|Trista Tetro, Certified Labor Doula||
A recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota has reinforced the finding that having a doula present with a laboring woman can lower cesarean section rates, thereby cutting medical costs. This is especially meaningful with our current financial pressures as a nation, since Medicaid programs carry a large burden of childbirth costs. This study proposes that the costs of Medicaid providing coverage for doula services can likely be offset by the reduction in cesarean sections that result from the services of the doula.
The odds of having a c-section with doula support were 40.9% lower than the group that did not have doula support in this study. The benefits a doula provides include prenatal education, information regarding options before and during labor, and physical support such as comfort measures. These benefits all prepare mothers for a more informed and satisfying birth experience. The author of this study also recognizes the improved quality of birth experience for mothers as a result of doula care during labor, in addition to the cost saving reduction in rates of c-sections.
The author also stated in her interview that while all women can benefit from doula services, women from at-risk groups would especially benefit. She also said that they made an effort to train a diverse group of doulas from the community to better match clients and doulas to each other. This could also have the potential to improve our mortality and morbidity rates if at-risk mothers are receiving more support.
Very few Medicaid programs will cover the services of a doula, but hopefully this study and all the others out there that show these same benefits can help not only support women, but also control our rising costs of birth.
About the Author
Trista Tetro, CLD
I am a CAPPA Certified Labor Doula serving families in Hot Springs, Fort Smith, and Mena, Arkansas. I believe every birth is different and women have their own ideals for each birth. My goal as a doula is to help my clients achieve their birth desires, whatever they may be. I feel privileged to serve families as a doula during the exciting journey to parenthood.