CALL TO ACTION
BIRTHING PEOPLE DESERVE DOULA & COMMUNITY MIDWIFERY SUPPORT IN BIRTH CENTERS AND HOSPITALS.
Dear Sir or Madam,
On April 21, 2020, Governor Mike Dunleavy released an executive order restricting visitor access to hospitals, and rightfully so. We are thankful for the overall changes implemented to help reduce exposure of Covid-19 and flatten the curve. However, this initial Executive Order left out clarification on Doula and Community Midwife access to hospitals.
At this time, hospitals and birth centers throughout Alaska have implemented a strict one visitor policy to all labor, delivery, and postpartum units. We would like to discuss how Doulas and Community Midwives can work safely alongside the maternity care team to provide labor, birth, and postpartum care, within current guidelines and policies, to ensure that key safety aims are met and that the rights of birthing people are upheld during this rapidly changing and challenging time.
We are asking that hospitals allow Doulas and Community Midwives as evidence based care professionals, and essential team members, rather than visitors. Health Mandate 015 states, “This policy must allow, at a minimum: end-of-life visits; parents of a minor; a legal guardian; a support person for labor and delivery settings”. We also believe labor qualifies as an exigent circumstance under this order. Therefore, a partner and a Doula and/or Community Midwife should be allowed to accompany a laboring mother, if they pass the health evaluation required.
Throughout Alaska many Doulas and Midwives have been and are being denied access to their clients, and hospitals are choosing not to amend their visitor policies to include professional Doula or Midwifery support. As a birth community, we are happy to offer proof of a professional client relationship such as business cards, contracts, proof of formal training, TaxID numbers, etc. All professional Doulas and Midwives agree to provide these documents to prevent visitors from claiming they are Doulas and Midwives. We offer to temporarily contract with hospitals for a temporary access badge to allow us access to our clients if necessary.
Evidence supports that both Doulas and Community Midwives can help reduce the need for additional resources in hospitals, and shorten hospital stays at such a critical time. The addition of Doula and Midwifery care will not drastically increase the volume of people in the hospital setting. The risk we pose in the hospital is low, we are not like other medical staff going from room to room.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stated in its most recent (March 10) recommendations for infection control:
"If restriction of all visitors is implemented, facilities can consider exceptions based on end-of-life situations or when a visitor is essential for the patient’s emotional well-being and care".
AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses) has been quoted on doula care during COVID-19 as:
“AWHONN opposes hospital policies that restrict the presence of a doula in the inpatient setting during an infection disease outbreak”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) joint statement: Obstetric Care Consensus: Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery says this about the effect of labor support:
“Published data indicates that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.” “…the presence of continuous one-on-one support during labor and delivery was associated with improved patient satisfaction and a statistically significant reduction in the rate of cesarean delivery.”
Thank you for your time and we look forward to collaborating with you.
Alaska Birth Collective Founders
Morgan Turner, President
Shanna Switzer, Vice President
Jamie Scearcy, Secretary
The Alaska Birth Collective
P.O. Box 771335
Eagle River, AK 99577
CONTACT YOUR GOVERNOR, REPRESENTATIVES, PLACE OF BIRTH, & CARE PROVIDERS TODAY.
THE ALASKA BIRTH COLLECTIVE WELCOMES YOU
The Alaska Birth Collective was established as a resource for Alaskan families during the prenatal, birth and postpartum period. We are a non-profit, community based, volunteer organization that helps educate, empower and support childbearing women and their families. Our mission is to support parents and care providers by providing information, education, and advocacy for Mother-Friendly care.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
Birth is a normal, healthy process, not an illness or disease. Empowering births can take place in hospitals, birth centers, and homes.
Maternity care should be evidence-based and woman-centered.
We believe women should be leaders in their care, receiving evidence based and accurate information regarding options for pregnancy, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding.
Women have a right to make health care decisions for themselves and their babies. That right includes Informed Consent as well as Informed Refusal.
WHAT WE DO
We offer support, education, information, and advocacy for families during the childbearing years. We host community events, educational workshops, and support meetings for new and expecting parents. We offer training and professional development opportunities for care providers in our area.
Make Your Mark
PARTNER WITH US
Our organization always appreciates the generosity and involvement of people like you, with every contribution going towards making The Alaska Birth Collective an even better Women Empowerment Non-Profit Organization than it already is. We want to provide you with the correct and appropriate information pertaining to your mode of support, so don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.
VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME
This is one of the simplest ways to help out our cause. We believe the best way for our initiatives to be successful is for the community to actively get involved. This is an easy and efficient way of contributing to the great work we do at The Alaska Birth Collective. Get in touch with any questions about how you can Volunteer Your Time today.
MAKE A DONATION
Want to join our efforts but not sure where to start? Make a Donation and take advantage of this incredible opportunity to lend your support. It’s a great way to contribute to our cause, and every little bit counts towards paving the path for a better tomorrow. Get in touch with us today for more details about how you can help.
I am a Certified Childbirth Educator, and DONA trained doula. I have lived in Alaska for 20 years and am married to a lifelong Alaskan. I am a mom to 4 sweet babies, ages 3 to 18 years.
I believe birth is a normal process. Moms should be supported in their birth choices. I believe an informed birth is an empowered birth. Education and support are key to achieving your desired birth goals. I am excited to have the opportunity to build our birth community up and support our local mamas and families.
A lifelong Alaskan, Shanna grew up in the Fairbanks area, and moved to Anchorage in 1997. She and her husband Nate have four children, and work together full time in real estate sales as The Switzer Team.
A passionate encourager of supported motherhood from preconception to postpartum, Shanna provided prenatal and birth support as a certified doula and childbirth educator for over a dozen years, which was wonderfully rewarding to her both personally and professionally. She is so honored and pleased to maintain connection to the birth world through ABC.
I am a mother of three, a military spouse, a VBAC mom, and a doula. After having my own healing birth experience with the support of a doula, I knew that’s what I needed to be doing. For that reason, I became a birth doula in 2013. I have learned women are empowered in birth when they are supported, informed, and are leaders in their own care.
I believe that every woman deserves to have a safe and satisfying birth experience, and that experience may look different for each one of us. I am excited to be a part of an organization which focuses on supporting families in a respectful and evidence-based way, and I am dedicated to bringing all my talents and experience to the board, network and community as a whole. I know there is so much more we can do as a society to care for mothers, babies, and families.
Katie is a practicing Certified Public Accountant in Alaska and specializes in non-profit and governmental accounting for over 10 years. She works with numerous non-profit entities across the state and brings that wealth of knowledge through her role as board development chair at ABC. Being the token "non-birth worker", Katie enjoys the paperwork side of things, helping to ensure the proverbial ducks are in a row as a growing organization. Katie joined ABC after experiencing the benefits of a doula which opened the doors to a world of education on birthing and mothering during her first pregnancy. She lives in Anchorage with her husband Greg, and two young boys, Frank and Noah.
ERINN DIRTH, DC
Dr. Erinn is a born and raised Alaskan committed to raising the level of health in the Anchorage community.
Bethany is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner from SoCal, and a new mom.