Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


LA County Leaders Want To Make It Easier For You To Get A Doula

The stomach of a pregnant person with medium-dark skin tone. Their hands rest on their legs.
Medi-Cal funds 40% of births in the state, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means a new doula benefit could provide support for more than 150,000 families a year.
(Mariana Dale
Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to ask county staff to create a report on how to fund and implement a “hub” of resources and support for birth workers and families alike.

Doulas provide expecting and new mothers or birthing people with educational, emotional, and physical support before, during and after a baby is born. They're not doctors or midwives. Think of them more like coaches or advocates for pregnant people and their families.

A higher rate of mothers and babies die in the U.S. every year compared to other developed countries. California does pretty well compared to other states, but still has stark racial disparities. For example, Black babies are twice as likely to die compared with the state’s average infant mortality rate. Black people are four times more likely to die in childbirth compared to white people.

“Research and experience shows us that the root cause of this disparity is systemic racism,” said Supervisor Holly Mitchell, who put forward Tuesday’s motion. “Studies show Black maternal death rates remain higher, even when differences in economic status and education are taken into account.”

Support for LAist comes from

How Doulas Help

Research shows working with a doula can lead to healthier births. The continuous support doulas provide has been tied to fewer preterm births, cesarean sections, and higher rates of breastfeeding.

The new proposal follows a decision by Medi-Cal, the state’s public health insurance program for low-income people, to add doula services as a covered benefit beginning this past January. That means people can ask for doula support through miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion.

“We're not quite sure how statewide families will know about it and what kind of support doulas will receive in managing the medical process, which can be complicated in and of itself,” Mitchell said.

How Will This County Initiative Help?

County staff will report back to the board within 60 days with a proposal on how to fund and implement several doula-related ideas including:

The board would then consider another motion to put these proposals into action.

Most Read