Melissa Harrell, Ph.D. - Birth and Postpartum Doula

Doulas and Covid-19

In times are crisis, it’s important to have the information and support you need. As always, I am committed to supporting you on all levels: heart, mind, and body. Here are five reasons having a doula is more important than ever.

Five reasons having a doula now is more important than ever

1. Doulas are experts at creating a sense of calm confidence in seemingly chaotic situations. 

Although none of us have been through a situation quite like this before, doulas have a lot of experience navigating complex and sometimes scary situations. A doula can help you stay calm and move from panicked to prepared. Let your doula keep you informed on the latest recommendations from major health organizations so that you can step away from Google. 

Partner supporting birthing person during labor

2. Spend more time laboring at home (and out of the hospital).

Many women are choosing to labor at home for as long as they can to reduce the amount of time they spend at the hospital. And local hospitals agree, suggesting that you labor at home until active labor (check with your provider about their specific recommendations). This is likely to become even more important as hospital staff and space become more limited. Your birth doula can support you in laboring at home for longer with in person or virtual support (depending on Shelter in Place restrictions in your location). It’s easier to be confident and comfortable laboring at home when you have a childbirth expert in your corner, whether they are by your side or on your phone. For those looking to avoid the hospital altogether, your doula can connect you with some great homebirth midwives.

3. Learn about childbirth from the comfort of your home.

While you’re pregnant, it’s important to learn what to expect during labor and childbirth. Doulas help with this during prenatal visits, but I also recommend participating in a childbirth education class. Many classes are offered at the hospital or in public spaces/classrooms, which may be uncomfortable or unavailable during the spread of Covid-19. Ask your doula about virtual childbirth education options. 

4. Encourage high-risk folks, like your parents or immunocompromised individuals, to avoid the hospital. 

Right now, it is safest for people who are older or have compromised immune systems to stay home and avoid the hospital. If someone on your birthing support team falls into this category, having a doula is more important than ever. Whether in person or virtually, your doula can help you feel safe, loved, and empowered throughout your birth experiences. And, if you’d like, they can send updates to your fan club waiting safely at their homes.

5. Top OB and nursing organizations encourage the use of doulas, even now when hospitals are limiting visitors due to Covid-19. 

Right now, in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19, there is a lot of uncertainty about who will be allowed in the delivery room. Locally, this is a situation that is quickly evolving and changing day-to-day and sometimes hour-to-hour. Check in with your doula to find out what services they offer in the event they are not able to join you at the hospital. Many doulas are able to provide virtual support via phone, text, and video calls. Although there is a lot of uncertainty right now, a doula can help you navigate the complexity. We can figure this out together, one breath at a time.

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses supports doulas as partners in care and acknowledges their ability to provide physical, emotional, and partner support to women. AWHONN opposes hospital policies that restrict the presence of a doula in the inpatient setting during an infectious disease outbreak. Read more about AWHONN’s position on continuous labor support for every woman here.”

Melissa Harrell offers birth services in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. As a doula, she helps parents before, during, and after the birth of their child. Her style includes a balance of science and intuition from the fields of psychology, yoga, mindfulness, research, and of course doula work. Contact me at to inquire about her services.