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Virginia, Maryland and DC Doula Support During the Pandemic

Back in March, DMV area hospital policies changed to restrict doula support. Doulas had to put their heads together to figure out how to continue serving clients. Here’s where we are now with DMV area doula support (DC, Maryland and Virginia) more than three months later. (Wow, has it really been that long?)

dmv area doula support during covid

Here’s where we are now with DMV area doula support (DC, Maryland and Virginia)

  • The Inova hospital system (Alexandria, Fairfax, Fair Oaks and Loudoun) reverted its visitor policy effective June 29, 2020 to state doulas are not visitors and are therefore permitted in Labor & Delivery, in addition to the primary support person / partner / spouse if the patient / birthing person has a negative Covid test.
  • Virginia Hospital Center is allowing doulas again
  • GW Hospital is allowing doulas again with a patient’s negative Covid test
  • Premier Birth Center in Chantilly, VA and Winchester, VA strongly prefers their patients have a doula and this has been the case for the duration of this time period.
  • BirthCare in Alexandria, VA continues to encourage doula care through its “birth assistant” program.
  • Many doulas, including Hello, Tapestry, are offering virtual doula support; this may include the option of some in-home support for earlier stages of labor and virtual support through phone, text, and video calls during the hospital stay and postpartum.
  • Home birth midwifery care is an option worth exploring for low-risk pregnancies.
  • Postpartum doula care is still available in person, if both client and doula discuss risks and feel comfortable assuming them.

We will keep you updated with any new information as it becomes available!

10 Ways To Support Anti-Racism

If you’re aware of healthcare disparities in general, then you may be aware that pregnancy-related death as well as infant mortality are disproportionately higher for Non-Hispanic Black (Black) persons and American Indian/Alaska Native persons. (source: CDC). If you’re a doula who hasn’t studied these issues, it might be because your training organization didn’t ask you to. Studying racial disparities through the lens of maternity care is an eye-opening experience. When you recognize these realities and begin understanding more about why they exist, then you begin to realize how these issues permeate every aspect of our society. The following is a starter kit for learning, growing and doing.

  1. Listen. Seek out and hear the voices and experiences of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). Keep the main thing the main thing. All you need to do is listen with compassion. The experiences may or may not include any details which are relatable to you. This is not automatic permission to comment. Train yourself to observe and reserve judgement. Sit with your feelings. What do you feel? Resistance? Confusion? Discomfort? Guilt? Anger? Ask yourself why. But do not respond. Not yet.
  2. Study. Seek out a variety of sources to learn more about what you’re hearing. Suggested resources:
  3. Be Vulnerable. Be willing to engage when silence is more comfortable. “But wait, I thought I was supposed to listen?” Yes, listening and digesting what you heard is important. But we also must be willing to learn which responses are helpful and not harmful. To do that, we have to know we’re just not always going to get it right. (More on this below.)
  4. Adjust Your Approach.
    1. “I don’t see color.”
    2. “All lives matter.”
    3. “What does an African American want?”
    4. “A few bad apples.”
  5. Humble Thyself. Understand that we’re not in some kind of a competition to say all the right things and show up in all the right ways. (See: performative allyship.) We can choose day by day to take anti-racist actions, but we’re probably going to mess up and learn more and do better as we go. Examine the intent of your words and actions and whether they had a negative or a positive impact upon a BIPOC, as defined by the person or people, not as you understand it.
  6. Educate. Once you begin to understand something on a deeper level than you did before, be ready to share it with others who aren’t there yet, even if it’s uncomfortable to do so. Share it in a way that is unequivocally on the side of justice and equality; don’t sugar coat it. But hone and use your communication skills to open doorways to conversations and a deeper sense of compassion, instead of admonishing people who don’t get it yet. You will fail. You will get frustrated. But keep trying.
  7. Support. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Support the efforts of BIPOC for BIPOC.
  8. Adjust Your Approach (Again). Let go of the need to feel accomplished, receive recognition or be thanked for your efforts. That’s not owed; for the first time ever, we’re doing the bare minimum and that in itself is something to consider.
  9. Give. Give as much as you can to causes which exist to move the needle towards equality. One-time gifts are great but if you can give regularly, do that.
  10. Push. Keep Pushing. So we all get “one to grow on” here. As we begin to awaken to just how many ways there are to choose anti-racist behavior (See: How to Be An Anti-Racist), you might begin having a variety of emotional reactions. You may feel like quitting. But we need to keep going. The only way to it is through it.

Book Review Part 2: In the Flo

After finishing the first section of the book, here’s a summary of my thoughts. Although it has grown a bit tiresome listening to the lists of symptoms that so many deal with, as shown in various studies (not all of which are of the highest quality, I might add), I am still finding the information to be pretty interesting and relevant. And it’s an important point that research on women’s issues is lacking simply because most of the studies we have are largely based on men!

The nutrition info. gets a thumbs up from me since it mentions many of the foods my family eats on a regular basis anyway. The no-frills approach to menu planning is right up my alley so I’m excited to try a bit of rearranging since my husband currently does the majority of the shopping and cooking! But if I make requests, or pick up more of the cooking myself, he’s not going to care too much one way or the other since I won’t need to ask for anything too radical. (That was my main concern when I started reading, so I was excited to find it wasn’t the case!)

I’m working my way through the exercise info. now so I’m curious about how it will fit with my CrossFit workouts. I’m hoping it’s as simple as going 0-2 times in cycle phases when I need more rest and 4-5 times in phases when my performance will be optimized.

In my part 3 review once I’m finished, I’ll update you on the other major tenet of the book: how to sync your cycle with your work activities, creativity, brain power, etc.

Book Review Part 1: In the Flo

Every day, usually twice, I commute back and forth between my home / home office and my kids’ school. (Next year, they’ll be getting their butts on the bus!) In the meantime, I’ve found some companionship with SiriusXM radio as well as an audio book. I’ve just started listening to In the Flo: Unlock Your Hormonal Advantage and Revolutionize Your Life by the author of Woman Code: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source.

Finished the intro and chapter 1. My take is that it’s pretty interesting and I’m learning some stuff already. The basic premise is that everything in the world is oriented for a man’s hormonal cycle, which happens every 24 hours. That’s not a concept I’d ever really thought about before! The author definitely has a point-of-view and a framework she’s writing from and it’s coming off as slightly sales-y. But not so much that I’m not going to keep listening. I’m curious to learn if the action steps she’ll recommend later on in the book are any different from what I find myself doing intuitively anyway. I’m most worried about the diet stuff because I don’t know how motivated I’ll feel to make any huge changes. But for me, I want to see if I can clear up my skin and raise libido.

One other thing I love about it so far is the way she re-writes the biology textbooks, describing female reproduction in a much more positive and empowering way than the dry, one-sided story our girls currently learn in school. I’ll be bookmarking those pages to read to my daughter, who’s 11. Stay tuned…