The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia is running a pilot program to provide a doula -- a non-medical professional who provides support during pregnancy, birth and afterward -- to 175 pregnant Medicaid recipients across Georgia. In May, the program enrolled recipients and assigned certified doulas to support them. Participants get access to prenatal classes, peer support groups and a care package. The program pays for two prenatal doula visits, labor and delivery care, and two postpartum doula visits. Doulas receive $50 per visit and $550 for attending labor and delivery. It's a dual effort to make doulas accessible and to compensate doulas fairly, says Precious Andrews, the coalition's director of special projects. The pilot aims to show both how doula care might impact pregnancy outcomes for low-income families and how Medicaid -- government-sponsored health insurance for low-income people -- could cover the cost. In Georgia, Medicaid covers nearly half of all births.

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