World Doula Week is March 22-28!

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Blog, News

Happy World Doula Week! Doulas are a critical component of maternal and infant health and this week, we wanted to share how we’re advocating for increased access to doula services and how you can get involved in important legislation in Missouri.

Missouri ranks 44th in the nation for maternal mortality. Doulas are a critical way that we can address racial disparities in maternal and newborn health. Every woman and birthing person, regardless of their zip code or economic status, deserves the chance to bring life into this world without fear for their own well-being. Yet too many families face insurmountable barriers in accessing the care they need. This is where doulas can make a difference. Doulas are more than just birth workers; they are beacons of hope, offering unwavering support, comfort, guidance, and advocacy through the tumultuous journey of pregnancy and childbirth. They are the compassionate voices in a system that often feels cold and impersonal.

Data shows that birthing people with doula support are half as likely to experience birth complications and four times less likely to have a low birth-weight baby. Access to doula care can improve breastfeeding initiation and decrease the likelihood of postpartum depression.  However, the sad reality is that doula care is not covered by most insurance plans, so many women and birthing people are denied this crucial support due to financial constraints. In addition, this leads to many doulas being underpaid and reliant on individuals’ ability to pay for services during a time when expenses are already high. Therefore, doula work a difficult career to sustain, which has led to a shortage of workers in the field.

HB 2654, which would establish doula reimbursement through MoHealth Net, is not just a piece of legislation; it is a lifeline for countless mothers-to-be across Missouri. By ensuring Medicaid recipients have access to doula services through reimbursement via MoHealth Net, we can remove financial barriers and ensure that no expecting parent is left to navigate this journey alone. Additionally, by providing reimbursement, we create additional avenues for payment, thereby solidifying the viability of a career as a doula, allowing for more doulas to remain in the field.

With doula care being an important part of our advocacy agenda, Generate Health has been tracking and advocating for legislation that would improve access to doulas. This session, two of our staff traveled to Jefferson City to testify in favor of HB 2654 and submitted written testimony in favor of HB 1446. Our staff has also met with several Missouri representatives and organizations regarding doula care and the MoHealth Net proposed regulations. We hope you’ll join us in this effort.

Missouri’s women and birthing people deserve every resource available to combat this crisis. The time to enact doula reimbursement is now. We encourage to join us in supporting HB 2654 by emailing or calling your legislators (look them up here). The future of our state’s families depend on it!


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