The spread of COVID-19 has spurred increasing restrictions put in place by local hospitals. In response, DC Birth Doulas has spent the last two weeks pivoting into virtual support and live stream services for our pregnant families. In this time of increasing uncertainty and isolation, our pregnant families need support more than ever. Here are a few ways we are working to customize our support to your needs.

Services with social distancing

Social distancing is an important component of public health efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. In order to support these efforts and meet the needs of clients, we are providing high quality comparable services virtually. These include:

  • meet the doula events
  • prenatal and postpartum consultations
  • livestream classes
  • virtual labor and birth support

Hospital restrictions

During the current COVID-19 State of Emergency, many hospitals have restricted patients to 1 “visitor” – meaning clients cannot have both their partner and their doula present. Under these circumstances, DC Birth Doulas has made the following birth doula service options available:

  • in-person home support with continued virtual support once you transition to the hospital.
  • virtual in-home and virtual hospital birth support.

What does virtual aka live online support look like?

Education

We use the Zoom platform to create a live-streaming interactive learning experience. Don’t expect a boring face to face lecture or a video streaming of the in-person class. In order to create the best virtual learning experience possible, our educators use interactive digital learning tools, videos, and games. Our goal is to help participants learn about labor and birth, with an emphasis on how to prepare for a virtually supported birth.

virtual support toolkit includes flashcards audio and video files
Virtual support toolkit includes flashcards, audio and video files, and a checklist to optimize live online support

Coaching

We know that your primary support person (PSP) – often your spouse or your partner – has not been trained as a professional birth doula. But we’re here to give them a crash course. During early labor, or before labor begins, doulas use our video and image library to coach your PSP to use basic doula skills. What do these include? Hands-on comfort techniques, positions and ways to use hospital equipment during labor, tips for effective emotional support, and basic advocacy and communication skills.

Guidance

virtual online live birth doula support
Your live online doula will be with you providing emotional and informational support and guiding the hands of your PSP for all your physical support needs.

A crash course in birth support leaves your PSP with a lot to remember during one of the most intense experiences of your lives. Thankfully, your doula will be present virtually to help provide guidance. What does this look like? Assessment of labor progress, instructions on when to move into different positions and how to use hospital equipment, help formulating questions, and continuous feedback.

We are all doing our best. We want to continue to support pregnant families while also taking care of and protecting our own families. While virtual support is not ideal, it can be effective. And it’s part of a greater effort to help keep you and your loved ones safe. So while you won’t be able to feel our hands on your back, please know that we still have your back. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to learn more about how we can support you.