Images courtesy of Catherine Walker Photography.
• You had a plan of what your birth would be — now what?
• Can you have your partner and your support with you like you planned?
• How will this pandemic change what you can expect from birthing in the hospital or at home or at the birth center?
In this time of uncertainty, feeling concerned about your birth is understandable and you are not alone.
I’m a holistic birth doula who had both of my babies in a local hospital with my husband and my doula. I give support in information, physical comfort, and in emotional and spiritual space to families, who most birth in the hospital.
But now that support persons are being limited by this pandemic; the landscape has changed. We really need to have some peace in understanding the reason the hospital administration is limiting access to the hospitals is to keep everyone safe — not just you and baby, but also your family, me and my family, and even more importantly the hospital staff who must stay healthy so next week and month, there will be healthy nurses and doctors to continue to provide care for patients.
I know — it stinks, it’s sad; but this is unprecedented and we are all doing our best to make the most difficult and appropriate decisions. So we must choose to have the best attitude for all of those we are keeping safe. Be sure to talk to doctor about your birth desires and allow them to help advocate for you.
As of today, Lafayette General Medical Center is allowing birthing persons to have one visitor — their spouse or partner. They are allowed to stay with the patient through their postpartum recovery until they are discharged and the visitor may not switch out. At Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s is also allowing the spouse or partner with that visitor allowed to stay with the patient until they are discharged with no switching out.
So what will change for birthing moms for now?
- Consider birthing outside of the hospital with a home birth midwife or at our local birth center.
- You will have only your partner with you during birth and postpartum recovery, and that might change as things get worse in this pandemic before they get better. It’s time to prepare with knowledge about birth, your options and your rights.
- Prepare your family that they will not be able to visit you in the hospital. Let’s be honest, that’s not the worst rule — you’ll be able to recover in peace without worrying about unwanted advice. Yay!
- If you do have someone else other than your one visitor at your birth, set yourselves up remotely. I’ve been successfully using either FaceTime, when we both have iPhones, or Google Duo app, when we have one iPhone and an Android. Be sure to practice a few times with each other using your remote setup so once the birth starts, calling them is easy.
- Consider a birth doula to support you remotely in pregnancy, in birth and through your postpartum.
How can I prepare to have my best birth in this pandemic?
You and your partner need to be educated about your options in birth and legal rights while birthing in a hospital. There is quite a bit to know and taking a birth class will prepare you. On April 4th from 1–4:30 p.m. MotherBirth is hosting a Virtual Comfort Measures Birth Class free for the first 100 registrants. This course was designed by local doulas and will go over the basics of birth, tips in a pandemic, provide you with printable resources, and finally comfort measures to help power through birth like a pro.
Feel free to email any questions or for contact information for our local midwives should you choose to explore your other birthing location options.
Here’s to having your best birth and a happy postpartum!