Despite lifting more restrictions across the province, the number of people allowed in birthing centres and hospitals remains limited.
Doulas, who provide support to pregnant women and their partners in the birthing process, say they’ve had enough.
“If we’re able to gather in groups in places now, we need to bring doulas back into birthing spaces,” said Lesley Everest, doula and MotherWit Founder.
In December 2021 protocols changed when the Omicron variant was surging in Quebec. Only one caregiver would be allowed in birthing centres and hospitals.
“I think that the idea of not having a doula in the room right now is … it’s very disappointing. It’s really discouraging. It’s kind of scary as well,” said expectant mother Amanda Door.
The mother of three is due in May, but she is already preparing to make a difficult decision.
“Obviously I would like my partner to be there … (H)aving to make the choice between my partner and the doula is a really tough choice. I think the person that was really able to keep me calm in my previous deliveries was the doula,” said Door, who worked with a MotherWit doula during her previous pregnancies.
“A doula can offer continuous care throughout pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period that can be really helpful for parents who are navigating a system that is often unknown to them,” said Door’s doula Stephanie De Sousa.
The MotherWit doula care team argue that a doula is not just another person in the room. They claim the benefits of a second support outweigh the risks.
“We help to reduce trauma in births. Our hands-on care really, really helps,” said Everest.
The doulas say with their vulnerable clientele, they are doing everything they can to keep exposure to COVID as low as possible.
“All of the doulas on MotherWit doula care are vaccinated and boosted. We’re wearing N95 masks when we are in the presence of pregnant folks and newborns,” said De Sousa.
Despite their pleas, hospitals in Alert Level 4 are still not letting doulas accompany mothers.
In a letter sent to MotherWit on Monday, Quebec’s Health Ministry states, “the evolution of the epidemiological situation will determine whether further relaxation is possible.”
The doulas insist waiting for measures to ease could have dire effects on families during what should be the happiest time of their lives.
“It’s heartbreaking to go and do home support for early labour and then have to go and leave our clients at the hospital and continue virtually,” admits Everest.
Expectant mothers, doulas calling for hospital visitor restrictions to be loosened
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