Let Doulas In the Hospital
Let Doulas In the Hospital
I made this petition to make sure that partners AND doulas can both be present at the same time in labor and delivery. This issue affects birthing women across Alabama and we need change NOW!
Birthing women and their families have developed a relationship with their doulas over the course of the pregnancy, and have paid for a professional service to be guided and supported antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum yet they are being denied when they need them the most, during labor and delivery.
All over the world, doulas have been called into hospital settings as a resource to serve birthing women. With Infant and Maternal mortality rates RISING in the United States, (esp. Alabama) the force for change has been doulas. Yet, in a state of pandemic, hospitals around the nation have cut doulas off and stating doulas are "visitors" which in turn denies our access to birthing people. As we have made it into a new year, it is the hope of doulas and birthing families that our leaders will stand by the work of a doula and recognize them as essential parts of the birth team.
Current hospital labor and delivery policies regarding the number of support people in the birthing room is being enforced at a great cost to the birthing families. Understandably, visitors should be limited at this time. What hospitals have yet to recognize is that doulas are NOT visitors. Doulas are recognized by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) to be “essential personnel and part of the maternal care team.”
“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. Benefits found in randomized trials include shortened labor, decreased need for analgesia, fewer operative deliveries, and fewer reports of dissatisfaction with the experience of labor.”
“AWHONN recognizes that doula services contribute to the woman’s preparation for and support during childbirth and supports hospital policies that allow for the presence of a doula during a woman’s active labor. AWHONN supports doulas as partners in care and acknowledges their ability to provide physical, emotional, and partner support to women.”
Having continuous labor (doula) support has been evidenced to show:
Decrease likelihood of unplanned Caesarean
Decrease use of analgesia
Decrease likelihood of instrumental vaginal birth
Increase likelihood of healthy birth weight
Increase overall satisfaction of birth experience perceived by the family in care
Improve five-minute APGAR scores
Shorten duration of labor
Doulas that support families in the hospital setting and remain a constant source of care for families. As hospital staff becomes increasingly overstretched, doulas can help fill the gap by offering continuous support to laboring women, freeing staff to care for others. By providing continuous, one-on-one care, we can limit the exposure of each patient to multiple staff members, reducing the likelihood that they are exposed to the virus.If there are screening procedures our doulas could undergo, mirroring those you require of hospital staff, we would be more than happy to comply with those in order to minimize the likelihood that we bring the virus into the hospital. Most doulas are willing to present proof of training and/or contract if necessary to gain entry & serve their clients. We understand that measures must be taken to ensure the health and wellbeing of all in this crisis. We are committed to being vigilant and as helpful as possible during this time.
Help support birthing people across Alabama! Allow them the professional care that they privately hired to support them by providing a letter of support for doulas. One letter of support for doulas as essential personnel, and not as a visitor, during the restriction could positively impact outcomes. Please support their health and their birth and postpartum outcomes by allowing doulas in the hospital WITHOUT taking the place of their partner!