Doulas as Community Health Workers: Lessons Learned from a Volunteer Program
Doulas, women who primarily provide social support during childbirth, have been associated with a number of positive health outcomes. Because the primary model of practice for doulas is a fee-for-service model in which families privately hire a doula, many expectant women who could benefit from doula support are unable to access the service.
The Doulas Care program, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, represents one model in which doulas provide services without charge. As a result of their extended role in the community, doulas who work with the Doulas Care program have unique educational needs.
Through the use of focus groups with the program’s volunteer doulas, educational needs related to overcoming barriers to being a doula working in the community were identified. Recommendations for education and training are made to improve the support doulas offer as community health outreach workers.
Effect of a collaborative interdisciplinary maternity care program on perinatal outcomes
Background: The number of physicians providing maternity care in Canada is decreasing, and the rate of cesarean delivery is increasing. We evaluated the effect on perinatal outcomes of an interdisciplinary program designed to promote physiologic birth and encourage active involvement of women and their families in maternity care.
Interpretation: Women attending a collaborative program of interdisciplinary maternity
care were less likely to have a cesarean delivery, had shorter hospital stays on average and were more likely to breastfeed exclusively.
Medicaid Coverage of Doula Services in Minnesota: Preliminary findings from the first year
This document provides initial findings from a research project entitled “Improving maternal and child health by increasing doula support for diverse Minnesota women” – also known as the “Doula Access Project.” This interim report is being provided to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) with information on the early phases of implementation and as guidance for future implementation. We hope that it is useful both in Minnesota and in other states seeking to enact similar legislation.