Birth Support Guide for Partners During COVID-19

As the country is ravaged by the COVID-19 virus and hospitals are locking down visitor and support access, I’ve been pushing out information regarding best practices right now and current hospital policies.

Here’s the reality: none of us know what tomorrow looks like, let alone next week. The best we can do is focus on what is true right now, in this moment.

Birthing people and their partners, assuming partners are currently allowed in your facility, need information. Many will be going into L&D without their support team. In many places, there are shelter in place mandates and doulas will not be allowed to accompany you to your birth place. This is scary and overwhelming under ordinary circumstances, but we certainly aren’t in an ordinary situation.

I’ve done my best to consolidate as much information as possible into this blog post. It is impossible for me cover everything there is to know right now, but please ask if you have specific questions. Consider this a quick “how to” guide for supporting your partner during birth during a pandemic.

Informed Choice

  • Making an informed choice about your care still applies. Even in a pandemic.
  • You can and should be asking questions about care options that are presented to you. Why is this being recommended? What are the risks? What happens if I wait? What are my other options?
  • You absolutely have the right to decline any option presented to you.

Induction of Labor

Generally speaking, everyone has a few options for induction of labor. I’m going to list these off so that you have talking points for discussion with your care provider. Most providers have a preference for the order these interventions are given, but you have an input here, too.

  • Artificial rupture of membranes – breaking your water. Sometimes this can kick start labor, but oftentimes a pharmaceutical is needed after to help labor progress.
  • Foley bulb or Cooke catheter – essentially this is a balloon that manually opens your cervix. It can cause cramping and might be uncomfortable.
  • Cervical ripening agents such as Cytotec and Cervadil typically do not induce labor, but are a great place to start if your cervix is unfavorable.
  • Pitocin – the synthetic form of Oxytocin. This is an intravenous medication given to produce contractions.

Comfort Measures

  • Hydrotherapy – also known as water. If you are struggling and need pain relief, the shower or a bath are great options.
  • Hip squeezes – check this link for a how to video
  • Sacral pressure – how to video here
  • Massage for labor – check out this resource for a massage technique that I use frequently
  • Heat packs for the lower back can be very helpful, especially with back labor
  • Hypnobirthing techniques that are quite helpful here
  • Turning an OP baby – check this link

You can also check out the blog on our site about Newborn Procedures so you know what to expect for baby.

I can’t possibly put all of my knowledge into a single blog post, but I hope that this quick informational post can help you feel better prepared in this unbelievably uncertain time. I’m here to answer whatever questions you might have.

The most important piece of advice that I can give you regarding being pregnant and giving birth during this COVID-19 pandemic is: be prepared for all of your plans to go out the window. It’s the ONLY thing we can do to keep ourselves sane. Prepare, but try not to hold onto fear.

Best,

Your equally overwhelmed neighborhood doula

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