charitable Fund at The Community Foundation Martin - St. Lucie along with the Children’s Services Council of Martin County.

National studies show the techniques used by doulas have a positive effect on the whole family and lead to better birth outcomes. With doula support, women tend to need less medical intervention and their babies tend to be born healthier than without this personal support.

“Doulas do more than whisper a gentle reminder that you are doing well, remind you to breathe, and rub your back,” said Anglica Fereshetian, one of the Healthy Start doulas and a Childbirth Educator. “Doulas remind their pregnant clients that they are superheroes! When I see new families become the strongest and most confident versions of themself through support, education, and the bringing forth of a new life, I am rewarded with the knowing that this family has their own superhero story.”

A second Doula Training Course will be offered later this summer. Community members who want to participate in the training or receive doula services can contact Community Doula Program Coordinator Margo Keane at, 772-463-2888, x145. 


About Martin County Healthy Start

Martin County Healthy Start is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every baby is born healthy. It provides educational and health services to pregnant women, new mothers and their families at no cost, particularly expectant mothers who are at risk for late or no prenatal care.

Part of a statewide coalition, Healthy Start connects pregnant women and young mothers with essential services including prenatal care, home visitations by a nurse or social worker, breastfeeding support, parenting education, car seat and sleeping safety, a free diaper pantry, and access to other community partner agencies through the Betty Moore Prenatal Outreach Center. The David Cardno Father and Child Resource Center, also part of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, helps fathers to become more involved in parenting and offers legal assistance to fathers who are separated from their children.

The programs of Martin County Healthy Start Coalition are voluntary and available to all Florida residents at no cost.

For more information about Martin County Healthy Start Coalition and its ongoing programs, visit, call 772-463-2888 or follow the organization on Facebook.


View original article