When Brandi Jordan started working as a doula in Los Angeles in 2001, she says there was only one other doula of color in the city.

“You have not had a lot of women of color doing this work," she said. "And so there has been this push to have more women of color serve in these underserved areas and, particularly because of Black maternal health deaths, have more Black doulas get into the fold and start servicing those families."

In LA County, the Black infant mortality rate is more than three times higher than the rate of white infant mortality, and the death rate for Black moms is four times higher than for white moms.

“For Black women in Los Angeles, they’re hearing 24/7 about how they’re going to die in childbirth," Jordan said. "You want someone who understands that and understands on a physical level how it feels to hear that when you’re carrying something that should be joyful for you."

She applauds the county for taking action to change the statistic, but says it’s not so much a socioeconomic issue.

“Black women who have a Ph.D. are more likely to die in childbirth than a white woman without a high school diploma,” Jordan said. “They should be giving this money directly to these families and letting them get the care they need in the ways they need them, if that means going to an acupuncturist, if that means hiring a doula, if that means being able to have a midwife attend your birth versus going into a hospital.”

Jordan founded The Cradle Company in 2008 and has served many high-profile clients, even celebrities such as Mandy Moore and Julia Stiles. However, she says that during the pandemic, it became more mainstream.

“People started saying like, 'OK, I can’t have my trusted person that I thought was going to come. Who can I reach out to?' And doulas were a good, safe choice for a lot of families," she said. "When you’re aware of what’s happening during birth, it creates a lot less fear and that’s important because fear causes us to close up. And with birth, you need to be really open."

Doulas have also been found to reduce the rate of preterm and cesarean births as well as decrease symptoms of postpartum depression. Jordan says having someone who can advocate, educate and provide necessary resources to pregnant people is critical.

“We have experienced this doctor 10 times. We know all the moms don’t like this OB/GYN, and so we’re able to share that information with them,” she said.

Not to mention, Jordan says it’s pretty easy to be a workaholic.

“I’m hanging out with pregnant people and their babies," she said. "And it’s like the most fantastic thing ever."