Covid-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty to the world, especially to those who are pregnant and about to give birth. With ever changing protocols and hospital rules, it can add extra stress during an already vulnerable time. While support may look different during this pandemic, a doula can still be an important part of your birth team and can help you get the support and birth you are hoping for. I’ve put together some information about what doula support might look like, even during a pandemic.
Why Hire a Doula
Doula support is valuable in many different ways, and a lot of it is even before labor begins. Hiring a doula means prenatal support, often in the form of prenatal meetings. During these meetings, I discuss the birth process, options for your birth, and help sort through what your birth preferences are, often resulting in a formal or informal birth plan. These meetings also go through individualized comfort measures and can help you and your partner better at communicating and working together during labor.
This support lasts beyond our one on one meetings too. You can contact me for any questions that come up from appointments, strange things you experience, or any ideas that occur to you. I love researching and sending on any information on procedures, birth options, or anything else you may want to learn more about but might be worried about Googling yourself. I’ve also been keeping up with the latest hospital protocols regarding COVID-19 as well as keeping up with the ACOG and other medical body’s recommendations and research regarding pregnancy and COVID.
Doula support for labor also has a myriad of benefits during labor. As your doula, I work for you and am looking out for your interests, not the doctor or hospital’s. As someone trained in common procedures that may come up during birth, I can assist you in asking questions to make informed decisions as your labor unfolds. With some technological support, I can still provide continuous support during labor, versus the changes of hospital staff and intermittent check-ins from your medical care provider.
There is also a lot of research evidence that supports better outcomes for labors that use doula support. Some of these benefits include a dramatic decrease in c-sections, fewer medical interventions, decrease use of medications for pain relief, and better newborn APGAR scores. More importantly, doula supported births are shorter on average and have a higher percentage of satisfaction with the birthing experience. For more information about research regarding doula, check out Evidence Based Birth’s article on doula support.
Support During Covid
I have been offering virtual doula services since I began my business, so luckily a lot of this isn’t new for me. While things might not be ideal, there is still a lot I can do remotely if that is safest or necessary for your situation. Prenatals can be done via video chat and phone, text, and email help is already remote.
Labor support is highly dependent on the person, situation, and location of delivery. For local clients, I can include in person support at your home for early labor or if you are planning a homebirth. Depending on the hospital or birth center policies at the time of your delivery or your support person preference, I may be able to accompany you to your chosen place of delivery. If this is not possible, I can continue to support you and your partner via phone, video, or text support in whatever way you prefer. While this may sound inadequate, there is a lot I can tell about birth from just listening and watching. Early labor can also be a great time for me to see what you respond to in labor and help your partner in some hands on training in how best to help you. While working this partner coaching is not unique to virtual support, it is much more important during virtual labor support.
I also offer a 100% virtual support package. This package looks very similar to the in person labor support, except every part is planned to be remote, including prenatal meetings, labor support, and the postpartum meeting. Much like above, I can show and talk your labor support person through physical comfort measures and provide emotional and informational support through your labor as it unfolds. This has the advantage of me not having to drive to you or back home during your labor, so I can maintain the same support throughout your entire labor without interruptions.
My newest package is birth preparation. This includes the prenatal meetings, unlimited phone and email support and the postpartum meeting. This package is great for people that need extra help in sorting through their birth options and would like support throughout their pregnancy and into labor but don’t necessarily want labor support or to deal with the extra technological issues that may be a part of the birth process right now. This package does not include being on call to be immediately accessible during your labor, though I will answer questions if I am available.
If nothing seems to perfectly fit your birth needs, I am happy to work with you to create a unique birth package for your needs, including birth only plans, sibling doula for home and birth center births or other birth needs you may have.