Medi-Cal Doula Services

I am thrilled to announce that I am now an approved Medi-Cal provider for doula services!

If you live in California and are pregnant, or have been pregnant in the last year (no matter the outcome) AND are covered by Medi-Cal insurance, then you are qualified to receive:

PLUS an additional 9 postpartum visits with an additional recommendation from your primary care provider (or other practitioner of the healing arts working in their scope of practice).

This is such a HUGE leap for women’s health in California. I am proud to be a part of it.

Here is an excerpt from The Department of Health Care Services Doula Services page outlining this new benefit to Medi-Cal mamas in California:

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) added doula services as a covered benefit on January 1, 2023. Doula services are available in fee-for-service and through managed care plans (MCPs). Services include personal support to individuals and families throughout pregnancy and one year postpartum. This includes emotional and physical support provided during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period, as well as support for and after miscarriage and abortion.

DHCS added doulas as a Medi-Cal benefit to help prevent perinatal complications and improve health outcomes for birthing parents and infants. According to a recent review by Sobczak and colleagues (2023) doula care was associated with positive delivery outcomes including a reduction in cesarean sections, epidural use, length of labor, low-birthweight and premature deliveries. Additionally, the emotional support provided by doulas lowered stress and anxiety during the labor period.

Studies examining the impact of continuous support by doulas report increased empowerment and autonomy during birth, high overall satisfaction with the birthing process, and improved breastfeeding success and duration (Sobczak et al., 2023).

As a preventive benefit, doula services require a written recommendation from a physician or other licensed practitioner of the healing arts. To increase access to services, DHCS issued a standing recommendation for doula services from the DHCS Medical Director, Karen Mark, MD, PhD, that fulfills the requirement for a recommendation for an individual who is pregnant or was pregnant within the past year.

The initial recommendation authorizes the following:

  • One initial visit.
  • Up to eight additional visits that may be provided in any combination of prenatal and postpartum visits.
  • Support during labor and delivery (including labor and delivery resulting in a stillbirth), abortion or miscarriage.
  • Up to two extended three-hour postpartum visits after the end of a pregnancy.

An additional recommendation from a physician or other licensed practitioner of the healing arts acting within their scope of practice is required for up to nine additional postpartum visits. This recommendation can be noted in the member's medical record by the recommending licensed provider, or a member can ask a licensed provider to complete a Standard form, such as the DHCS Medi-Cal Doula Services Recommendation form.

Having a doula by your side during pregnancy, birth and postpartum can make a significant difference in your birth and postpartum experience, positively affecting your overall well-being. Whether you are a first-time mother or have had multiple pregnancies, having a doula to support and guide you through this journey is an invaluable asset to have on your birth and postpartum journey.

The Difference Between a Birth and Postpartum Doula

When most people hear that I am a doula, they automatically think that I am a birth doula (if they even know what a doula is). Even the concept of “doula” is new for most people.

Yes, birth doulas are way more common, just as focusing on, and preparing for the birth is much more common than preparing for your postpartum recovery.

Both birth doulas and postpartum doulas are important, and I think it’s wonderful that the California Department of Health Care Services realizes that.

What Birth Doulas Do

Birth doulas provide emotional support, guidance and advocacy to pregnant mothers before and during childbirth. Before birth they can assist with birth plans, provide information and education about the birthing process, and offer reassurance and support.

During labor and delivery they offer comfort techniques, emotional support, and encouragement, as well as advocate for you and your preferences to the rest of your birthing team, ensuring a positive birthing experience.

What Postpartum Doulas Do

Postpartum doulas, on the other hand, provide support to new parents after childbirth. All too often, expecting parents only prepare for the birth. After the baby arrives, they often feel unprepared and overwhelmed by recovery challenges and demands of parenthood, leaving them stressed and exhausted.

Postpartum doulas can significantly offset postpartum challenges by offering their postpartum recovery expertise and newborn support.

But that doesn't mean their involvement can only start after the baby arrives. In fact, the best postpartum support starts during pregnancy by offering postpartum recovery education, as well as helping to create a postpartum recovery plan.

Once the baby arrives, postpartum doulas offer a compassionate listening ear for you to share your birth experience, physical discomforts and complications, as well as what you are going through emotionally.

This can be a much needed and healing experience during a time when you are going through such a total transformation in your life. Having someone who knows, understands, and supports your experience is invaluable in your postpartum healing process.

Not only do postpartum doulas offer emotional support, but they can also offer guidance with all aspects of your postpartum recovery, self-care practices, comfort measures, breastfeeding, newborn care, as well as support with cooking and potentially other light household tasks.

Taking Your Postpartum Doula Support to the Next Level:

Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula Care

Unfortunately for us here in the West, many of us have become disconnected from the traditional postpartum healing wisdom that was passed down through the generations from grandmother, to mother, to daughter.

Not only have we lost our connection to traditional postpartum healing practices, but on top of that, we have unrealistic expectations put on us by society and even friends and family, expecting us to just “bounce back” and get back to work.

These expectations are simply unfair and contribute to less-than favorable postpartum recovery outcomes.

What birthing mothers need, is to be supported in their postpartum healing process, not to be rushed into getting back on their feet again. Not only that, they need help navigating the huge transformation they are undergoing in their body and mind, so they can fully heal from birth and stop feeling exhausted all the time.

That’s why I love Ayurvedic postpartum wisdom so much. Ayurveda has a comprehensive system for natural postpartum healing that focuses on rejuvenating your depleted system, so you can fully heal from birth and feel like yourself again.

By understanding the underlying causes of postpartum exhaustion and depletion, you can achieve balance and healing by incorporating simple postpartum care practices into your daily routine.

This will empower you to make a strong recovery, have a plentiful milk supply, and ultimately be the best mama you can be.

Postpartum Doula Services Offered for Medi-Cal Mamas

I offer myself in service to provide you with exceptional postpartum recovery education and support. My doula services are not limited to Nevada County. I offer telehealth postpartum virtual services to Medi-Cal members statewide, as well as through select Managed Care Plans.

My Medi-Cal Postpartum Doula Offerings

Services Before Birth

Postpartum Recovery Education (private virtual sessions)

In this private 4-part coaching series, you will learn The Natural Recovery Method, where together, we will go over the step by step system to help you fully recover from birth.

The Natural Recovery Method is divided into the 4 phases of postpartum healing:

Phase 1: Rekindle
Reignite your internal heat that was lost from birth. Rekindle your energy, digestion, and circulation for womb healing and restful sleep.

Phase 2: Rebuild
Build your strength, energy and milk supply for strong vitality for both you and your baby.

Phase 3: Rejuvenate
Heal your exhaustion while revitalizing your body, and the connection to yourself.

Phase 4: Recover
Retain your vital energy by gradually transitioning away from your postpartum healing routine and into your new life as a mama.

During our 4 sessions, you will also be given additional resources to help you plan for your optimal postpartum recovery.

Note to Medi-Cal Mamas: If you would like to learn the Natural Recovery Method, but would also like in-person postpartum doula support, and I am not physically in your area, that is no problem! You can work with me AND have another doula that is covered by Medi-Cal.

Interested in moving forward? Contact me.

Services After Birth

Postpartum Doula Support (in person/virtual)

It’s so very important to have the support after birth from someone who understands what you are going through, and knows how to best support your postpartum recovery. I will offer you a compassionate listening ear, and help you navigate your postpartum healing, sleep, emotions, nourishment, breastfeeding, baby care, as well as help connect you with helpful resources.

Interested in my Medi-Cal Doula Services?

Whether you are pregnant, and want to plan for your postpartum recovery support, or if you have already had your baby and need help, I am here for you. Contact me today to see if you are eligible.

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