The policies and realities in many hospitals across Kentucky and across the world are rapidly changing as these facilities work to deal with COVID-19. This has caused a great deal of uncertainty for birthing people. Here are a few resources for those birthing in Kentucky.
Currently, our volunteers and other birth professionals are working rapidly to transmit a letter to all Kentucky birthing hospitals to urge them to continue to allow doulas. Doulas are not visitors. We are also planning to send this to mayors of the cities where birthing hospitals are located.
If you are planning a hospital birth and have a doula as a part of your team, we encourage you to be proactive. Below is the letter template created by Kentucky doula and KBC leader JoLynne Polichette of Peace of Me Birth Services. JoLynne has sent this to her own doula clients and encouraged them to open a discussion about their labor support at their next prenatal appointment. You would discuss with your provider that you want your doula to be present, ask your provider to support this decision, and ask your provider to sign this letter. You would then keep this letter with your birth plan and take it with you to the hospital.
While I don’t foresee an issue presenting with my personal clients, we are not 100% sure what may happen in the coming weeks. I, and my clients, feel that being proactive, and having their provider’s signature of support, will help everyone on the team know that I am not a visitor, but rather a crucial part of the birth team that should not be restricted from supporting my clients in labor.
If you are a parent, doula, or provider; feel free to use this template. I have kept it short, non-combative, and inclusive. My goal is to promote healthy conversations between client and provider and encourage hospital staff to support doulas in the birth room as valued members of the team and not seen as visitors.
To whom it may concern,
Due to the recent spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, some hospitals are limiting their client’s visitors to help keep the spread of COVID-19 at a minimum, especially to those that may be ill, elderly, or immune-compromised.
At this time, I ________________________________________________________________ support my client’s right to have the labor support they desire, including both their partner and doula’s support in the birth room; as both parties are not visitors, but important members of my client’s birth team.
More resources are available from Birth Monopoly
We have started to hear from some pregnant people in Kentucky that they would like to explore the option of a home birth. If you would like to explore this option, your first step is to locate a midwife who serves your area and who has availability around your due date window. Several midwives across the state have indicated that they do have openings and are welcoming to new clients.
We will do our best to connect you with the available resources. However, there are currently areas of Kentucky that are not serviced by any midwives for home births.