Why A Virtual Doula Can Make Birth During Covid Less Scary
Birth under normal circumstances birth can be daunting and scary. Your plans when you got pregnant, may have included having your partner and another support with you during your labour and to experience the joy of seeing baby born. Maybe you were going to have a sister, mother or friend be there to help you and your partner navigate the journey. Maybe you were even going to have professional labour support like a Doula. But then the pandemic spread across the world and that was no longer possible. Family from out of the country could not travel to be with you, hospitals began limiting the number of people they have in their labour and delivery units to lower contact and reduce the risk of spreading covid. So now, as a result, you and your partner are faced with entering your birth, with just the two of you. And really, this is how it had been done for years, its how I birthed two of my children, just me and my partner. So why should hiring a virtual doula make a difference, if they can't actually be there, what's the point?
In the months and weeks leading up to the birth, your doula would be available to answer questions about their doctor appointments, offer evidenced based resources to help you prepare for your appointments and help to formulate questions to ask the care providers should something come up that is outside of the range of normal.
The virtual (or sometimes in person) prenatal visits are to discuss the vision you have for your birth, help you create a realistic plan to help bring that vision to life and to have other options should that vision not be possible given the circumstances of the pregnancy or the location of the birth, such as wanting a water birth in a hospital that doesn't have tubs.
The prenatal visits would also help train your support person to be kick ass labour support for you during your labour. Prenatals will often discuss and help you practice comfort measures to utilize during early labour at home or throughout the labour if you are planning an unmedicated birth. They will discuss tips and tricks to use during labour to make your experience more satisfying and comfortable. They may even supply a list of things not found on traditional hospital bag packing lists that will help both of you throughout labour.
They will often go over scenarios with you and how to navigate the bumps in the road that may come up. What questions to ask, when to ask for time and how to understand when things are stepping into emergency areas.
They will help prepare you for early breast/body feeding and how to empower you to speak up in hospital about getting help as opposed to just using formula for small fixable problems.
Some Doulas will actually come to your home to supply in person, early labour support. To help you possibly stay home longer. This is quite a great option, especially if you are planning an unmedicated birth.
If the Doula is not one to attend you in person in early labour they can still be a great benefit to helping you decide when is the best time to go to the hospital. Via, phone, text or video chat they can offer suggestions for comfort measures, listen to you and your concerns, help you identify real labour signs as opposed to pre-labour signs. They can also help you understand what is normal and what requires you to go to hospital.
During Labour - Your Phone Friend
Once you head to the hospital the Doula is still working with you. They will be available by phone, text or video call, any time of the day or night, to answer questions, make suggestions, listen to you should you feel unsure or need some encouragement. They are also there for your support person should they have have questions or concerns about helping you.
After the birth, while in the postpartum area your Doula can help with breast/body feeding questions and watch you latch with a video call and your partner as camera operator.
When You Get Home
Your plan for your postpartum period may have involved having your mother or mother-in-law come stay with you to help you rest and recover. That job now falls to your partner. Postpartum Doulas are often available to help in the home. But you will also have your labour doula to answer questions, again help with breast/body feeding issues, offer suggestions and advice for navigating the newborn period, why baby isn't sleeping, why baby never wants to be put down, why baby is feeding constantly. Help you to understand your newborn better.
So while you may not have thought you would be birthing without a lot of support, a lot of support is available. We just have to look at it in a whole new light. But isn't that what 2020 is all about. Viewing life through a different lens and making the adjustments necessary to still feel loved and supported, while being safe for you, your family and the people around you.
If you would like more information about our Digital Doula©️ Packages check out our website at www.TorontoDoulaGroup.com/digital-doula