Medi-Cal Offers Doula Services for Low-Income Birthing People
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed we’ve been writing a lot at LAist about how to navigate pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.
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First of all, pregnancy can be fraught with complications and, really, even the easiest of pregnancies can be challenging. Not just physically either. There are so many questions and concerns in one’s head about how to ensure this new life feels love, and comes into this world as healthy as they can possibly be. It can be challenging to figure out what to ask — and to whom.
These worries are valid.
Medi-Cal's New Benefit: Offering Doulas
The reality is that the outcomes for some birthing parents — and their babies — in California, and across the country, are grim and disheartening. Despite increased awareness, the infant mortality rate for Black babies is double the state’s average rate for all babies. In Los Angeles County, Black babies are three times more likely to die than white infants. Black mothers die at a disproportionately high rate as well.
It’s a fact that the more marginalized you are, the more socioeconomic obstacles you will have in navigating this journey in society. And there’s so much emotional support needed.
That’s why Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, is offering some new benefits to low-income birthing parents: doulas. Doulas provide continual physical, emotional and informational support for their clients throughout the entire term of the pregnancy and postpartum period.
So what is the benefit of having doula services for low-income Medi-Cal patients?
There’s data that shows having a doula is extremely beneficial for the birthing parent and the baby. For example, parents with doula support are less likely to have a preterm birth or cesarean section. Doulas are also increasingly viewed as key to helping reverse the birthing disparities experienced by women of color that I mentioned above.
Medi-Cal officially added the benefit of doula services at the start of the year, but it may take a few months to get the program up and running. My colleague Mariana Dale talked to several people about how doulas fit into a broader goal for Medi-Cal to ensure low-income families throughout California have healthy pregnancy outcomes. You can read all about it here and get more information on what Medi-Cal enrollees need to know to receive the benefit.
The LAist early childhood team has you completely covered with several guides about navigating pregnancy and beyond. Please check them out and share with people you believe would find this useful.
As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.
(After you stop hitting snooze)
*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding.
- *Checks 10-day forecast* Welp, my friends, it looks like we’re going to continue to have quite a wet week ahead of us. Please stay safe out there. The rain will intensify in L.A. later today rain but already there are flood advisories for Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. My colleague Gillian Morán Pérez has some tips for us on how to be ready for any storm.
- Dudleya is a native plant that comes in handy during a storm as it helps prevent soil erosion. But did you know that some of its species are endangered and at risk of poaching? My colleague Mariana Dale digs into why Dudleya is so special and how it is protected in California.
- The Sacramento area, again, bore the brunt of the latest storm. Rain and wind on Sunday led to power outages for 230,000 electricity customers in the capital city. (AP)
- On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked federal government for emergency assistance for this next series of storms. Intense weather is expected for next two days. (Los Angeles Times)
- The current California Legislature is the most diverse it’s ever been. Still, representation isn’t enough when it comes to the proportion of women, Latinos and Asian Americans who live in the state. CalMatters’s new tool allows you to filter demographics to show how lawmakers do — and don’t — reflect California’s population.
- The California Legislature has a lot of work to do this year considering the homelessness crisis, a looming recession and all the battles over gas prices. Here are the five key questions to think about this legislative session.
- The University of California academic workers’ strike that just ended was the largest higher-education strike in U.S. history. CalMatters’ Mikhail Zinshteyn gives us six takeaways from the strike now that it's over.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a “remarkable”transition into telehealth therapy appointments across the U.S. In-person appointments are still encouraged but they’ve declined by more than 50% since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Back in 1968, Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting were teenagers when they were cast as Romeo and Juliet in the hit film. The actors, now in their 70s, last week filed a civil complaint against Paramount Pictures arguing their director Franco Zeffirelli forced them to perform nude despite being told otherwise. My colleague John Horn digs into an analysis on Hollywood’s abuse of power.
- Celebrate Japanese Heritage Night with the LA Kings at the Crypto.com Arena tonight or commemorate the 40th anniversary of ‘Hey Mickey’ with Toni Basil at The Grammy Museum on Wednesday. There’s these cool events and more this week.
*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding!
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