These are unprecedented times as there has not been a serious health situation such as coronavirus/COVID-19 in recent history. This has left many postpartum doulas wondering how to handle in home support for clients.
As evidence-based professionals, we want to follow the guidance of the most recent and relevant information; this could include the CDC, AWHONN, and the AAP for information relevant to the postpartum/newborn period.
To protect you and your clients, we recommend not only adhering to all public health guidelines but also assuring all clients that their health is a priority and that you will be following all recommend guidelines including:
- Practicing social distancing – refrain from non-essential errands and stay away from group settings. When in public places try to avoid touching high touch surfaces and maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people.
- Avoiding anyone who is sick or who has recently traveled from an affected are in the last 14 days. If you have contact with someone who is sick, have personally been in an affected area in the last 14 days, or if you have any symptoms of illness, you should not report to your shift.
- Washing hands regularly using warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer when entering or leaving a room or cannot wash hands.
- Regularly disinfecting the surfaces in both your home and your client’s home.
Some other suggestions you may want to consider implementing:
- Wearing gloves when having physical contact with client or baby.
- Recommending that clients also practice social distancing.
- Only working with one client at a time.
- Adding to your service agreement that clients must inform you immediately if anyone in the household has any symptoms of illness, has recently traveled from an affected area, or has had any contact with someone who is sick or that has recently traveled from an affected area.
- Adding a sickness policy to your service agreement.
- Having a solid back up doula in case of sickness.
- Adding virtual support options to your packages.
- Cleaning and disinfecting items you may share with clients on a more regular basis, or limiting the items you share.
Postpartum doulas offer essential support to families and this support does not become less essential in times of public adversity. In fact, since at risk age groups include elderly, some families may find they need more support as their parents and other family and friends are not able to offer support and practical assistance since they are practicing social distancing. In times of high stress, it is important that new mothers/parents have time and support to care for their basic needs such as nutrition and rest in order to maintain their strength and resistance to remain low risk in case of infection.
What we know about the virus and recommendations may change quickly. Always check for the most recent updates from the CDC or your local government and/or health department and follow any recommended guidelines. At CAPPA we are here to support you as we navigate this time, please do no hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions, concerns, or need to talk.
CPD, CLD, CLE®, CCCE, CPFE, Faculty, Senior Program Advisor – Postpartum Doula Program
Laura Nance is the CAPPA senior program advisor for the postpartum doula and new parent educator programs. She also trains for the lactation educator program. She is a CAPPA certified postpartum doula, new parent educator, labor doula, lactation educator, childbirth educator and pregnancy fitness educator. She is also a personal trainer and a running coach with additional training in women’s running and core health especially as it relates to pregnancy and postpartum. She has been working with families during the perinatal period for 18 years. She lives in NC with her husband of 27 years and her adult children where she owns a doula and educator collective. She loves running, traveling, concerts, cats, and inspiring new families and professionals.