Is Doula Care Being Evaluated in Clinical Research to Enhance its Utility and Utilization in Service of Low-income Women?
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Low-income women are at high risk of poor birth outcomes in the United States. The reasons for poor outcomes are assumed to be multifactorial and therefore challenging to address. Doula care is a promising approach to improving birth outcomes in these women. However, doula care remains underutilized and is generally not covered by either Medicaid or private insurance. Additional research or clinical trials that enhance understanding of the benefits of doula care could help improve its incorporation and support in clinical care. For instance, US based clinical trials identifying the patient characteristics associated with benefits might win insurance company support. This would help the insurance companies approve coverage for specific patients. Furthermore, confirming cost-effectiveness of doula care could garner public policy support.
- Karisma Pathak, Premedical Student, University of Massachusetts Amherst