Doula Network Australia Incorporated  

Peer support ~ Professional development ~ Advocacy   

COVID-19 STATEMENT

COVID-19 POSITION STATEMENT
Please download the below statement and share with interested parties. We hope this will help members and clients to communicate with care providers and hospitals when navigating policies related to the COVID-19 health crisis.

19 March 2020


Doula Network Australia Inc. (DNA) is the national association for birth and postnatal doulas in Australia. We oppose the exclusion and restriction of doulas from healthcare services during infectious disease outbreaks, including that of COVID-19.


Doulas are professionals who provide essential support services to women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Removing women’s doulas at a time when they are exceptionally vulnerable is dismissive of their needs and desires and violates women’s and babies’ human rights to life, health, privacy and equal treatment (doula support decreases morbidity and improves outcomes for mothers and babies). At the time of writing, CDC policy noted that individuals essential for a patient’s emotional well-being and care should be exempt from exclusion/restriction situations. Furthermore, ACOG and AWHONN recognise doulas as essential support people and, along with RCOG, oppose restrictions on doulas being present during labour.


Throughout previous pandemics (SARS and H1N1) doulas were not restricted from providing labour support. RANZCOG notes that COVID-19 seems to hold less risks for pregnant women than influenza, and preliminary research suggests that children are less susceptible to severe effects of the disease. DNA has discussed with and supports our members to follow WHO safe practices to minimise the spread of disease including vigilant hand washing/sanitising, wearing PPE as necessary, practicing social distancing and self-isolating when unwell or after contact with carriers of disease.


Doulas respect, protect and promote the health and well-being of their clients. While we recognise the risks posed by the current health crisis, doulas also provide support prior to attendance at hospital, thus negating any effect that exclusion from hospitals would provide. Indeed, by supporting women at home until they require assistance, doulas help reduce the load on the healthcare system and the potential for COVID-19 transmission.


DNA encourages healthcare services who have implemented exclusion policies to revise these and welcomes the opportunity to work collaboratively and flexibly with hospital maternity services for the benefit of birthing women and their families.


Endorsed by

Professor Hannah Dahlen AM [Link]

Dr Christine Catling [Link]

Rhea Dempsey [Link]

Jane Hardwicke Collings [Link]

Maternity Choices Australia [Link]

Friends of Northern Beaches Maternity Services Consumer Group [Link]

Links in Statement

Other Helpful Links

Shareable Social Media Tile


Please feel free to save and share this image on social media. We would appreciate if you include a link to our website in your post so that people are aware they can download the full statement here.


Copy or type this link: www.doulanetwork.org.au


Please also tag our social media profiles! 

Instagram: @doulanetworkaustralia

Facebook: @doulanetwork


Thank you for helping to raise awareness of this important issue.


One final point.

We are encouraging all members to please remain calm. If you are experiencing difficulty with a hospital or are feeling anxious about the evolving situation with COVID-19 please post in our Facebook group so we can support you!

Letters of Support

There are many organisations and medical practitioners who recognise the valuable and essential service doulas provide. Below is a collection of letters of support. We will be adding to this collection shortly. Please also note the endorsements listed on our Position Statement. A huge thanks to the all those who have supported us on this issue.


updated 26 March 2020


DR SARAH BUCKLEY


RHEA DEMPSEY

The Situation

For those who are unaware of the situation, a growing number of hospitals in Australia have implemented a one support person only policy in birthing suites and postnatal wards. We are particularly concerned about the restriction in birthing suites. It is not all hospitals. Many hospitals have a two person policy for birthing suites which won’t restrict doulas supporting their clients. We hope our position statement will help doulas and clients to communicate with care providers and health facilities who are issuing a one support person policy. 

Below is a list of of hospitals that have been reported to be adopting this policy and other restrictive policies. Please note, confirmed means that a written policy has been sighted or a doula/client has experienced the enforcement of this policy during labour. Unconfirmed means that a woman has been verbally told this is the policy during her pregnancy. If you are aware of any other hospitals adopting these policies, or if any of the below hospitals have reversed their policies, please email us at doulanetwork@gmail.com 

**Please note that some of these hospitals may allow a doula if the birthing woman seeks permission from the Maternity Unit Manager or OB.

ONE SUPPORT PERSON ONLY POLICY (CONFIRMED)


**Blacktown Hospital (Blacktown, NSW)

Calvary North Adelaide Hospital (North Adelaide, SA)

Centenary Hospital for Women & Children (Canberra, ACT)

**Coffs Harbour Health Campus (Coffs Harbour, NSW)

**Gosford Private Hospital (North Gosford, NSW)

Launceston General Hospital (Launceston, TAS)

Mater Mothers' Hospital Brisbane (South Brisbane, QLD)

Nepean Hospital (Penrith, NSW)

Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (Herston, QLD)

St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital (Mount Lawley, WA)

Sunshine Hospital (St Albans, VIC)

University Hospital Geelong (Geelong, VIC)


ONE SUPPORT PERSON ONLY POLICY (UNCONFIRMED)


Albury Wodonga Health (Albury, NSW; Wodonga, VIC)

Angliss Hospital (Upper Ferntree Gully, VIC)

Bowral Hospital (Bowral, NSW)

Caboolture Hospital (Caboolture, QLD)

Cabrini Maternity (Malvern, VIC)

Frances Perry House - Maternity Hospital (Parkville, VIC)

Hobart Private Hospital (Hobart, TAS)

Monash Medical Centre (Clayton, VIC)

Northeast Health Wangaratta (Wangaratta, VIC)

Redcliffe Hospital (Redcliffe, QLD)

Royal Hobart Hospital (Hobart, TAS)

Royal Hospital for Women (Randwick, NSW)

Royal North Short Hospital, (St Leonards, NSW)

Sandringham Hospital (Sandringham, VIC)

St John of God Geelong Hospital (Geelong, VIC)

Sutherland Hospital (Caringbah, NSW)

The Royal Women's Hospital (Parkville, VIC)


ZERO SUPPORT POLICY (UNCONFIRMED)


Royal Hospital for Women (Randwick, NSW)

Royal North Shore Hospital (St Leonards, NSW)


NO WATER BIRTH POLICY DUE TO COVID-19 (UNCONFIRMED)


Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (Herston, QLD)