Low-income women who are at risk for adverse outcomes in childbirth have the support of women from their own community in the Birth Sisters program at Boston Medical Center. Birth Sisters are trained and paid stipends to support and educate patients through the childbearing cycle, from pregnancy, through delivery and into postpartum. An added benefit of the program is that it provides job skills to the Birth Sisters themselves, and many go on to pursue further education and careers, often in health care.
The program has been credited with BMC having fewer caesarian deliveries and an exceptional breastfeeding initiation rate. Since budget cuts were made, the number of births assisted by a Birth Sister in one year has decreased to 200 from about 1,200. The average cost of providing a Birth Sister to a low-income expectant mother is about $650.
Learn more about Birth Sisters on BMC’s Obstetrics & Gynecology website.