Dear mothers, dear fathers, dear midwives and doctors,
please help us raise awareness for the essential role of doulas in the birthing room.
Doulas provide a rare good that, during these times, is even more valuable than ever: They give the families they support a sense of security and comfort, they instil a feeling of trust and strength in their clients.
The evidence on the effectiveness of doula support is strong:
- decrease in the risk of Caesarean birth
- increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- shorter labors
- decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score
- decrease in the risk of the mother being dissatisfied with the birth experience (1)
As Dr. Kennel said: “If doulas were a drug it would be unethical not to use it.” That is truer today than ever. (2)
First and foremost, doulas care deeply about the wellbeing of the families they support and about the safety of hospital staff. Therefore, all doulas that aim to support births abide by all hygiene regulations and are open to other safety measures that might be required by different clinics.
Therefore, I want to advocate for the inclusion of doulas as an essential part of a family’s birthing team, especially at this uncertain time. Expecting families are under a greater deal of stress and anxiety, especially now as their future might be in jeopardy or at least very uncertain. Consequently, depriving them of the support they feel they need not only makes the transition to parenthood more difficult but may also result in negative long term effects on the families’ mental health. (3)
Let’s start a conversation
Several organizations strongly encourage health authorities to explore solutions that allow doulas meeting the required safety conditions, to accompany birthing families through the delivery process. Doulas promote better outcomes for birthing parents and infants. With appropriate safety measures in place, their continued presence at births should be a choice between the doula and the families they support. (4,5)
Dear clinics, please let us in the birthing room to accompany the families, which need our support. Doulas are not visitors. We work for the families that hire us. And we do that with deep respect for the hospital staff.
Dear families, talk to your clinic. Advocate for your needs. If your doula is an
essential part of your birth team, let your clinic know.
If this cause is important to you, use the hashtag #doulasareessential, tag your clinic and start a conversation. Families don’t have a lobby. If we don’t stand up for our needs, nobody else will. Let’s find creative solutions together.
If you can find more studies or articles on the subject please send them to me. I also have a German version of this text that I can gladly send you, if you want to use it.
1. Evidence on: Doulas [Internet]. Evidence Based Birth®. 2017 [zitiert 19. Oktober 2020]. Verfügbar unter: https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/
2. Doula Training and Doula Certification [Internet]. DONA International. [zitiert 19. Oktober 2020]. Verfügbar unter: https://www.dona.org/
3. Hinweise und Empfehlungen für Schwangere zu Corona Mother-Hood [Internet]. [zitiert 19. Oktober 2020]. Verfügbar unter: https://www.mother-hood.de/sichere-geburt/informationen-fuer-eltern/hinweise-und-empfehlungen-fuer-schwangere-zu-corona.html
4. Apr 15 TG· CN· P, April 15 2020 5:19 PM AT | Last Updated: Nova Scotia doulas call for easing of COVID-19 birth restrictions | CBC News [Internet]. CBC. 2020 [zitiert 19. Oktober 2020] Verfügbar unter: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nova-scotia-doulas-covid-19-birth-restrictions-1.5533445
5. Petition unterschreiben [Internet]. Change.org. [zitiert 27. Oktober 2020]. Verfügbar unter: https://www.change.org/p/helfen-sie-doulas-corona-krisenhilfe-zu-leisten-help-doulas-provide-corona-crisis-relief