Sonoma County Maternal Child and Adolescent Health

What Does a Doula Do?

Having a Doula may improve birth outcomes

March of Dimes position statement: Doulas
Article: Community-Based Doulas and Midwives
NIH: Doula Care, Birth Outcomes, and Costs Among Medicaid Beneficiaries

Medi-Cal plans to have a Doula benefit in place by January 1, 2023

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is adding doula services to the list​​​​​​​​ of preventive services covered under the Medi-Cal program. Doula services include personal support to women and families throughout a woman's pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum experience. This includes emotional and physical support, provided during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. Federal regulations require doula services to be recommended by a physician or other licensed practitioner. 

In order to allow for the successful implementation of the doula benefit, DHCS adjusted the launch date from July 1, 2022, to January 1, 2023. Allowing DHCS and stakeholders time to further define and develop the benefit.

Link to DHCS Doula Services Update

The next regular stakeholder meeting will be held via Zoom/telephone from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Friday, July 1, 2022.

Stakeholders are encouraged to comment on the federally required elements to authorize unlicensed providers under Preventive Services of the State Plan, including the following:

  • Doula qualifications to provide services, including any required education, training, experience, credentialing, and/or registration
  • A description of covered services offered by doulas
  • Any amount, duration, and scope limitations

Stakeholders may also send written comments via email to 

Click for a list of workgroup members

Local Doula resources:

Meet the Doulas Night

Hosted at the Santa Rosa Birth Center by local doulas. The first Thursday of every month at 7 pm. Click on the picture above to see more on their website

Better Beginnings for Babies

The In-a-Pinch Doula Program provides FREE on-call birth support for laboring mothers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through our hotline, 415-66-DOULA. Click the image above to for the website.

Sonoma County Maternal Child and Adolescent Health | Website

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