Covid-19 has forced us to re-evaluate and re-organize a lot of things. As you know for a while, laboring women were forced to give birth alone in NYC but thanks to a petition started by a doula ( Jesse Pournaras), this was overturned and women are now allowed one support person.
Still for some people, the help of a doula was what they relied upon for the birthing day. Now more than ever I encourage people to take a childbirth preparation class not just a childbirth ed class in order to learn coping strategies and to prepare the partner to be the main support person throughout.
Most hospitals are limiting how often a nurse can come in and out the room so people are left alone for most of the labor which can be a positive thing when we want as little intervention as possible. However, it is worth mentioning that laboring women and their partners will be expected to wear masks so most likely they will have to labor with a mask on… One more reason why staying at home as long as possible is important.
Before Covid-19 the doula your hired would come to your house and help you stay at home as long as possible and stay with the course of your birth plan providing support, reassurance and reminding you when you needed to ask questions. Now, most doulas will follow the social distancing rules but will offer support remotely.
A virtual doula, will be available by phone, text, Skype, FT and Zoom to offer guidance and reassurance. While you may not want to be on Zoom throughout your labor, we encourage you to check in regularly. The partner could be the one communicating with the doula so that she can offer tips, coping strategies, position suggestions and help the partner remain calm.
A virtual doula can help you assess when is a good time to head to the hospital and be virtually in the room with you as you settle in. You could also use headphones and have the doula guide you through breathing and relaxation while the partner uses touch, massage and counter pressure. Your doula can also check-in with you regularly via text and offer suggestions to help the partner support you.
The point is that your doula is the constant in the midst of all this changes and that she is there to support you throughout the process.
For postpartum especially since most of us don’t have family we live with, a postpartum doula could also be helpful. Having someone to talk to and ask all the non-medical questions that might arise once the baby is here. And if you are planning on breastfeeding, we can also help remotely.
If you are planning to give birth in the hospital I recommend you get a few things:
We are looking forward to support you and helping make your birthing day a positive one! You can find HypnoBirthing NY updated doula profiles on my website here.