Jillian Bowman, an optician at Walmart Store 2753 in Clayton, Ga., used the retailer’s doula services during and after the birth of her first child, Beckett.
Walmart is now offering its doula services benefit for expectant and new mothers nationwide. A doula is a credentialed expert trained to support mothers leading up to and throughout the labor and delivery process.
In a recent blog post, Lisa Woods, Walmart’s VP physical and emotional well-being, wrote: “We know one of the most important times in our associates’ lives is when they make the decision to grow their families. When our associates make this decision, we want to ensure they have access to quality health care options and feel supported during this exciting, yet sometimes stressful, time in life. However, we know more than 5.6 million women live in counties with no or limited access to maternity care services, according to the March of Dimes, and that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to access maternity care in many areas of the country.”
According to Woods, “Doula services are proven to have a positive impact on the well-being of both mother and child, from reduced cesarean sections, premature deliveries and labor length to general mental well-being, reducing anxiety and stress.” This is especially important in “health care deserts,” where access to services is often limited, she added.
The doula benefit covers up to $1,000 for services during pregnancy and is part of a suite of benefits offered through Walmart’s Life with Baby program, available to associates on most of the company’s medical plans. Life with Baby provides free access to such resources as tools to track daily progress, articles from experts, and baby gifts.
Walmart also offers surrogacy and adoption benefits, including financial support of up to $20,000 in their lifetime, for qualified surrogacy and adoption expenses. Company benefits also include paid leave for full-time hourly and salaried associates that enables birth moms to receive up to 16 weeks of paid time off. New parents, including adoptive and foster parents, also get six weeks paid parental leave to bond with a new child.
Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while its Sam’s Club division is No. 8. PG also named Walmart one of its Retailers of the Century.