First Advisor

Dixie Whetsell

Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Public Health Studies: Community Health Promotion and University Honors


Health Studies




Doulas -- United States, Medicaid, Maternal health services -- Statistics




Birth doulas are unregulated service providers in the United States, who provide informational, emotional, and physical support before, during, and after birth. Currently, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate amongst the most developed nations, as well as a serious racial gap, with Black women being twice as likely to die due to pregnancy-related complications when compared to White women. Birth doulas can help close the gaps with trained support and advocacy. Since over 40% of the births in the US are covered by Medicaid, providing birth doula services to Medicaid recipients could result in improved birth outcomes. These improvements include decreased maternal mortality rates, decreased cesarean delivery rates, and an increase in maternal satisfaction with the birthing experience. This literature review will lay out a brief history of birth and birth attendants, the impacts birth doulas have on birth outcomes, regulation of birth doulas, barriers to access, the current state of Medicaid covered doula care, and a recommendation for policy development.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier