Let Women have Doula Support back into Hospitals
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On behalf of birthing women and the wider group of professionals that support them, including the Doula who the birthing woman has employed to be with her during her birth, we are requesting the urgent review of hospital restrictions that have been imposed on women during this health crisis.
Considering the state-wide easing of restrictions, the reduced number of COVID19 cases and the ongoing importance of maintaining a safe and healthy environment within our Hospitals, it is time to let women have her Doula present with her at the birth of her baby.
We appreciate that hospitals took measures to reduce the spread of COVID19 during the time that Australia saw infection rates rise exponentially. We understand that reducing non-essential traffic in and out of facilities by having visitor restrictions was essential to the success of this measure. However, during this time, many women and their partners have been refused access to the support they required at the hospital, increasing the risk of birth trauma, potential postnatal depression and increased anxiety. Women need access to their partner as well as a neutral support person of their choice, such as a Doula during the significant experience of childbirth.
Doulas respect, protect and promote the health and well-being of their clients and their medical team. Indeed, the doula has already established a relationship of continuity of care by supporting the women at home until the decision is made to transfer to hospital, this helps reduce the load on the maternity healthcare system and the potential risk for COVID-19 transmission.
it is essential that this continuity of care continues with the woman into the hospital.
It is well documented that continuity of care for birthing women results in better birth and breastfeeding outcomes.
Evidence suggests that, in addition to regular nursing care, continuous one-to-one emotional support provided by support personnel, such as a doula, is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor.
It is worth noting that The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal (AWHONN) released the following statements regarding doulas and COVID-19
“Doulas are not visitors and should not be blocked from caring for patients in the antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum period. Most doulas have been contracted by patients’ weeks to months ahead of time and have established provider relationships. They are recognized by AWHONN and ACOG as essential personnel and part of the maternity care team.
AWHONN supports doulas as partners in care and acknowledges their ability to provide physical, emotional, and partner support to women. AWHONN opposes hospital policies that restrict the presence of a doula in the inpatient setting during an infectious disease outbreak.
*** DOULA'S ARE NOT VISITORS ***
It is time to let women have their Doula present with her in Hospital at the birth of her baby.
PHOTO CREDIT :: Kelly Jordan Photography
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