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UC Davis Health launches volunteer doula program


When pregnant patients go into active labor at UC Davis Medical Center, they can now receive support from a trained doula.

Doulas are trained individuals who provide emotional and physical support during one’s pregnancy and childbirth. Assistance from a doula is shown to promote better birth outcomes, especially for socially disadvantaged mothers at risk for adverse birth outcomes.

The new volunteer doula program launched last month. The hospital currently has a group of 15 volunteer doulas and plans to double that by the end of the year. Patients can request a doula upon admission, based on first-come, first-served availability. Doulas are currently available during the day, but as the program expands, the hospital aims to have doula availability seven days a week, night and day.

“Currently, accessing private doula care is very expensive. We are so pleased to provide labor support to all patients at our hospital, regardless of their socioeconomic background,” said Angelique Silva, perinatal unit director and perinatal nurse manager at UC Davis Medical Center. “Having this program will address the disparities in health care that many of our patients face.”

Research indicates that the benefits of doula support are most pronounced for people facing social disadvantages, low income, single marital status, first-time childbirth, hospital deliveries without a companion, or language and cultural barriers.

The volunteer doula program is a free service to UC Davis patients. Each doula is dedicated to one laboring patient and provides 1:1 support. Doulas receive training and tools needed to assist patients during labor and delivery.

UC Davis Medical Center is the Sacramento region’s only nationally ranked academic health center and Sacramento’s No. 1-ranked hospital, offering extraordinary expertise and experience for every stage of a patient’s pregnancy journey. In addition to skilled partnership for routine pregnancies, the team provides the highest standard of management for high-risk pregnancies, unique health concerns and unexpected complications. Find out more.