Kentuckians should be able to use Medicaid to pay for doula services. Expanding access to doula services would reduce the overall rates of and racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality.
Doulas inform and advocate for pregnant people before, during, and after birth. Doulas provide individualized and culturally specific education about pregnancy and childcare and ways to reduce stress and promote a healthy pregnancy. They visit patients at home and are present during delivery to ensure the patient receives the care they need.
Currently, pregnant people of color are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their white peers. This trend is even worse for Black people, who face maternal mortality rates nearly four times greater than their white peers. These disturbing trends apply regardless of income or education.
Kentuckians who utilize Medicaid have low incomes and disproportionately represent rural communities and communities of color. Expanding access to doulas will reduce disparities in maternal and infant mortality, and help all Kentucky families have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.