The JUST Birth Network

[3 min read]

In this article:

  • The Justice Unity Support Trust (JUST) Birth Network provides Black and Native patients with culturally affirming care throughout the pregnancy journey.
  • The network includes dedicated cultural navigators, childbirth educators, and birth and postpartum doulas who provide expert care and guidance throughout pregnancy and birth.
  • You can begin services at any point in your pregnancy.

The JUST Birth Network: Fighting systemic racism in childbirth with equity and integrity        

At Providence Swedish, we honor the possibility inherent in every life. That’s why we created the Justice Unity Support Trust (JUST) Birth Network.

The network strives to provide our Black and Native patients with an umbrella of culturally connected, authentic care from the start of pregnancy through the postpartum experience — supporting and improving the birthing experiences of Black, African American, African, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander people from across the sex and gender identity spectrum.

A program created authentically for us, by us

Founded in 2022 with funding from the Providence Health Equity fund as part of our commitment to address inequities experienced by our patients and communities, the JUST Birth Network was the vision of Sauleiha Akangbe, a community advocate, full-spectrum doula and African American woman. Sauleiha now leads the network.

JUST Birth includes dedicated cultural navigators, childbirth educators, and birth and postpartum doulas who provide patients and their families with expert care and guidance throughout their pregnancy and birth.

Our caregivers understand the experiences of non-white patients and birthing parents. We’ve also shared the fears, anxieties and frustrations of seeking care within a system from which we are too often excluded. Now, we support you every step of the way throughout your pregnancy and childbirth journey — from birth planning to patient and family education to postpartum care.

We want to help every baby and their family grow, thrive and live their happiest, healthiest life.

Services we provide

JUST Birth acts as an access point to culturally congruent care within Swedish Women’s Health.

  • Some of the services we provide include:
  • Access to culturally congruent childbirth education: The JUST Birth six-week childbirth education series
  • Partnership with community organizations to provide access to appropriate resources
  • Connection to a birth doula who will provide emotional, physical support and education during pregnancy and labor and delivery
  • Dedicated postpartum doula support including physical and emotional care during transition and recovery, education and techniques to soothe and care for baby, guidance for breastfeeding and chest-feeding, advice for healthful meal preparation, navigating family time with a newborn, and much more
  • Inpatient cultural navigators are available for patients and caregivers at First Hill Labor & Delivery, Antepartum, Postpartum and NICU, bringing culturally relevant resources and education to the bedside, as well as advocating for patients

Birth doulas are available at our Seattle First Hill, Issaquah and Edmonds birthing centers. Postpartum doulas and birth and family education services are available throughout the Puget Sound region. Cultural navigators support all Black, African American and Native birthing patients during their stay at Swedish First Hill. 

To qualify for free doula services or classes, patients must have Medicaid. For all other patients, services may be paid for in full, by payment plan, FHA and/or HSA, when applicable.

Learn more about JUST Birth

You can begin services at any time.

Doula services

If you have Medicaid and want to learn more about our doula services, you can complete a contact form to request a free doula and someone will reach out to you. You can also call us at 206-291-7929 or send us an email if you need more information or help with the referral form.

If you have private or no insurance, you can complete a contact form to request a doula. You can also call 206-215-6106 or send us an email.

Childbirth and family education

The JUST Birth Network provides access to culturally congruent childbirth education to support new and growing families. Our priority is to empower, honor and value the experience of Black/African American and Native birthing women, people and families by providing culturally competent care that is safe, compassionate, high-quality and created for us, by us and for our culture. Classes are free to patients who qualify for Medicaid and will be facilitated by a trained educator who understands the experiences of non-white patients and birthing parents. Medicaid and ProviderOne patients, please call 206-386-2502 to register. Registration for the JUST Birth six-week class series is also available on our class registration page.

Provider groups (coming soon!)

The group of providers listed in our JUST Birth Care Team section have undergone a non-clinical birth equity competency training and are committed to the JUST Birth Network and the communities we serve. The providers listed are affirming of patient's identities, experiences and cultural backgrounds in the care they are trained to provide. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory. Through Swedish Virtual Care, you can also access a full range of health care services.

Related resources

Find a doula

Find a doctor or midwife

Birth Center locations

Classes and tours

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

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About the Author

There's a reason why more babies are born at Swedish every year than any other health system in western Washington - bringing babies into this world is our mission. The Swedish Pregnancy & Childbirth Team is committed to giving you relevant and actionable insights on how to care for yourself and your child as you navigate the trimesters of your pregnancy.

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