Doula Program

Doula Services for Black Patients

Black patients can find the pregnancy and childbirth services they need through the UMass Memorial Medical Center Doula Program. Our birthing team works with you to meet your unique needs and concerns. You receive expert, compassionate and personalized care from an experienced staff. 

Doula Request Form
 

Why Choose UMass Memorial Health for Doula Services?

Research has found that Black people often have more complications during pregnancy and childbirth compared with White people. These complications can lead to health problems after delivery, for both you and your baby. At UMass Memorial Health, our passion for health equity means everyone gets the excellent care they deserve.  

Working with an experienced doula can reduce your risk of complications. A doula guides and supports you during pregnancy, delivery and beyond. They can answer questions, help manage pain, provide reassurance and be there for whatever you need.

Who Can Receive Doula Services at UMass Memorial Medical Center?

Candidates who wish to join the program must: 

  • Identify as Black
  • Be between 16 and 36 weeks pregnant
  • Plan to have your baby at UMass Memorial Medical Center

Fill out our Doula Request Form.  You can expect to hear back from someone on our team within 1-2 weeks. 

What Is a Doula? 

A doula is trained to help you during pregnancy, childbirth and even after your baby is born. A doula is not a doctor or a nurse, but they're experts at making you feel comfortable and cared for. They also help you speak up for what you need when you're in the hospital helping you have a positive pregnancy and birth experience.

What’s the difference between a doula and midwife?

Midwives and doulas both provide care during: 

  • Pregnancy (the prenatal period)
  • Birth (labor and delivery)
  • The first few weeks after birth (the early postpartum period)

The difference is that a midwife is a nursing professional certified to provide the full range of medical care, such as performing pelvic exams or delivering your baby. Doulas provide emotional support and education and help manage pain or discomfort. They cannot provide medical care. Some people choose to have both a midwife and a doula as part of their birthing team.

Benefits of Using a Doula

You want the best care for you and your baby.  Black individuals, who may be at higher risk for pregnancy conditions and complications, can benefit from the guidance of a doula. Doulas help lower the risk of low birth weight and other complications. Your doula can also help you lessen the chance of experiencing the depression and anxiety you may feel during pregnancy or after you give birth. 

Other benefits you receive from working with a doula include:

  • Education: You’ll learn helpful information about having a baby, like different childbirth options and comfort techniques. 
  • Emotional support: You may have worries or concerns about pregnancy and delivery. You can discuss any issue with your doula, no matter how big or small it seems. Plus, your doula cheers you on and gives you lots of encouragement and support. 
  • Confidence to speak up for yourself: Doulas guide you in sharing with your care team what you want throughout the birth experience.
  • Pain management: During labor, doulas can provide massages, tips on positioning, breathing and relaxation to help manage pain and discomfort.
  • Care after you give birth: You can get breastfeeding support, newborn care and help with daily tasks so you can rest with your baby at home.
  • Reduced risk of surgery: Having a doula might make it less likely that you'll need a cesarean section.

Our Doula Program: Resources for Childbirth, Breastfeeding and More

Black patients in our Doula program receive many other resources. Our support groups, managed by our doulas, help Black parents by offering weekly sessions on childbirth and breastfeeding education. You can attend sessions in the evenings and on weekends. You’ll get important information that can help reduce the need for surgery during childbirth and improve your success with breastfeeding.

Additional resources:  

Our team works with you to care for and support you during your pregnancy and birth. Together, we can create an experience that is welcoming and supportive.

How Much Does the Doula Program Cost?

After you apply for the program via our online form, we will be in touch with you to let you know if you qualify and are accepted. Once you are accepted into the program, there is no cost to you! 

For those enrolled in these MassHealth plans, your doula care will be covered by your insurance.

  • MassHealth Network
  • Community Care Cooperative (C3)
  • PCC Plan
  • Steward Health Choice

If you qualify for the program but are not covered by MassHealth, your doula care will be paid for by our Doula Program.

How to Get a Doula Through Our Program

Fill out our Doula Request Form. If you qualify, our Doula Program Coordinator will be in touch to talk about our program, help you enroll and connect you with a doula.

If you do not qualify for our doula program, you may still be eligible for coverage through your insurance. Please contact your insurance company to learn more.

Our Doula Services Team

Our team includes dedicated providers who help our Black community have positive birth experiences and outcomes.

Contact

If you have questions or want to learn more email doula@umassmemorial.org or call 774-641-9715.