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Ancient practice may soon be introduced to help curb infant deaths in 53206

Posted at 6:49 AM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-23 18:01:30-04

MILWAUKEE -- Resolutions introduced by city and county leaders would put more than $100,000 into a program they hope will save newborns' lives.

They hope to unite at least 100 pregnant women living in the 53206 zip code with a birthing coach known as a doula. A doula is a non-medical birthing coach.

We spoke to two doulas, Lyanne Jordan and Cami Thomas who are part of Maroon Calabash.

They demonstrated how they only use their hands to help a mom through labor. They also help moms during their pregnancies and post-partum.

Jordan says all of the doctors she has come across in deliveries are welcoming.

"Returning back to that, and having modern medicine is a wonderful marriage," said Jordan.

Alderman Kalif Rainey supports a measure to provide a doula to at least 100 pregnant women who live in the 53206 zip code. We asked if he thinks it will pass.

"I do," replied Rainey, who grew up in the 53206 zip code. He added, "Milwaukee County is providing the health department in the City of Milwaukee $52,000. I'm going to be identifying an additional $52,000 to match those funds."

Data from the Wisconsin Department of Health shows as of 2016, there were 15.2 deaths for every 1,000 live births in the 53206 zip code. That's compared to 9.3 for the entire City of Milwaukee, and 6.2 for the entire state of Wisconsin.

Alderman Rainey hopes a non-medical birthing coach like a doula could help lower the leading causes of death, which include premature births and unsafe sleeping environments.

The city's common council is expected to vote on their measure later this month. A similar one for the county is expected to be voted on in April.