“Harley Ezelle gently rocked back and forth on a yoga ball in a meeting room at Tutwiler Prison as the woman next to her helped set her legs for maximum balance.
It was the second meeting of the Alabama Prison Birth Project, which is bringing certified doulas to the women’s prison to support pregnant inmates. Eight inmates in matching white prison uniforms sat in a circle, while the trained doulas led the discussion. For Ezelle, the meeting was a rare opportunity to reflect on her first pregnancy – and prepare for a birth that promises to be bittersweet.
The Alabama Prison Birth Project is inspired by a program in Minnesota that pairs certified doulas – who help and encourage mothers during labor – with inmates during pregnancy and childbirth. Women who participate in the Minnesota program have dramatically lower rates of C-section and pre-term birth, saving the state money on medical expenses.” To read more about this story, please click here.