The COVID-19 Pandemic hit the United States suddenly in early 2020 and quickly spread all over the country. As is true all over the world, the pandemic has caused deaths, damage, and despair in every aspect of American Life.
In this presentation for birth and postpartum doulas and other maternity workers, we will examine how the pandemic has caused severe illness, profound loss of life, and, in the United States particularly, has been impossible to contain. We will discuss adjustments in maternity care to maintain safety, and the impact these changes have had on maternity care workers and their clients and families.
The non-clinical support role that doulas play at births and postpartum is well-suited to meet the needs of childbearing people. The challenge is to adapt the role to meet the requirements for safety and containment of the virus, and, as much as possible, to preserve normalcy and parent-infant contact as much as is possible during the very special beginning of the family. Playing that role requires much adjustment and caution on the parts of the doulas and a high degree of professionalism.
Penny Simkin suggests that the doula, who does not have clinical responsibilities, is well qualified and in an excellent position to address and offer support during the profound emotional reactions experienced by expectant and new parents before, during, and after birth. This may require some modification of the role of the doula, which we will explore during the presentation.