Minneapolis nonprofit ‘Doula Dads’ program helps men provide support during pregnancy

Providing physical and emotional support to women during pregnancy, a doula is a role traditionally filled by women, but a local non-profit is training men to be doulas too.   

Minkara Tezet is a proud father of two, he’s also a doula. "Every time someone talks about Doula dads…they go like your response was…huh?," said Tezet in an interview with FOX 9.

Also known as a birth companion, or birth coach, a doula is traditionally a title reserved for women, but not anymore.

"(I) had this idea of creating space where men would be supporting other men who were going through the birthing process," said Tezet. 

He is part of a new initiative by the Cultural Wellness Center in south Minneapolis called "Doula Dads." As a parent, the program brings him back to his roots. 

"I love being in a sense, like a guide to a future father," said Tezet.

In communities of color, gaps in maternal health and mortality persist. According to a recent study by Harvard's Maternal Health Task Force, the number of women who die during or shortly after childbirth is higher in the U.S. than any other developed nation, particularly among women of color. 

"We need to close gaps in a number of areas," said Gina DiMaggio of Medica Foundation. 

The organization is partnering with the wellness center to improve health outcomes. "These strategically invested resources are going to help communities be stronger and healthier," said DiMaggio.

"And that’s what the initiative is about," Tezet added., 

Focused on delivering results, Tezet says that so far, they've trained more than a half dozen men. And he's been there to help welcome two newborns into the world.  

"For me, it’s a beautiful process, and to be able to support people, men, women and their families to create optimal space for their child to be born, is a gift more than work," said Tezet.

For more information about the Doula Dads program, click here