May 18, 2021
US Senate Passes Resolution for "National Doula Week"
By: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE | 0 Comments
Many important perinatal topics are recognized during the month of May. It is a busy month in that regard as some topics have a day designated for them, others take place over a week and still others continue for the entire month. We cover many of these recognition periods here on the blog, In regards to birth and postpartum doulas, the period of time that doulas are “recognized” can be a bit confusing. In fact, some individuals and organizations recognize and honor doulas on March 22. Alternately, a full week beginning March 22 is celebrated. The entire month of May has often been called “International Doula Month” and now, I have just become aware that in the United States, the Senate just passed a resolution recognizing the Week of May 9th as “National Doula Week.”
This bipartisan resolution was introduced into the Senate and sponsored by U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).
“Doulas are often the missing link in maternal health care and one of the most valuable and cost-effective tools needed to help solve the maternal mortality and morbidity crisis in the United States. I’m proud the Senate passed our bipartisan resolution honoring the work of doulas during the newly designated National Doula Week.” - U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL)
“Doulas provide invaluable guidance and support to new and expectant mothers as they navigate pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Our bipartisan resolution recognizes the important role of doulas and the often unseen contributions they make to help mothers and their families.” - U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
The Senate resolution:
- Reaffirms the important role of doulas in maternal care and addressing maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States;
- Acknowledges that access to doula support services, especially in underserved communities, may contribute to improved birth outcomes and lower health care costs;
- Urges greater recognition and support for the important role that doulas play in—
- supporting improved pregnancy, birth, and postpartum outcomes, including maternal mental health;
- reducing health care costs and working towards the elimination of health disparities; and
- overcoming barriers for women of color and women in rural areas;
- Designates the week of May 9, 2021, as “Doula Week” to raise awareness for, and advocate for the benefits of, doulas and the support services doulas provide.
There is work underway, led by U.S. Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), to introduce a companion resolution in the House of Representatives. Representative Moore stated that “Doulas provide the supportive care pregnant people need through the birthing process. In this resolution, I join my colleagues in honoring their work and pledging to expand access to this crucial care.”
You can learn more about the 2021 Senate Resolution recognizing the work and contributions of doulas towards improving pregnancy, birth, and postpartum outcomes here in the full statement.
Currently more than 23 states in the USA have introduced or are in the process of introducing bills and legislation into their state governments in order to fund doulas for Medicaid recipients. You can learn more about the 2021 progress of these bills, as well as find a clearinghouse of information and resources related to this research and procedures in support of this process from the National Health Law Program, whose Doula Medicaid Project seeks to improve health outcomes for pregnant Medicaid enrollees by ensuring that all pregnant individuals enrolled in Medicaid who want access to a doula will have one.
Lamaze International’s Third Healthy Birth Practice - “Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support” recognizes the important role of the doula in improving birth outcomes and increasing the perinatal experience for the birth giver and their immediate family.
Doulas are an evidence based and critical piece of the puzzle to improving clinical maternal and neonatal outcomes, creating positive experiences and lowering costs associated with maternity care. They are especially beneficial when community doulas are serving under-resourced and marginalized communities whose populations see more morbidity and mortality in both parent and baby cohorts.
Connecting the Dots and Lamaze International are grateful for the contribution and efforts of birth and postpartum doulas and thank each and every doula for their efforts and energy to supporting families during the childbearing year.
TagsBirth Postpartum Doula Postpartum Doula Medicaid International Doula Month Doulas Birth Doula Advocacy Summit Sharon Muza National Doula Week