Are you pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant? If so, a doula could be helpful for you. Doulas provide support and information to birth parents before and after birth, as well as during labor. Your health care provider or your health plan can help find the right doula for you.
What are doulas?
A doula, or birth worker, is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to birthing parents. This support can happen before, during, and after birth. Doulas serving Maryland Medicaid members will provide person-centered care that supports their racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity.
Doulas are non-clinical providers, and cannot perform the work of a nurse-midwife, nurse practitioner or doctor.
What do doulas/birth workers services look like?
Doulas provide three kinds of services: before birth (prenatal) visits, attendance at the birth, and after birth (postpartum) visits. The prenatal/postpartum visits are often in the birthing parent’s home. In these visits, the doula and birthing parent discuss issues like:
- the anatomy of labor and birth
- common medical birth procedures
- common comfort measures during labor and birth
- mental health and self-care
- communication skills and self-advocacy during medical appointments and at labor and delivery
- breastfeeding benefits and techniques
- community resources
- after birth support for the birthing parent and baby
Doulas also attend the birth to provide emotional and physical support. This could look like:
How do I know if I am eligible for doula services?
To be eligible for doula services, you must meet all the following:
- Be a Maryland Medicaid member
- Be pregnant, or have been pregnant within the last 180 days
Talk to your health care provider or call your health insurance provider for more information.
How much do these services cost?
Doula/birth worker services are free for eligible Medicaid members.
What kind of results do people have with doula/ birth workers?
Many studies have shown that doulas help the health of both birth parents and their babies, especially for families of color. Birthing parents can feel more confident and less anxious about the birthing process when they have a doula.
Specifically, births with doula support are less likely to be preterm or by cesarean section, and babies are less likely to have low birthweight. Birthing parents also are much more likely to breastfeed their baby.
What if I want to become a certified doula/birth worker under Maryland Medicaid?
Where can I get a doula?
The best place to get a doula is by contacting your Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO), which is the healthcare organization that provides your care. Your MCO will be able to help connect you to a doula as soon as one is available, and provide you with more information about the kind of serices and support a doula may provide.
Here is a list of participating MCOS, where you can find contact information and ask about doula services: