Virtual Doula Support with Tennessee Family Doulas


During this time in our society, we are being asked to practice social distancing. With new restrictions on visitors to hospitals and birth centers, birth patients are finding themselves alone in the Labor and Delivery room, which can be frightening, and definitely not how these patients planned to Labor. We are also well aware that medical professionals are under great strain to provide the safest environments for birthing patients and have limited supplies of PPE equipment. As doulas, we aren’t medically trained, and this applies to pathogens and how to prevent contamination and spread of viruses in a medical setting. We also don’t want to further burden the facilities by using much needed supplies like gloves and masks during this time. Because of these factors, we have had to make the difficult decision to move our Labor Doula Support to an online/virtual platform.


Doulas provide support in three ways: Physical support, Emotional support, and Educational support. During this time, because we can’t be physically present with you, we will be virtually present with our emotional and educational support. We are sad to not be able to physically be there, but are confident that our virtual support will provide you with increased strength and confidence and reduced fear and anxiety. Our postpartum support will also be done virtually in the first two weeks following birth and can then move to in-person support if you have been self-isolating at home with only your partner and your baby for the first two weeks. If you choose not to self-isolate, we will continue with virtual postpartum support.


We will be suspending all placenta encapsulations for the time being. Because the virus can live on surfaces for such a long period of time, we feel it is not safe for us to encapsulate at this time.



Here’s how Virtual Labor Doula Support will look:


Prenatal visit via Facetime

We talk through the stages of labor and what you can expect from each stage. As we talk, we’ll ask questions about your desires for each stage - tools you’d like to utilize, enhancements to your environment that you’d like to incorporate, and discuss our roll in each phase.


Comfort Measures/Techniques Training via Facetime

We talk through comfort measures and techniques that we typically incorporate into labor. We teach you and your partner how to perform each technique so that we create a baseline of information for use during labor. This is an important step in preparing you for labor and will be done as near to 40 weeks as we can.


On Call for Virtual Labor Support

We are on call for you from now until your baby is born. Anytime something changes for you, either physically or emotionally, you will reach out to us via Facetime. This is not a situation where you’ll just prop your phone up in the corner of the room so we can watch you labor. We will be connecting at important and meaningful times during labor, but rest assured we will be there anytime you need us.

Examples of when to reach out:

· At the onset of Labor or if your water breaks.

· Throughout early Labor – every hour or so, to give updates.

· As contractions intensify or begin to feel differently.

· When you are making the decision of when to go to the hospital/birth center.

· Once you arrive at the hospital/birth center and are settling in.

· Anytime something changes for you during labor, emotionally or physically.

· Anytime a choice is presented to you or a decision needs to be made that you’d like to discuss with us.

· Any other time you’d like to Facetime.

· Once baby is here.

· Anytime throughout the first few hours postpartum if you have questions about anything.


Postpartum Follow-up via Facetime

We will do our follow-up with you within the first 72 hours following birth to ask how you’re recovery is going, how baby is adjusting, and to answer any questions you may have.



Here’s how Virtual Postpartum Support will look:


Daily check-ins via Facetime with your Doula

Check-ins will be scheduled at least once/day, in the morning. We will discuss how the night went, answer all of your questions, discuss how you’re recovery is going, and chat about baby’s sleeping and feeding. If you’d like to check-in again before bed, you can let us know during the morning session and we will schedule a time to connect. Our goal is to provide you with affirmation, reduce fear, and instill strength during our check-ins.

During the first six weeks of recovery, women are at their most vulnerable, physically and emotionally, so we believe these daily check-ins will be vital for our client’s overall health. You won’t see your provider until your six-week follow-up. Our doulas are trained to recognize when something is normal and when it is beyond the scope of normal. We are also trained to recognize the signs of the early onset of postpartum mood disorders. By checking in daily, we will have a sense of what your normal baseline is and will recognize if things begin to change and help you find resources if they do.


Moving to in-person Postpartum Support

If, after two weeks of self-isolating in your home with only your partner and your baby, you want to move to in-person doula support, we are willing to consider that. Our doulas are self-isolating and will only work with one client at a time to minimize any spreading of the virus. Our highest priority is the safety of our doulas and the safety of our clients. I believe we can keep the risks low if we are practicing strict social distancing, but only then. We ask that if you begin showing any signs of the virus (ie. Fever, cough, body aches, etc.) you immediately let us know. We will also let you know if your doula begins experiencing any of these signs. We would then need to pause in-person care and move back to virtual support until everyone is healed and free from symptoms. This requires flexibility and grace on everyone’s part.



Thank you for your understanding during this time. Our goal with these changes is to provide you with the support you desire while keeping your family and our families safe. This virus promises to stick around for several months. If a miracle occurs and we are safe to return to full in-person support, we will do so!


We want to give a special shout out to our Doula Certification Organization, ProDoula, for their wisdom and guidance during this turbulent time. Their CEO, Randy Patterson, has truly taken the lead on inspiring doulas to do the right thing and encouraging us to stay safe and stay home.


Visit our Contact page to schedule your phone consult with us today. We are excited to offer virtual support to our community.



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If you are seeking a birth or postpartum experience that is totally focused on the physical, educational and emotional needs of you, your partner and your sweet new baby, contact Tennessee Family Doulas today.

Tanya Grabbe, Doula & Owner 615-944-9390

 

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