Maternal mortality rates are steadily on the rise in the U.S. – the only developed nation where that’s true. The maternal mortality rate in 48 states and the District of Columbia increased by 26.6% between 2000 and 2014—from 18.8 to 23.8 per 100,000 live births. Hidden in those statistics is great racial disparity, where African American women are 3-4 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.

The CDC recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months and cites benefits such as the reduced risk for Asthma, Obesity, Type 1 diabetes, and many more problems that the healthcare system is working earnestly to address.

According to DONA International, a Doula is “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible” and that “countless scientific trials examining doula care demonstrate remarkably improved physical and psychological outcomes for both mother and baby. Doulas have a positive impact on the well-being of the entire family.

So, continuous support for women and children before, during, and after childbirth can support healthcare’s efforts in chronic disease prevention, health access, health equity, mental health, and more. And as usual, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care. Baby Cafés are sprouting up across the country and can provide these services to mothers and children to prevent problems for a fraction of what we’re spending in the healthcare system to address the problems later. And in doing so, they’re strengthening our communities and putting our children on a pathway to long-term health.

On today’s episode, we talk with Rev. Diann Holt from Durham’s Baby Café in downtown Buffalo. They provide mothers (and fathers!) with birth planning, breastfeeding education and doula services, plus hot meals twice per week, AT NO COST! Rev. Diann tells us all about the benefits of these services, and we explore how the healthcare system can support and benefit from community-based organizations like Durham’s Baby Café.

About Durham’s Baby Café

Durham’s Baby Café is a 501c3 non-profit organization and social entrepreneurship founded in 2013 by Rev. Diann Holt.

Durham’s Baby Café on Facebook

Rev. Diann Holt: (716) 427-0556

Licensed By Baby Cafe USA

Find a baby cafe near you:


This episode was made possible by:

VBP Forward is building a bridge between community-based organizations and healthcare delivery. VBP Forward: The Conference 2020 will be held in Albany, NY on April 28-30, 2020. Join us as we work to fully leverage the value of community-based organizations to realize healthcare’s loftiest goals AND ensure they are properly funded to continue and expand their efforts.


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