Doula Support During a Pandemic
For centuries, women have sought the support of doulas during perhaps the most transformative time of their lives. Childbirth... Doulas provide informational, emotional, and physical support to women that can help them navigate their journey through pregnancy, birth, and even postpartum.
Arguably, the stress and anxiety of giving birth during the current COVID-19 pandemic makes doula support more important than ever, yet current restrictions have changed the way women can receive physical support from a doula.
As a doula living through this right now, I’m seeing how pregnant women and their doulas are coming together in unique ways to bring babies into the world! Here are some important things to keep in mind.
- Your doula can help fill big information gaps. Many in-person childbirth classes have been cancelled. Even prenatal appointments have gone virtual. This is a big, big change leaving many pregnant women without the kind of information and reassurance they desire. Luckily, doulas have been able to step up their support by providing deeper information for women, answering any questions they may have related to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. If there are questions that a doula isn’t qualified to answer, there are countless resources, books, and videos that doulas collect to allow women to get the answers they need in the comfort (and safety) of their own home.
- Your doula can still “be at your side” during childbirth. It might be through an iPad screen. It might be FaceTime. But it’s the same type of care! To decrease the risks of spreading COVID-19, many hospitals are limiting the number of people that can attend a birth. Women are being forced to choose between having their partner or their doula at their side. Luckily, with a little help from technology, doulas can still provide much-needed support and assistance in the delivery room. Virtually, doulas can still empower those in the room to perform massage techniques, counter pressure during contractions, and suggest position changes. Additionally, doulas are still able to communicate with the healthcare team and provide emotional support to women and their partners.
- Your doula can be a sanity-saver, even postpartum. My friend recently gave birth to her first baby during the COVID-19 pandemic, and during our conversation she remarked that her healthcare provider told her she needed to take it easy, rest, and neglect any household chores. However, her husband was still working, and she was left to care for her newborn alone and without any support during the daytime hours, unable to take the time she needed to recover from birth. This situation is all too familiar to many women during this pandemic quarantine. They feel alone and without support. Doulas can provide both virtual and limited in-person help to these women. Whether it’s a phone call to provide emotional support or a socially distant visit to help a mother with household chores, deliver groceries or answer any breastfeeding or childbirth recovery questions, postpartum support from doulas is more important now than it has ever been before.
Whether or not you get a doula is a very personal decision. Right now, the whole world looks different. We all need extra emotional support to navigate the stress and uncertainty that a pandemic brings, and this is especially true for pregnant women and their families. Although the in-person physical support that doulas can offer is limited, the educational and emotional support has become that much more crucial. Doulas and pregnant women are adapting to lean on each other during these uncertain times. Until we can meet again (in person), doulas will still be here for you (virtually), just a phone call away.
Birth Doulas of Pittsburgh virtual meetup!
To find a doula in your area: 1) ask your OB or midwife for references; 2) check agency websites like DONA.org that certify doulas; or 3) ask the childbirth educator who is giving your childbirth class.
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This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Kudos.
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