Can you still have a doula during COVID?
A lot of pregnant people worry that due to COVID restrictions, they might not be able to have a doula. Certain hospital policies currently only allow for one support person per admitted patient. However, many birthing locations in Fort Wayne and the surrounding area will allow doulas to accompany you at this time, and even when a doula cannot attend in person, we can still offer valuable prenatal and postnatal support.
Some Fort Wayne area hospitals (such as DuPont Hospital) have allowed doulas to accompany laboring patients as a member of the "care team," in addition to the one support person (typically the partner). However, this policy specifies that the accompanying doula must be certified - so be sure to check with your doula about their credentials before you sign a contract. I am certified through the Global Birth Community, so I bring my credentials with me to hospital births for verification. When chatting with the L&D nurse at the last hospital birth I attended, she gave me the impression that the strict certification requirement was to ensure that doulas in attendance are true birth professionals, rather than an untrained friend or family member of the birthing person.
Fort Wayne area birth centers allow doulas, as well as additional visitors during the birth. We have some amazing birth center options! Within Fort Wayne, we have Holy Family Birth Center. In Auburn, just north of Fort Wayne, you'll find Auburn Birthing Center, which recently celebrated 10 years in operation. South of Fort Wayne in Berne, you'll find the area's newest birth center, Grace Midwifery.
If you have a home birth, you can invite anyone you want, including a doula! Our area has several highly qualified homebirth midwives! They include Agape Birth Services, New Leaf Birth and Wellness, and will be joined by Flower Moon Midwifery in 2021.
If you're not in the Fort Wayne area, and/or your birth location is not permitting doulas to attend births, you can still absolutely benefit from prenatal and postnatal doula support. Something is always better than nothing! This is why I offer my prenatal and postnatal appointments independent of the full birth package, both in person and virtually. My prenatal appointments give you all the information and tools you need to feel confident in your ability to labor and birth the way you want, and my postnatal appointments give you information and assistance with birth processing, newborn care, feeding assistance, and mental health support. You deserve birth support, and as a doula my goal is to make it as accessible as possible.
An important note: When hiring a doula for a birth when you are not sure about how the birth location's policies may change, it is crucial to have an conversation with your doula about their plan for care if the doula is unexpectedly not permitted to accompany you to the birth. Some doulas offer reimbursement for a portion of the fee, some offer to be available via phone and video chat, and some offer additional postpartum care.