Effective October 4, 2021 Alberta Health Services will be limiting the number of support persons to only ONE in maternity settings: ” one (1) designated support person can be on-site with the patient. Exceptional circumstances and requests by patients for two (2) designated support persons will be considered by site command posts on a case-by-case basis. One (1) additional designated support person (for the infant) will be considered in cases of adoption or surrogacy if physical distancing permits.” (https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17001.aspx)
The COVID-19 Pandemic has been hard on us all and hospitals are currently struggling even more so in this fourth wave. As doulas, we understand this will be disappointing or disconcerting to our clients. We know that continuous support during labor and birth have proven to only have a positive effect on the birth and birthing person. The presence of a doula lowers the rate of caesarian sections and other cascading interventions. We know that doulas also free up medical staff to focus on the medical side of birth as we concentrate on comfort measures for our clients.
Pregnant people are reaching out and asking what they can do. Here are some ideas that may have an impact:
1 Discuss your concerns with your care provider. Make your wishes to have your doula present be known to your care provider. Remind your care provider that your doula is a key member of your birthing team. Have your care provider indicate this on your admission papers.
2. Ask your care provider if they would consider speaking with the Site Command Post Lead, as it is indicated in policy that a second person will be admitted on a case by case basis.
3. Consider calling the patient advocate at the hospital to make your wishes known. Ask them to advocate for an exemption to this policy on your behalf. Google “patient advocate and the specific hospital” for numbers. Each hospital has a patient advocate.
4. Contact Alberta Health Services Patient Relations at 1-855-550-2555 to make a request and/or express your feelings about this limiting policy.
5. Submit your feedback on this form to express your concerns about this limiting policy. Use this link
6. If you are one of our clients, indicate in your feedback that your doulas are doubly vaccinated, follow all PPE protocols and want to work with the team in your support.
We sincerely hope by taking these actions, we can see a change in policy so your doula is not left out of your plans. We understand that even by taking all of these actions, the final decision is in someone else’s hands.
We understand the severity of the pandemic but also realize birthing people need and deserve the birthing support they want in their births. Knowing all of this, we will always work with our clients to have a strong back up plan in place. Feel free to connect with us to set that plan in motion should your efforts not be recognized. In the past we have worked with clients to labor in their homes and to support via phone, text, and facetime with success.