A bill introduced by Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin that would expand the State Medicaid program to include coverage for doula care passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee Monday.
A doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional, and educational support, but not medical care, to mothers before, during, and after childbirth.
“Having a baby is such a joyous time in a woman’s life. But it’s also perfectly natural for expectant mothers to feel stressed or afraid, and to have a lot of questions. That’s where doulas come in," Pintor Marin said.
Research has demonstrated that support from a doula is associated with lower caesarian section rates, fewer obstetric interventions, fewer complications, decreased use of pain medication, shorter labor hours, and higher scores on the APGAR test, which indicates how well the baby is doing outside the womb.
“Doulas can help a mother develop a birth plan, teach them relaxation and breathing techniques, and answer questions about labor, delivery, breastfeeding, and so much more," Pintor Marin said.
The bill, A1662, now moves to the full Assembly for consideration.
"All women deserve support during and after pregnancy, and I hope more women will have access to critical assistance from doulas once this bill is enacted,” Pintor Marin said.