January 13, 2021
Virtual Support for Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum During COVID
By: Cara Terreri, LCCE, CD(DONA) | 0 Comments
Covid has changed so many things for the families you work with. There has been a surprising positive result of the COVID pandemic - a reduction in preterm births. But, we must recognize that there have been a lot of negatives for expectant families including isolation, fear, confusion, worry, and a loss of support on top of the regular and normal emotions of pregnancy and early parenting. New families' need for support and resources has not diminished! In fact, we can all agree that it has increased. Thankfully, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum professionals have stepped up to the challenge and now, nearly everything can be provided virtually.
Virtual / Online Childbirth Classes
Live online childbirth classes are informative, practical, and fun! Families can get the advice and preparation they need for labor, birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum all from the safety and comfort of their own home. Educators should offer classes that are interactive, meet weekly (aka, a "series" class), offer hands-on practice of comfort measures, and teach concepts in a variety of ways (lecture, videos, exercises/activities). With this system, they get access to a live and in-person instructor to answer questions and receive feedback.
Virtual / Online Labor & Birth Doula Support
For people who wish to have a doula but are unable to do so during to Covid (due to hospital restrictions or personal safety preferences), most doulas are offering virtual support, which includes video calls during pregnancy for prenatal meetings and continuous virtual/video support during labor and through birth and early postpartum. A virtual doula can provide suggestions for comfort and position changes in real time, as well as answer questions and prompt families to to have conversations with their the staff supporting their birth.
Virtual / Online Lactation Support
Support for breast/chestfeeding is worth it's weight in gold (liquid gold that is - in the form of colostrum). Lactating people can still get the support they need even during a pandemic! Lactation Consultants are providing live video support to help families get breastfeeding off to a great start, to uncover reasons why they might be having issues, and to give people the tips and support they need to have a healthy and satisfying breast/chestfeeding experience.
Virtual / Online Postpartum Doula Support
A postpartum doula is a professional trained to help parents in the first days, weeks, and months after giving birth. They assist in everything from teaching new parents how to bathe a newborn and assisting with breast/chestfeeding, to preparing meals and performing light housework. Postpartum doulas are also invaluable in advocating for self care and healing after giving birth by providing emotional, physical, mental, and informational support. In an ideal world, a postpartum doula provides in-person support. During Covid, families can still get invaluable virtual support from a postpartum doula through video meetings! With regular video calls, they can learn about normal newborn behavior, get all their postpartum questions answered, learn about infant feeding and sleeping, check in on new parent postpartum mental health, go over the birth story, ask about physical health/symptoms, and receive local referrals for all of the family's postpartum needs. The virtual postpartum doula can also provide tips for any challenges the family might be experiencing. Postpartum doulas can still help with meal preparation and shopping, if desired.
COVID-19 has changed the landscape of being pregnant and newly postpartum for many families. There are still avenues of support that can be very useful to people during pregnancy, labor/birth and postpartum. This support might be virtual but can be helpful and effective as the in-person support that people were planning. Educators can encourage their families to utilize the virtual offerings of many perinatal professions to help support them during the childbearing year.
TagsChildbirth education Cara Terreri Doulas Lactation Consultants COVID-19