COVID-19 and Doula Support

March 16, 2021

What is COVID-19?

Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by SARS-CoV-2, a virus closely connected to the SARS virus. It is generally spread from person to person via respiratory droplets from infected individuals when they caught or sneeze. The time from exposure to the beginning of symptoms is generally between 2-14 days. They symptoms are anywhere from mild to severe and even life-threatening.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Individuals who have confirmed COVID-19 infection have a variety of symptoms, these range from little to no symptoms to being severely sick and dying.

Symptoms Can Include:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may start within as few as two days or as long as 14 days after contact with someone who has COVID-19. We are constantly getting new and updated information on this infection.

How to prevent the spread of the virus?

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. This is especially important to do before eating or preparing food, after using the restroom, touching your face, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and after returning home from any public location.

  2. If soap and water aren’t available, use and alcohol-based hand sanitize with at l eat 60% alcohol.

  3. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  4. Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.

  5. Stay home if you are not feeling well and do not invite others over who are not feeling good.

  6. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then discard the tissue in the trash.

  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. You can use Lysol wipes to do this. Some of the thing you should clean frequently are doorknobs, light switches, toilet flusher, faucets, handles, railings, cell phones, and remotes.

  8. Take off your shoes before entering your home. Wash clothing that was being worn.

What does this all mean when it comes to Doulas?

We are seeing across the United States that hospitals are imposing limits on the number of support people allowed in a labor and delivery room. These new hospital policies will have an impact on doulas’ ability to support their clients. This will also impact the number of visitor a birthing family can have come and visit them.

It is important for doulas as well as birthing families to reach out to hospitals to request that doulas be part of the birthing team and not considered a visitor.

On March 11, 2020 the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) issued a public statement in support of doulas at hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement said, “Doulas are not visitors and should not be blocked from caring for patients in the antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum period.  Most doulas have been contracted by patients weeks to months ahead of time and have established provider relationships.  They are recognized by AWHONN and ACOG as essential personnel and part of the maternity care team.”