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Sen. London Lamar passes first bill through Senate

Legislation directs health officials to study doula programs to improve health outcomes for babies, mothers

NASHVILLE — Just three weeks after being sworn into the office of Senate District 33, Sen. London Lamar, D-Memphis, has passed her first bill through the Tennessee Senate 33–0.

Sen. Lamar’s Senate Bill 2150 directs state health officials to study doula certification programs and make policy recommendations to the General Assembly with the goal of improving health outcomes for mothers and babies.

Doula services are provided by a trained, non-medical professional to support women and families through the labor and birth of a child as well as the prenatal and postpartum periods.

Sen. Lamar believes the legislation is needed to address Tennessee horrific infant and maternal mortality rates — some of the worst in the nation. It’s a painful reality she understands firsthand having lost a child in 2019 at full-term due to pregnancy complications from preeclampsia.

“When we work together, we can be creative in finding resources to help mothers, and especially mothers in vulnerable communities, to protect themselves and their babies,” Sen. Lamar said. “I hope my story and the stories of others who have lost loved ones during a pregnancy will bring us all together to keep pushing for better pregnancy care.”

Under the bill, TennCare and the department of health will review training and quality requirements of doula certifications.

“The recommendations that come from this study could allow us to improve access to doula services in the communities that most need it,” Sen. Lamar said.

The House companion bill is up for a vote in the Health Committee this week.

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