Merced County consistently ranks the lowest county in the state for pregnant women receiving early and adequate prenatal care, and we see racial health disparities between African-American, Asian, and White women. Other measures important for maternal and infant health include reducing the number cesarean (c-section) births among low risk (full-term, singleton, vertex presentation) women, reducing the number of low birth weight and very low birth weight babies, early and adequate prenatal care, and increase the proportion of pregnant women who attend a series of prepared childbirth classes. Unfortunately for this region it will take leaps and bounds just to reach the national baseline rates, much less achieve the Healthy People 2020 objectives. The use of a doula by women during the childbearing year is one such alternative option to improve health outcomes across racial/ethnic groups.
Graduate Student, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts