Board of Supervisors Expand Access to Doula Services Across LA County

LOS ANGELES, Calif.— Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchel, representing the Second District, to expand access to doula services across LA County and support the growth of the doula workforce to ensure the success of the program.

“Across the nation, maternal and infant mortality rates are exponentially higher for Black people than any other group,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “Doula care is shown to improve pregnancy experiences and birthing outcomes. We must increase awareness of doula services for mothers and families across the County and expand our workforce to be more representative of our communities most in need. This motion helps us achieve this by investing in the success of our new doula Medi-Cal benefit.”

In Los Angeles County, the Black infant mortality rate is more than three times the rate of White infant mortality, and the Black maternal mortality rate is four times the rate of White maternal mortality. Engaging in doula services has been found to reduce the rate of preterm and Caesarean births, lessen the need for medical pain control in labor, and decrease symptoms of postpartum depression. Evidence also shows doula support is associated with an increased chance of breastfeeding initiation and duration, and maternal satisfaction with birth.

In 2021, California added doula care as a new Medi-Cal benefit. As of January 1, 2023, Medi-Cal managed care plans (MCPs) are required to provide full-scope doula services for eligible pregnant and postpartum members.

To ensure the success of the doula benefit launch, today’s motion directs the Director of Public Health, in collaboration with the Director of the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Executive Director of the Anti-Racism, Diversity, & Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative, managed care plans (MCPs), and relevant stakeholders to report back in 60 days with a plan to create a hub for doula service providers to make these services more accessible. Additionally, the motion calls for intentional outreach to increase the size and diversity of the doula workforce.