Walmart Expands a Pregnancy Support Benefit

Doula-service coverage, introduced last year in Georgia, will expand to three more states
Doula services
Photograph courtesy of Walmart

Walmart is expanding its doula-service coverage benefit, introduced last year for employees in Georgia, to three additional states: Louisiana, Indiana and Illinois. 

Doulas, who are credentialed through DONA International or the National Black Doula Association, provide labor and delivery support and can help advocate for mothers in a medical setting during the birthing process. Walmart noted in announcing the expanded benefit the significantly higher maternal mortality rate for Black women vs. white women in Louisiana, one of the new states where up to $1,000 of doula services will be covered, and major gaps in OB-GYN access in Indiana.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available, Black women in the United States had a maternal mortality rate of 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, almost three times the rate for white women (19.3) and more than three times the rate for Hispanic women (18.2).  

See also: Walmart Releases 2022 Culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report

Along with other "Life With Baby" services, available to Walmart associates covered under a Walmart medical plan, coverage of doula services is meant to "help make the process of welcoming a new child easier, safer and less stressful," the company stated.

Noted the retailer: "According to the National Black Doulas Association (NBDA), having a doula as a part of a birthing team decreases C-sections by 50%, shortens the time of labor by 25% and decreases the need for other medical interventions by well over 50%."

Walmart said it had chosen Louisiana, Indiana and Illinois for expansion of doula coverage "because we see potential to have an instant impact for our associates who live there."


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