June 17, 2021
By Lisa Woods, Vice President, Physical & Emotional Well-being
There are few moments in life that are as special or extraordinary as welcoming a child into your family. At Walmart, we celebrate thousands of these moments each year as our associates across the U.S. grow their families.
Today, I’m excited to share that we’re expanding benefits under the Walmart medical plan to include coverage for doulas – up to $1,000 per pregnancy – for our associates in the state of Georgia.
Why Georgia? We’re starting where we believe we can leverage our network of health care resources to create immediate positive impact in supporting healthy pregnancies. Providing these benefits to our associates in Georgia is one of the many ways Walmart is innovating solutions that make health care more affordable and equitable.
Having a strong support system is also important for a healthy pregnancy. That’s why many women are exploring different options to personalize their pregnancy journey, like doula care. Doulas are non-medical professionals who provide both physical and emotional support to pregnant women and their partners throughout the entire journey. The doula must, however, be credentialed through either DONA International or the National Black Doula Association. Their services include:
- Educating the expectant mother on what to anticipate during delivery
- Focusing on emotional support and encouragement
- Providing information and assistance with physical comfort during childbirth, such as breathing techniques and touch therapy
- Helping to facilitate communication between the expectant mother and the medical care team
- Aiding the expectant mother to prepare for feeding and caring for baby
For women who may be at higher risk of complications, doulas can also play an essential role in helping to protect the health of pregnancy. They can help to decrease time spent during labor, decrease the incidence of c-section births and help to improve the overall birthing experience. Yet, in the U.S., doulas are often not considered an essential health service, and therefore are paid for in many cases entirely out of pocket.
We believe that all mothers and children deserve an opportunity to thrive at the start of and throughout their life journey and not be negatively impacted by access to prenatal and postpartum care. We are committed to helping our associates have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, and offering a strong suite of maternity benefits is among the critical ways we can support our associates and their families during pregnancy and beyond. Whether it be critical care, or simply the comfort of additional support, I’m incredibly proud of this new, innovative offering and the work being done across our business to continue to support our associates throughout life’s most special moments.
The doula benefit will be added to our Life with Baby program. This program is available to associates on the Walmart medical plans and provides access at no cost to resources like one-on-one coaching from a nurse, tools to track their daily progress, helpful articles from leading experts, special baby gifts, and more. We also support new moms with up to 16 weeks of paid leave for eligible U.S. associates to welcome a child into their family as well as provide a $5,000 cost reimbursement benefit to associates who bring a child into their home through adoption.
We often say our people make the difference at Walmart, and we hope this added benefit, among the other work we’re doing, will be a difference maker for our people.