Covid has changed a lot of things in our world, not the least of which is how expecting families navigate pregnancy and birth. In most regions secondary support people aren’t permitted in hospitals, and that includes the support of a professional doula. That is certainly the case for Ottawa and area residents. National Capital Doulas has done what so many other businesses and service providers have done and we responded by moving as many services online as possible. People still need help and support, even if it looks a little different. The looking a little different is what we’re talking about today. Our Virtual Birth Doula service is a great one and we want to help you maximize the benefits.
1. Update Your Virtual Birth Doula
Communication is key! The more you update and inform your virtual doula about how your pregnancy is progressing and what your thoughts and feelings are, the more we can help. While we can’t make clinical recommendations to you we can be there to fully hear you and how you are being impacted by any changes to your pregnancy that you may be experiencing. We will remind you of options that may be available to you and encourage you to ask whatever questions you may have. If we don’t know, we can’t help. Communicating to your care provider and the birth place staff that you have a virtual birth doula supporting you is also an important piece in this. Let them know that there will be regular check ins and that you will be using phone and visual means of connecting.
2. Sort and Test Your Tech
There are a number of online platforms available to facilitate virtual meetings and virtual support. We have an integrated virtual platform that links directly to our booking system to make pre and postnatal appts as simple as possible. We’re open to using whatever platform you feel most comfortable with during the birth support. You can text us, call us, and we can connect face to face using Zoom, Duo, FaceTime, Google Meet – whatever you find easiest to use. All local hospitals have guest WiFi with reliable signals. We’re going to recommend things you should bring with you in order to maximize your virtual experience once you are admitted to your chosen birth place. A tripod or device that can set up and be used without needing to be held is the optimal choice for virtual support.
3. Managing Your Privacy
Birthing is intimate – absolutely! We always adapt to meet our client’s privacy needs while they’re birthing. For some discretion and feeling covered is of utmost importance, for others it’s not. We can give you ideas and strategies for how to manage your privacy needs while you are at your chosen birth place. What we also promise is we will be supporting you from a private space in our homes. There is no external audience when we are checking in. You have our full attention and we ensure your privacy is respected at all times.
4. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Preparing for your journey into parenting is one of the best things you can do for yourself. In no way can we plan how birth will ultimately unfold, but we can explore options, voice preferences, learn more about what can and does happen and how we can navigate it if it does. All of that prep work takes place within the relationship developed between you and your NCD birth doula. We’ve also supported many, many families and have a host of useful tips and tricks – both for birth and after. We’re generous with our knowledge and readily share what we know, when you want us to. We’re the best kind of Google because you can trust the source.
5. Talk To Us
The last year has been hard, damn hard! We are a safe space to voice that. We do get it and we know the challenges that can come with pregnancy, birth, and parenting. We know how much tougher the isolation in our current world has made all of it. Not only can you share with us what you need to, we will also always remind you that your voice matters. It matters in your care and the direction it takes and the decisions you need to make. It can feel very powerful to have someone tell you that you have a right to ask that question and it makes sense to want more information.
6. Establish A Contact Plan
This is an important step in the preparation process. Prenatally we’ll talk to you about times to check in, what makes sense in terms of timing between follow ups and when it’s to your benefit to reach out. Expect early on during labour to have a face to face virtual connection. It helps us to help you if we can see you. The same is true during the labour, but there will also be times where we may have a phone chat with your primary support person, or maybe you will text directly with your doula. We’ll suggest a different method of connection if we think it will help us to help you in the best way possible. Sometimes we really need to hear you or see you to determine the best suggestion for you or your partner in that moment.
7. Ask Questions
TBRAINS – you’ll hear your doula mention that more than once. Informed decision making is a vital component of patient care in our medical system, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to understand in the moment. We’ll talk to you about what it all means prenatally and remind you of your right to ask questions. It’s all about feeling like you know what you need to know about risks, benefits, and options in order to make the best choice for you and your baby. We’ll give you advance information about your options and encourage you every step of the way. This is all about you and your baby and we want you to have a positive experience.
8. Lean On Your Virtual Birth Doula
You never know what we may have experienced or have learned through our many years supporting birthing families. Always assume we can help in some way – because we usually can. We can validate your feelings, we can help you work through your thoughts, we can remind you of your options, we can make suggestions. At the very least we can and will listen. We want to know if you’re okay. You matter to us and we want to know how you feel. We believe in you and there are times when what you need most of all is to hear that someone believes you can do it. The same is true for your partner. We’re here for them too. We can make support suggestions to them, make sure they’re also taking care of their needs (that helps them help you), and be a solid anchor for them while they work through this with you.
9. Test Your Systems
You don’t want to test this all out when you’re in labour. We can do a run through during the prenatal, and we suggest you and your primary support person trial your tech and tech support devices before it’s time to head to the birth place. You definitely want to have chargers packed, and make sure you have more than just your phone with you. If a phone is what you’ve got bring or borrow a suitable phone support or tripod so you and your support person can go hands free while connecting with us.
10. Find Your Village – You Are Not Alone
This year has felt very isolating, too isolating. Expecting and new parents need other people, we thrive with that village around to help us. You are not alone! We are here for you and have a number of options available to our client families to create a new version of a village. We are going to check in, because we are here for you. Our whole team is here for you and we want your Virtual Birth Doula experience to be the best it can be for you and your family.
Booking virtual birth doula support is a click away. Contact us today to discuss your options for support.