Gov. Phil Murphy’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 includes $1 million to provide doula care to expectant mothers on Medicaid; doulas are non-clinical birth coaches and maternal advocates. The aim of the investment is to rectify the significant racial disparities in health outcomes for New Jersey mothers and their children.
The state’s Department of Health has already invested $4.7 million in its Healthy Women, Healthy Families program, as a result of which 77 outreach workers — including 40 doulas — have been hired to work on improving black women’s health.
There’s evidence that doulas contribute to lower cesarean section rates, fewer obstetric interventions, fewer complications, and the improved health of babies after delivery. They support healthy pregnancies by providing culturally appropriate social and emotional support to pregnant women throughout the prenatal period, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period.
“Building a stronger and fairer New Jersey means giving every mom and infant the support they need to thrive, and culturally appropriate doula services can help us give moms and infants of color the strongest possible start,” said Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson, who oversees Medicaid.