If we have learned anything in the past few months, it is that there is no handbook for what to do if you are pregnant or newly postpartum during a pandemic.
What we do know is that parents are absolutely needing support during early parenthood now, more than ever.
When self-quarantine was announced, we brought our business to a standstill in order to maintain the highest standards of care and to proceed with the safety of you and your family at the forefront of our practice. We acknowledge that currently, safety equipment and resources are limited, and hospitals are understaffed. Additionally, extended families are limited more than ever in the ways that they can support newly postpartum families. Now, as Texas begins to reopen, we are ready to implement our brand new Covid19 standards of care in order to move forward with supporting you.
Firstly, our virtual support allows you to have someone available for any questions about your physical and emotional recovery in pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Specifically, we can address putting together your birth plan, help your partner prepare to support you during labor and birth, and be present digitally (via multiple platforms) if the need arises, to help coach and answer questions. On the Postpartum side, we can answer lactation questions and be present for assessments, newborn development and general parenting tips.
Knowing the difference between what warrants more intervention and “what is normal” is worth so much peace of mind.
Second is our in-person support. Unfortunately, not all of our hospital systems are allowing for an extra support person in addition to your chosen birth partner. Due to this, we are not physically able to support you in a hospital setting unless your particular place of birth is allowing Doula support.
We are patiently waiting for these policies to change, but are grateful for the added layer of protection for everyone until it is safe to be together in close proximity again. We can support you in a birth center or home birth setting with some changes in how we share your space, which will be discussed below. We have updated and implemented the following standards of care to comply with recommendations from the TDLR, CDC, and WHO. This aligns with our response to help families to make educated decisions about risk/benefits to having support in their home before you transition to the hospital and offering postpartum and newborn care services in the home at this time.
Houston Birth & Baby’s COVID19 standards of care for in-person support are as follows:
- Doulas will check their temperature daily and note any symptoms of illness. If there is a fever or signs of illness, the shift will be rescheduled or offered an alternative shift of virtual support.
- Doulas will not work with families directly if they have had or been exposed to Covid-19 with the understanding they will be able to return to providing care after a self-quarantine period of 14 days without symptoms.
- Families who have been in contact or diagnosed with COVID-19 will be offered an alternative of virtual support until symptom-free for two weeks.
- Families will be asked to sign a release of liability in addition to the standard contract. This waiver will address the preventative measures and intensified sanitation protocols intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 that we are implementing. It will also express your permission to the Doula to proceed with providing support.
- Doulas will provide their own personal protection equipment (PPE) including change of clothing upon entering the home, hand sanitizer, gloves when needed, and be masked upon request when in close contact with families or the entirety of the shift if families prefer.
- At this time, we are only scheduling one Postpartum doula per family so hours may be limited, therefore doulas will be unable to provide more than 35 hours per week to their dedicated family.
- Doulas will not work with more than one family at a time and follow proper health guidelines when out in the community when not working.
- Families will continue to have flexibility in scheduling hours with weekly billing, utilizing their HSA/Flex accounts, or having family and friends buy gift certificates as usual.
Let’s be real.
We know it’s impossible to eliminate all possible risks (pre-pandemic included), even with our updated standards and protocols.
We also acknowledge that having a baby is hard work. It’s so important to have a strong support system in the days, weeks, and months after. The effects of sleep deprivation and human connection can be a huge factor in your mental health state during this time.
Are you ready to connect with us?
Give us a call at 713-714-7649 or fill out our contact form. We will be in touch soon!