Birth and Baby Services have extended its expertise and resources to the beautiful island of Saint Lucia. Currently there are only two hospitals on the island; one private and one public. The average cost to birth there is $12,000 and up out of pocket (and upfront). Public costs are free with national insurance. The private hospital is the only location where pain medication is offered and has private rooms available. The public hospital is brand new and equipped with 17 beds in postnatal and antenatal shared rooms and 6 delivery beds.
The Birth Set Lisi project was launched with a mission to inform, educate and support birthing people in Saint Lucia by providing access to maternal health services during pregnancy, labor and postpartum period. The project aims to work closely with existing community resources and encourage people giving birth in Saint Lucia to know their reproductive rights, be active decision-makers in their birthing experiences and have more positive birth experiences. While the vast majority of families have no access to pain management and private laboring rooms- the hospital staff are incredible and supportive but unfortunately understaffed.
At this time, policy is being made to allow support persons in the labor and delivery wards. This has the potential of a more “supported” birth experience. It is important that birthing partners are equipped to support birthing persons.
Founder of BSL, Kris Bailey, has been providing virtual doula support for families in Saint Lucia for some time now and engages with the midwives at the hospitals and community clinics.
As BSL continues to support them, they have been able to identify some needs. It's apparent there is a shared sense of mission and purpose to develop solutions that address the barriers that affect positive birth experiences. Some solutions identified are:
Rock this t-shirt to bring a voice to the voiceless. Black birthing people deserve more.