Petition to allow Doulas Into hospitals

Petition to allow Doulas Into hospitals

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Meagan Kerr started this petition to John Carney

Dear John Carney

 


Thank you for your care and concern for women’s rights and health. We understand that the situation you are in as governor of our state and your duty to keep its citizens safe, cannot be an easy task.

 


As the restrictions in the state of Delaware become tighter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some major hospitals are restricting patients’ access to the professional birth doula support they have employed. Doulas understand the importance of flattening the curve and slowing the spread, but as the CDC stated, "If restrictions of visitors is implemented, facilities can consider exceptions based on end-of-life situations or when a visitor is essential for the patient's well-being and care." https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/infection-control/control-recommendations.html?fbclid=IwAR0ZIHF8h6UUYoBvhs66cPcd6UxDs82GeBuD041kI4J_XoEdA_LmRkdBuJE

Doulas are hired professional birth support that provide care during the prenatal period as well as during birth and postpartum. For many families, their doula is the only person who will be a constant during their labor and their birth. Their intimate relationship with their clients can provide a unique insight that can help the medical staff better serve families. Doulas make a real difference for their clients' physical and mental state during birth as well as ensure better outcomes. Evidence Based Birth states doula support has the following impact on birth:

39% decrease of cesarean sections
15% increase in likelihood of spontaneous vaginal births
31% decrease in risks of being dissatisfied with birth
https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/

Now more than ever doula support is needed. The statistics show that doulas can help make birth safer as well as help births proceed quicker and with less interventions, both of which can shorten a family's hospital stay and possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus and other illnesses. We also have to consider that as this pandemic goes on, that medical staff will become thin and overworked. Doula staff can help alleviate the burden on them. Considering doulas can decrease the need of cesareans, which require 3-4 times more staff than a vaginal birth, it is apparent that doulas should not be excluded from births. Doulas should not be viewed as a disposable presence at a birth but a necessary resource to help ensure healthier outcomes for the families they serve as well as an asset to the medical staff.

ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists) recognizes that doulas are integral in decreasing the use of interventions during labor and birth: https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee /articles/2019/02/approaches-to-limit-intervention-during-labor-and-birth

AWHONN (The Association of Women's Health, Obstetrics, & Neonatal Nurses) released the following statement:

AWHONN recognizes that doula services contribute to the woman’s preparation for and support during childbirth and opposes hospital policies that restrict the presence of a doula during a woman’s active labor.

“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,” said AWHONN member Nancy Travis, MS, BSN, RN, BC, CPN, CBC, Florida Section Chair.

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.

We are urging that Delaware consider all of this when making decisions to deny their patient’s access to the doula care that they employed. And we urge that our governor sees the benefits of doula care and ensures hospitals allow patients this basic human right. These restrictions, while meant to protect the public from a virus, could cause long term trauma and physical damage to expecting families, and if you do not reconsider, these implications will rest on you. Please do not lead to further stress on Delaware families and let their birth be a time of joy not a moment that negatively affects them forever.

Our plea to you is this….Will you mandate that professional doulas be considered an essential part of the birth team and not be restricted out of Delaware hospitals? We know you care about Delaware’s birthing women and their rights. Doulas improve outcomes. We care about our clients and their partners, who no matter how hard they try, are not always the physical and emotional support that the birthing mother needs. We will help them have a good experience when they otherwise may be scared and lonely during birth.

Other state governors in New York, New Jersey (covid hotspots, no-less) and Michigan have instated doula allowance mandates. We respectfully urge you to do the same. We thank you for your tireless work during this difficult time and Delaware families are grateful to you for considering this plea.

 


Respectfully

 

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At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!