Five ways to prepare for birthing in the time of COVID-19

In this time of uncertainty, you may feel a little apprehensive about your birthing. If this is your first baby, you might not know what to expect and new hospital or birth centre protocols may have you even more confused. If this is baby number two or more, this birth may be very different from your previous experience and you might be unsure how to navigate that. 

Here are a few simple tips to help you to feel comfortable and prepared for ever-changing circumstances.

1 – Know your care provider’s policies, but be prepared for them to change

Hospitals and birth centres are limiting the number of support people allowed to be with you during your birthing. Some spaces will allow a partner and a doula, others just one support person and others, none at all.

Across the board at this time, children or family members are not being permitted to visit in GTA hospitals. Limiting exposure to COVID-19 is important for everyone, including the birthing parent and infant. We must balance the importance of physical support with personal safety. Keep these policies in mind to avoid last minute shock or disappointment.

2 – Don’t skip your childbirth education!

Did your prenatal class get cancelled? Just because your in-person group class is no longer happening doesn’t mean the information isn’t still important to learn. Take a virtual prenatal class and get the benefit of your original childbirth ed series from the safety of your own home. Childbirth education will help you to understand your choices for the birthing space which is all the more important if your support people cannot be physically present.

3 – Embrace technology

Get used to using FaceTime, Skype or Zoom. Whether it’s to include families in your birthing space, show off your newborn from the hospital or birth center or to stay connected after baby arrives, get used to using technology for the positive. Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Reach out to your community, friends and family.

4- Plan, plan, plan

There’s so much we don’t know and won’t know as the situation progresses. It’s safe to say none of us have lived through this situation before. There is so much we can’t control. The best thing we can do is plan ahead. We don’t recommend hoarding supplies beyond the necessary 14 days in case of quarantine. Know which lactation consultants and doulas are offering virtual consults, arrange meal delivery services and prepare your birthing and postpartum preferences with the support of your doula.

5 – Feel what you’re feeling

You’re allowed to be happy and excited in a difficult time. You’re also allowed to feel worried, sad or scared. Whatever you’re feeling is totally ok. Please don’t try to shut down your emotions at such a transformative time of your life. We are all in this together. Talk to your family or friends, reach out to your doula. If you feel you would benefit from talk therapy or counselling, many therapists are also doing zoom sessions. Stay emotionally connected while staying physically isolated. 

Hopefully these tips will help you enter your birthing space feeling comfortable and confident. We are here to support you whenever you need. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us anytime. Stay connected!