New Hospital Guidelines – Vaccinated Doula
If you are planning a hospital birth in Oklahoma City, there is a good chance that you have heard about the new changes in visitor policy. Over the summer, doulas were able back into labor and delivery rooms to support their doula families again. Yet, with hospitals experiencing a new rise in Covid, the restrictions have been updated again. As of August 11, 2021 these are the new guidelines.
Current OKC Hospital Covid Visitor Guidelines
Mercy Hospital Covid Visitor Restrictions
On the Mercy website, these are the current guidelines for labor and delivery. This Hospital IS REQUIRING families to hire a vaccinated doula in order to have in-person support during their labor and birth journey.
Labor and Delivery All laboring moms are allowed one designated visitor.
- Policy for midwives and doulas:
- Non-COVID laboring moms: Midwives and doulas will be allowed to come to the unit with a laboring mom as a care team member until mom is delivered and recovered. They are not considered a visitor. Patients cannot have both a midwife and doula in the room at the same time.
- COVID positive laboring moms: Midwives will be allowed to come to the unit with a laboring mom as a care team member until mom is delivered and recovered. They are not considered a visitor. Doulas will not be permitted for COVID positive laboring moms.
- BY SEPTEMBER 30th: Any midwife or doula wishing to come into Mercy as part of the care team must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination per Mercy vaccination policy.
OU Children's Hospital Covid Visitor Restrictions.
On the OU Children’s website, they updated the restrictions on August 6th to the following.
- All patients within Oklahoma Children’s Hospital (including Women’s & Newborn patients) will be allowed UP TO TWO GUESTS over the age of 18 that can visit during the patient’s stay.
- Patient/Visitor screening for COVID-19 at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital will occur at the point-of-service (i.e., clinic, Emergency Department, radiology, etc.) rather than at the building entrance.
Integris & Lakeside Women's Hospital Visitor Restrictions
- Waiting rooms in inpatient settings will be opened on a limited basis (max seating of five).
- Surgery waiting rooms will maintain current occupancy.
- Non-COVID patients will be allowed up to two visitors at a time.
- Visitation will be open 24/7 with limited entry points after hours
What does this mean for Doula Support?
So what do the new changes mean for Oklahoma City Families hoping to have a doula on their birth team? Will families need to hire a vaccinated doula in order to have in-person support? If you are planning on delivering at OU Children’s or an Integris hospital, you currently do not need to change any plans with your doula. I would advise to keep tabs on any upcoming updates.
If you are planning to give birth at Mercy Hospital, you will need to either:
- Make sure your doula has received their Covid-19 vaccine and has their vaccine card with them when going to the hospital.
- If your doula does not wish to receive the vaccine, you will want to make sure that they can provide virtual doula support while you are in labor & delivery.
More Changes could be Coming as Covid-19 numbers increase making a Vaccinated doula necessary for in-person hospital support.
Now that school is back in session, it is predicted that Covid-19 numbers will continue to ascend in Oklahoma City. This will most likely change other hospital guidelines to be more restrictive and/or require doula’s to have their Covid vaccine. This is why I would advise that even if you are not planning to have your baby at Mercy Hospital, that you have a conversation with your doula ahead of time about how/if they can support you if/when restrictions change. Having this conversation early on will probably help prevent expecting parents from worrying about what they will do if things change.
Jenni Jenkins – Sekine is an Oklahoma City Bereavement, Birth, & Postpartum doula who serves her Central Oklahoma community. She is also a midwifery assistant with Holistic Birthing Services and planning to begin her student midwifery journey in 2022.
To learn more about Jenni, please click here.