Support the inclusion of Certified Doulas into restricted visitor policies

Support the inclusion of Certified Doulas into restricted visitor policies

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Cora Crain started this petition to Obstetricians and Labor/Delivery Nurses

Dear Obstetricians and Labor/Delivery Nurses,

Your patients need your support! 

We are all adjusting to new hospital protocols regarding the spread of the coronavirus. Part of this adjustment is to recognize when these protocols need tweaking for the most optimal support of your patients. 

As you know, right now your patients are being asked to choose between having their partners in their labor and delivery rooms or their certified doulas. This is a heart wrenching choice for many women, who desperately want their partner with them for the birth of their child but desperately need the additional emotional and physical support during this life-changing event. 
Our maternity healthcare system is not set up to provide this additional continued support. Obstetricians and nurses are managing so many patients every day, and they have the upmost important job of keeping mother and baby safe and healthy.  There is no possible way they can fulfill constant physical and emotional support through this incredibly challenging and important time in a woman's life.  Doulas help fill that gap. They help women prepare for their births, achieve better outcomes, avoid trauma regardless of outcome, and have all around better birth and postpartum experiences.   Professionally certified doulas are an important part of the maternity healthcare system, and should not be included in one visitor policies.  

Many hospitals around the country have maintained a one visitor plus a certified doula policy, and many have changed to this policy within the last month.  We are seeking support, specifically from obstetricians and labor/delivery nurses, to adopt this policy within the Baptist Health hospital system. 

Please support this petition if you are with us. We will be sending this petition to the Chief Nursing Officer at Baptist Health Little Rock to showcase the support this protocol change has. 

If you are on the fence, consider this. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists has acknowledged the following: “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.”(https://www.dona.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ACOG-Press-Release-Feb-2017.pdf  Further reading on this topic can be found here: https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/

We are so fortunate that the overwhelming majority of obstetricians and L&D nurses at Baptist Health see this benefit. Doulas have a long history of great relationships with labor & delivery nurses there. Many obstetricians encourage their patients to hire doulas for their continued support, which is not possible through any other personnel the clinic or hospital can provide. Every woman deserves this.  We realize the additional cost is not something every woman can afford, however, the additional patient assistance and advocacy should not be denied to anyone on this basis. Many local doulas are willing to work on a sliding scale during this time to make professional support more accessible to all those that really need it. 

These are incredibly hard times.  Everyone is making extremely difficult sacrifices.  Of course, restricted visitor policies are necessary to lower the risk of exposure to our hospital staff, patients, and newborns.  As we continue to move forward with caution for a more prolonged season, we hope to change to a policy that is sustainable yet safe.  As educated professionals with experience in a hospital setting, certified doulas are very aware of and ready to adhere strictly to added safety precautions such as safe practices at home, screenings, mask-wearing, and staying in our client’s hospital room.  

Similar mother/baby friendly hospitals around the country are adapting their policies to look like this:

~L&D patients may have one visitor and a certified doula.

~Certified doula must be approved beforehand and possibly provide proof of certification.

~Partner and certified doula must stay in the patient’s room.  

~Certified doula must leave before the patient moves to postpartum. 

We have been in touch with the Department of Health about this specific policy. We were advised that it would be helpful to show that we have the support of obstetricians and nurses.  

If you recognize and agree that doulas fill an important role to your patients with very minimal added risk to hospital staff, your patients and the doula community would be so grateful if you could show your support by signing this petition.

We appreciate you!  Thanks for your time, and for continuing to provide excellent care for women in our community through these stressful times!  

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