Community-based doulas are nonmedical, unlicensed, trained professionals who provide emotional, physical, and informational support to birthing people during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum. Community-based doulas differ from lay and other birth doulas because they are specifically trained to provide culturally sensitive care and focus on those who are more likely to experience discrimination in traditional healthcare settings.

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Strong causal evidence of community-based doula programs has demonstrated that doula support increases attendance at medical appointments and education classes, encourages responsive parenting behaviors, and enhances child health and developmental outcomes such as breastfeeding initiation rates and safe sleep practices.

This webinar followed our virtual 2023 National Prenatal-to-3 Research to Policy Summit. At the Summit, we explained why we added community-based doulas to our Roadmap—this webinar took a deeper dive into the issue.

Rigorous research indicates that community-based doula services are an effective strategy to improve healthy birth outcomes. This checklist covers the policy levers that states may use to increase access to doulas.

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2024 Prenatal-to-3 Legislative Highlights

With most legislatures adjourned for the year, we recap the 2024 action on state policies to support children and families. So far this year, lawmakers throughout the country debated—and many passed—legislation that aligns with four key components of the prenatal-to-3 system of care.
Though most legislative sessions have adjourned, lawmakers and advocates across the country continue to advance efforts to support children and families. A lot can happen at the tail end of a legislative session, as Colorado
Barriers to health care, high-quality health insurance, and parental leave work together to leave families and children vulnerable during the perinatal period. These barriers can shape life-long outcomes, particularly for children from historically marginalized groups.
Did you know state policies play an important role in reducing child maltreatment? Rapid neurological development makes children especially susceptible to harmful stressors, such as maltreatment, during the prenatal-to-3 period. Though we may expect prevention
State lawmakers face difficult choices about how to use scarce public resources. To ensure that investments have a big impact on young children, lawmakers often want to know—which policies actually work? The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact
Currently Accepting Applications from State Legislative Staff for our Upcoming Community-Based Doula Policy Learning Symposium! Who Should Apply? State legislative staff interested in supporting state policymakers in identifying ways to improve maternal and child health