By Mary-Powel Thomas
More than 60 doulas, community advocates, and champions gathered recently to talk about ways to increase doula support for women in New York City and State. Doulas are trained professionals who support families during childbirth, and studies show they often help improve outcomes for both mom and baby, from fewer C-sections to more breastfeeding. The benefits are shown in articles such as “The Amazing People Who Are Changing How Low-Income Moms Give Birth.”
The group, including callers from across the state, brainstormed several ideas to make doulas available to more women, including educating medical providers about the benefits of doula support, creating a standard of practice that doulas can adopt, and highlighting obstacles to insurance coverage for doula support.
Speakers at the meeting included (front row, second from left) Dr. Aletha Maybank of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Mary-Powel Thomas of the department’s Healthy Start Brooklyn program and Chanel Porchia-Albert of Ancient Song Doula Services, as well as Nan Strauss of Choices in Childbirth (second row, behind Ms. Thomas, in black).
For more information on payment for doulas, see Overdue! Medicaid and Private Insurance Coverage of Doula Care to Strengthen Maternal and Infant Health.