COVID cases are skyrocketing. Hospitals are taking measures to protect their employees and those they care for by limiting visitors. But does this restriction really help some patients? I can think of a few types of patients this can actually hinder through the support they receive.
As hospitals begin to work on reducing the curve, they reduce staff as well. In a birth space, this is detrimental to the progress of a healthy labor and delivery. A birthing woman needs emotional and physical support. When you take that support away, fear escalates. Instead of the body producing oxytocin, the body is now producing adrenalin which slows labor and increases the risk for interventions such as breaking waters, pitocin, pain medication, cesarean delivery, low birth weight and delayed bonding, to name a few. All these work together to make the woman feel lonely and out of control increasing her risk of postpartum mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and even psychosis. It is estimated
The mental health of our mothers is a concern and leaving them to labor alone does not help the situation.
How can we help
This is where doulas come in. Doulas are an essential part of the birth team. We are not “visitors” to the woman birthing her baby. The care and support a doula provides is evidence-based. Not only does the woman need her husband, mother, or trusted friend, she needs her doula.
Her doula will provide emotional support as she gives strength to the mother. Her doula will provide physical support through counter-pressure, hip squeezes and massage. Her doula will provide informational support through education about procedures. Her doula will provide advocacy support by slowing things down so questions can be asked.
In the midst of this pandemic, doulas are even more essential. As the paid hospital staff is reduced and hospitals are overrun, we brave the dangers to provide that integral support.
DOULAS ARE ESSENTIAL
Yes, social distancing is absolutely necessary to help flatten the curve and bring COVID back under control then hopefully to reduce it. Yes, wearing masks in public is necessary. Absolutely, avoiding large gatherings, washing your hands and using hand sanitizer are necessary steps. Finally, self-quarantining for the family about to have their baby and the doula preparing to support them is also an integral step to keeping healthy.
- Article: Moms Are Not OK: COVID-19 and Maternal Mental Health
- Article: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Pregnancy
- Study: The Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic and Social Restrictions on Depression Rates and Maternal Attachment in Immediate Postpartum Women: a Preliminary Study
- Article: Perinatal depressive and anxiety symptoms of pregnant women during the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in China
- Blog: https://www.professionalbirthsupport.com/post/how-michigan-doulas-secured-their-position-in-hospitals-during-covid19-pandemic
- Blog: https://www.change.org/p/dear-governors-and-cdc-doulas-are-essential-personnel-do-not-deny-their-access?signed=true
- Blog: COVID-19 and Doula Support: How to Respond to Changing Hospital Policies
- Article: COVID-19 & Doulas – DONA International Recommendations