Birthing in Atlanta During COVID-19
To our expectant families-
Woah. These last few weeks have been a wild ride. We hope that you and your families are staying safe and adjusting to this weird time the best you can.
We wanted to reach out with a few notes and some additional information from us regarding birthing and the birth climate as of right now. Keep in mind provider and hospital policies have been changing day to day and, in some cases, hour to hour. We will keep updated as best we can when new information becomes available.
As of today, we have moved all consults, prenatal, and postpartum visits virtual. If you already have one of these scheduled, keep an eye out for an email with a Zoom link to our video meeting. We are also offering private birth classes virtually since many places have cancelled theirs.
Many of our clients have either transferred, or expressed their interest in transferring, to a home birth setting. If this is something that you're interested in discussing, time is of the essence. There is currently a large quantity of families interested in transferring their care to home birth midwives, which has caused a large decrease in availability. If you'd like to chat about this, or need midwife referrals, please reach out. We'd love to discuss your options. Alternatively, there is always the option of switching to a practice in one of the facilities that currently allowing doulas.
Although this information is changing daily, as of today, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar North Fulton, Northside Atlanta, Northside Cherokee, and Northside Forsyth are the only hospitals who are currently allowing a doula in addition to one other support person. All other hospitals have moved to a one support person only policy. All visitors must be screened upon entrance to L&D and restrictions have been placed on support people. What this means for you is that once your birth team has arrived to the hospital, they are required to stay put throughout the duration of labor. Partners, doulas, and other support persons are not allowed to leave the hospital or switch out. If you arrive to the hospital prior to your doula, please inform the intake personnel and/or nurse that your doula is on the way and give them our names. This minimizes back and forth between the screening/intake employee and the L&D unit. Additionally, we are encouraging our birthing clients to labor at home as long as possible, in order to minimize time spent in the hospital.
Lastly, we want to address what support will look like in the event that we are not allowed into labor and delivery. We've been getting reports from across the country on many hospitals disallowing doulas (and some all partners/support people) and we're not sure if that may become our reality in the Atlanta metro. There's also the possibility that a shelter in place may be ordered which would make it impossible (and illegal) for us to get to our clients in labor. We want you to know that we're just as committed to our clients now as we have ever been and want you to know that our plans to support you will continue. Starting immediately, we are offering all clients who are planning to birth through May an additional 20 minute Zoom video call to go over comfort measures, coping techniques, and positions for birth more in-depth with mom and partner. We feel like this is more important now than ever, especially if circumstances prevent us from being physically present during labor. In the event that circumstances prevent us from attending births, we are planning on continuing early labor support via phone/text and then moving to a video chat platform such as FaceTime or Zoom during active labor through birth. We've spoken to many doulas throughout the country who have successfully implemented this in their area, with excellent feedback!
As things progress, we'll continue to keep you updated with any changes as they occur. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any further questions or concerns.
Stefanie + Melissa
Atlanta birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, cloth diaper expect, yoga enthusiast, and baby snuggler.