INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is putting more resources behind doulas as a way to improve birth outcomes.
A Doula is someone who assists and educates women throughout their pregnancy. They work to educate and support pregnant mothers on things like labor coaching, nutrition, safe sleep practice, breast-feeding, and work to reduce the high infant and maternal mortality rates in Indiana.
Top state officials, nurses, advocates, and doulas met Tuesday at the Indiana Statehouse to talk about ways they can all help pregnant mothers and the role doulas play in creating healthier mothers and babies.
"I want women to know that we are here to serve them," Indiana Minority Health Coalition Doula's Bev Horton said. "Actually the word Doula in Greek means a woman who serves."
Black women are more than four times more likely to die from childbirth-related issues, and black babies are two times more likely.
"We can't let another baby or another mom pass away," Horton said. "We cannot do that."
Dr. Kristina Box, the Indiana State Health Commissioner, says in 2019, Indiana became the third state to extend Medicaid coverage to doula services. In Indiana, half of the pregnant women are covered under Medicaid but don't know about the doula service.
"Too many of our babies are dying and so without the services of doulas and other community workers, they're going to continue to die," Box said.
For more information and resources about pregnancy support services, you can visit the Indiana State Department of Health's website.