Document Type


Publication Date


Academic Year



This study analyzed the impact of doula services on maternal and fetal health outcomes in pregnant women seeking treatment for opioid use disorder. Understanding the impact of doula services is critical in reducing inequities in health outcomes experienced by this vulnerable population. Retrospective and prospective data was collected from surveys, focus groups, and maternal and infant birth data from 100 women in treatment for opioid use disorder, with fifty utilizing doulas and fifty not utilizing doulas. Standardized data abstraction of quantitative and qualitative measures were collected into an SPSS database and Nvivo, respectively, and analyzed using SPSS. Measures of importance included number of birth complications (maternal or infant), psychosocial outcomes, breastfeeding initiation, and parenting behaviors. The preliminary study is ongoing. While data is limited, preliminary results show no difference amongst control vs. doula group in PSI (PSI Mean = 67.53) (STD=11.81) or PSS (PSS Mean =14.87) (STD=5.18) scores, reflecting no change in psychosocial outcomes. Qualitative analyses of preliminary data reflect working with a doula as a generally positive experience that has assisted with family reunification, health advocacy, resource assistance, and recovery support, all of which showed the lasting positive impact of doula support on parenting behaviors. Further data collection and analyses need to be conducted to determine the impact on birth complications and health outcomes. Doula services should be included in Medicaid coverage, due to its potential to reduce complications and inequities in health outcomes, improve psychosocial support, and its cost-effectiveness.