As you no doubt are aware if you watch the evening news, there are a number of women affected by hurricane Katrina who are pregnant or have recently given birth, some even in the midst of the evacuation. Below are listed several efforts by the childbirth community to reach out to these women and their babies. If you know of any others, please email me so I can update the list.
The Barefoot Doctors Academy, a Hawaii-based non-profit, is focusing its recovery efforts on "arranging for medical assistance and relocation for families containing pregnant women, infants and small children". They are looking for volunteers who are doctors, midwives, childbirth educators, doulas, lactation consultants, and La Leche League leaders. In particular, they are wanting midwives to travel with relocating pregnant women to provide support, childbirth education, and emergency childbirth services en route if necessary.
The American College of Nurse-Midwives is activating their annual Blankets for Babies Campaign:
Distribution centers have been set up by nurse-midwives in Dallas-Fort Worth and Galveston, Texas. Thousands of families are being offered shelter and support in Texas, and many midwives will be providing health care services to these families. They have graciously agreed to accept and work with local relief efforts to distribute your donations.Their website lists addresses where you can send donations of blankets and baby clothes. The ACNM has also set up an eMidwife list for KatrinaSupport information.
The Midwives' Alliance of North American (MANA) is offering to post notices of relief projects on their website. They also note that "many Texas state licensing boards and programs are providing expedited processes to assist refugees displaced by Hurricane Katrina who are seeking employment in Texas" and list contact numbers for the Texas CNM and LM/DEM licensing authorities.
There was talk in certain circles that CAPPA's Operation Special Delivery, (which provides volunteer Doula services to birthing women whose partners are on military deployment), might expand their efforts to reach those affected by Katrina. However, as of today there is nothing about it on OSD's or CAPPA's websites. Nevertheless, if you know of someone who is pregnant and could use a Doula, I would suggest contacting CAPPA or DONA and see if they can't locate a Doula in your area who would volunteer. I know there are many doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, and lactation consultants who would be glad to help out evacuees free of charge.
**UPDATE 10/03/05** Operation Special Delivery has a new website with Katrina support information on the main page.
**UPDATE 9/15/05 **
The March of Dimes has announced several efforts to help babies and women affected by hurricane Katrina, including providing support parents of NICU babies and donating supplies, maternity and baby clothing.
**UPDATE 10/01/05 **
The African American Breastfeeding Alliance has teamed up with Mocha Moms and La Leche League to provide breastfeeding support and resources for families affected by Hurricane Katrina. "In addition to on-the-ground efforts in Texas, AABA is providing a support hotline where mothers can get breastfeeding information. The AABA Breastfeeding Support Hotline Number is 1-877-532-8535"
Press Release (PDF)
Project Breastfeeding Book Recovery - Pharmasoft Publishing and Crystal Stearns, IBCLC, have teamed up to help Lactation Consultants and La Leche League Leaders who may have lost breastfeeding reference materials in the hurricane. Donations accepted here. Additional lists of lactation-related relief efforts are posted by the La Leche Leage Alumni Association and the International Lactation Consultant Association.