Tech Support: How Some Doulas Plan to Deliver Virtual Care

Hospitals are limiting how many guests can be in the delivery room, causing mothers who prepared to have the support of doulas to shift plans.
Posted at 2:12 PM, Apr 01, 2020

Childbirth can be an exciting time in a woman’s life, It can also be pretty intimidating. 

Felicia Vinson says her job is to take away some of the stress. 

“They need support. They need to be encouraged. But most importantly, they need to know that they're capable.”

Vinson is a doula -- a care-giver employed by women during and after labor.  Some doulas run errands others provide physical and emotional assistance.And she’s been inside the delivery room with expectant moms since 2015. 

Now in light of the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals are limiting how many guest can be in the delivery room, causing mothers who spent months preparing to have support of doulas to shift their plans. 

Recently, two New York hospital networks, Mount Sinai and New York Presbyterian cracked down on any additional people in the delivery room. That included spouses.  

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped in, issuing an executive order requiring hospitals to allow one additional person. But women have to pick whether that’s a partner, a sibling or a doula.

Dr. Rahul Gupta of the March of Dimes tells Newsy there are ways women can prepare to have less in-person support during delivery.

“Make sure that she has a list of questions that she can ask the staff to be able to be answered. She can feel empowered and in control. Second, I think is to ask for opportunities to have Telehealth, meaning family members and others present on video that could also attend if they can't be physically there. And thirdly, make sure that you know you're watching out for your health and asking again, you know, for all the things that you need. If you have a need, to articulate that need, especially when you know when you were depending on your spouse or you were depending on your family members do that for you.” 

But doulas often serve a second purpose. Supporting moms emotionally after childbirth. And social distancing isn’t exactly a good prescription for postpartum depression, but there are ways around it. 

“Find ways to remain connected with the outside world. That means, if it's virtual contact like video chats with your friends or loved ones, you should do that. And then if you can, take a walk and make sure you get eat right because if you take a walk, it also helps you sleep well and good sleep and good you know else physical activity and diet leads to feeling better mentally as well.“

Vinson has clients due any day. She’s keeping in touch virtually but still plans to be there during the birthing process and after. 

“I plan to just be open to them to be able to communicate with me. I'm going to reach out to them. I'm going to look at their social media pages, I need to know that they're okay.”