How Childbirth Professionals Are Helping Expecting Moms During COVID
For expecting moms, this pandemic snatched all birth plans from right underneath their feet. The famous saying “it takes a village to raise a child” suddenly lost meaning as pregnant women everywhere became isolated from their families, friends, and support systems. This shift meant that doulas and childbirth educators had to shift the way they reached expecting moms.
A recent survey Aha! Marketing and ForYourMoms conducted with a leading natural baby care brand showed that 80% of doulas say COVID has impacted their ability to see clients. However, from the doulas surveyed, 100% say they have found other ways to engage with expecting moms. Childbirth classes, workshops, and resources have all shifted to an online and touchless format. This shift, while bringing many challenges and a learning curve for birth workers, has also helped moms feel a sense of community during these isolating times.
So how exactly have the services of a doula changed because of COVID-19? Just because classes have switched to online formats doesn’t mean the content has stayed the same. The pandemic has brought on new unprecedented fears, anxieties, and stress for expecting moms. Pregnant women today have to worry about contracting the virus in the hospital, about family not being able to visit because of travel restrictions, and visitor restrictions in the delivery room. All that on top of worrying that the birthing process goes smoothly. Now more than ever, expecting parents are turning to doulas and birth professionals for guidance.
Childbirth educators and expecting parents alike have had to adapt to different processes to achieve safe deliveries.
Virtual childbirth classes and education can help expecting moms feel prepared for the birthing process as well as experience a sense of community. Talking with other expecting parents who also know what it’s like to be expecting a child during a pandemic can be reassuring. Childbirth educators can shift the content of their classes to focus on helping parents communicate their fears, anxieties, and develop coping mechanisms. Virtual classes can be an excellent avenue to foster connections with other parents and help expecting moms feel less alone.
Touchless, Non-Digital Methods
Doulas have shifted to digital class and support formats, but many are going above and beyond by delivering physical materials to their moms to supplement online learning curriculums. Online classes don’t allow for many of the interactive elements of an in-person class. That’s why educators are also offering a more personalized experience by dropping off bags with product samples, educational materials, and post-birth bags to clients’ homes.
Virtual Birthing Support
Strict visitor restrictions in hospitals across the country have led to women having to choose between their doulas and partners. The birthing process is already difficult enough for even with the support of family and doulas. This has pushed doulas and midwives to offer the option of virtual birthing assistance to their clients. Through verbal support, advice, and coaching, birth workers can still help pregnant moms through the delivery process from afar. This can also be an option for other family members to be a part of the baby’s birth. Expecting parents can work with their doulas and midwives to figure out the technical logistics.
Opting for Birthing Centers and Midwives
Constant news stories about the lack of PPE, the rising number of COVID hospitalizations, and the perpetual threat of contracting the virus have made hospitals feel like a scary place. Because of this, expecting moms have sought other alternatives. Many have turned to birthing centers and midwives to bypass hospital visitor restrictions and potential risks. Having a safe and calm environment to deliver a baby can be one of the most important parts of the delivery process for pregnant women and their partners.
While the pandemic has drastically altered birth plans, expecting parents and childbirth professionals have come together despite physical distance to deliver the best delivery experiences possible. A Lamaze article surveying a hundred birth workers showed that even with all the anxiety COVID has placed on expecting moms, there are still some silver linings. For example, fewer moms are going to the hospital for non-emergencies, freeing up hospital nurses and staff. Partners are more focused and engaged with helping their pregnant significant other before and during labor. Laboring moms are less distracted by friends and family nearby. Due to the lack of visitors, moms have also found more time with their babies after childbirth, allowing for more bonding time.
Childbirth educators and professionals are essential resources for expecting parents during these times. On top of virtual methods of engaging with parents, educators can provide value to their moms through gift packs and product recommendations, allowing for a high-touch and personalized experience. The shift to alternative birthing methods and online learning have allowed birth workers to assist parents every step of the way, regardless of how COVID drastically changed the birthing experience.