Doulas and COVID-19
Support and Safety Matter
During this uncertain time as we face a pandemic of COVID-19, the health and safety of my clients and their families is priority. I have always followed, and will continue to follow strict handwashing protocols, wear a mask, as well as offering options to connect other than in person for interviews and prenatal meetings, such as video chatting, text and email.
Currently, though most area hospitals are restricting visitors or allowing just one support person in the labor and postpartum room,
Tucson Medical Center (TMC):
beginning September 14, 2020, TMC is rolling out their pilot program to welcome doulas back in the hospital . They understand the importance of doula support, and our doula community is so thankful! I took the mandatory PPE class and will be able to support my clients who choose to birth at TMC either in the Birth Center or on the Labor & Delivery Unit. For clients who choose to birth elsewhere Doulas like myself are getting creative with alternative support methods, such as extra education/support prior to labor, video support during labor, text messaging with support person and of course phone calls as needed by you and your support person. We can even meet outside, being mindful of "social distancing". We can also discuss postpartum care in lieu of birth support if the situation arises. I will address each unique situation as it comes, and work hard to keep my clients happy and satisfied despite the hardship this virus has brought to our community.
Northwest Women's Center:
I Just got word from the Community Outreach and Education Coordinator at Northwest Women's Center that the visiting policy has been changed once again due to the upswing of COVID-19 cases in Pima County. They have removed visiting hours. There can be no support person in Triage, but laboring woman is allowed one support person once she is in her labor room. That support person must remain the same throughout the duration of her stay. If the laboring woman is Covid positive, she cannot have a support person with her. NICU is one visitor at a time, and must be a banded adult (one of the adults with wrist band, responsible for baby in NICU).
St. Joseph's Corondolet Hospital:
As of their meeting this morning, St Joes is still allowing laboring women to have 1 support person AND their doula in their labor room. Doulas are asked to not accompany the parents and baby to the postpartum floor. COVID-19 regulations are changing frequently, so I will check back weekly to keep updated on any changes.
Questions about Pregnancy and Coronavirus Disease from the Centers for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/pregnancy-faq.html
Q: What is the risk to pregnant women of getting COVID-19? Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease? If they become infected, will they be more sick than other people?
A: We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.
Q: How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?
Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:
Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique)
Avoid people who are sick
Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 disease at CDC’s (Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus).
Q: Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?
A: We do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.
Transmission during pregnancy or during delivery
Q: Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?
A: We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In these cases, which are a small number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.
Q: If a pregnant woman has COVID-19 during pregnancy, will it hurt the baby?
A: We do not know at this time what if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19. There have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery (e.g. preterm birth) in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal infection.
Pima County Health Department
A COVID-19 hotline has been set up to answer any questions from the public and healthcare providers about testing, symptoms, and any other questions you have about the virus.
Call (520) 626-6016 (local) or 1-844-542-8201 (state) to reach a health care professional.