This past year of the COVID-19 pandemic has been isolating for us all—especially for expecting and new parents. When you’re getting ready to welcome a new life, you picture family celebrations and community support….not lockdowns and limits on who can accompany you to your 20-week ultrasound.
So much of the way we care for and support people in the perinatal period has shifted thanks to the pandemic. More people are exploring out-of-hospital birth. Online childbirth education is becoming the norm. Telehealth is a booming business. Doulas have shifted to online support.
And while we definitely acknowledge that the loss of hands-on, high-touch support is real, we also think the rise of virtual support from doulas, pregnancy coaches, and other professional and community support people can be a powerful force for change in American maternity care. Here’s why.
Virtual support has opened up the pool of people you can work with. Before, if you were looking to work with a doula, you’d choose someone in your local area. Maybe there was someone you loved and clicked with, maybe not. But with virtual support, the pool has expanded exponentially.
Planning a VBAC but don’t have a VBAC-experienced doula you adore in your city? Consult with one virtually! Looking for an Evidence-Based Birth childbirth class? Take one online! Looking for a BIPOC doula who shares your cultural background, language, customs, and beliefs? Hire one as a pregnancy coach.
You can now work with the same fertility coach your best friend from high school used—even though she lives 3000 miles away. You can text with a trained and trusted professional who gets you, your concerns, and your goals—on your time and your own schedule. You have your pick of hundreds of professionals with diverse backgrounds, histories, training, and specialties.
And in this new digital normal, you can also more easily find a doula, coach, or other support people who fit in your budget. This is a big boon to families, as new babies also come along with new costs.
Of course, more choice can also breed more indecision or overwhelm. But it also opens you up to find the support that will truly fit you and your needs.
It’s now possible to connect with the perfect support person for you at the click of a mouse or whoosh of a sent text message. The platforms of Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Meet are building connections and relationships across the miles, making quality perinatal education and dedicated support vastly more accessible to new parents everywhere.
Online perinatal therapist appointments can work better for busy moms struggling with childcare or scheduling issues. On-demand childbirth classes are more convenient if you have a partner who works nights. If you’re struggling with lactation and can meet with an IBCLC right away on your phone (vs having to take your newborn and your tired postpartum body out of the house to an in-person appointment), your latch issues might be fixed earlier.
Virtual support is truly unmatched for ease, speed, comfort, and accessibility—aspects that really matter to new parents during the childbearing year.
Better 360-degree support—from positive test to postpartum
The ability to support yourself with classes, planning, doula support, coaching, and postpartum care virtually means that you’re setting yourself up for a better pregnancy, birth, and newborn experience as a whole.
With virtual support, you can connect with a support person early in your pregnancy and build the relationship as your baby and belly grow. Earlier access to support, education, and options mean a better experience and a better outcome.
From conception right on through lactation and the first year of life, the accessibility of virtual support offers you the continuity you desire and deserve. We’re talking about the full circle, the whole package, the virtual village. Your own personal virtual village, one handpicked to help you feel seen, heard, and centered on this crazy ride of parenthood.