What We Strive to Be
The Utah Doula Association provides continuing education, community support, and marketing opportunities to doulas. We strive to elevate the role of a doula by fostering professional relationships, building community awareness, and providing a space for mentorship through networking and connection. We strive to be a community where birth workers can collaborate on topics of interest, such as social justice or bringing doula work to under-served populations.
Statement on Hospital Policies
As COVID cases have peaked in Utah, our hearts go out to all of those affected by the rise in infections and case numbers. We are mindful of those who are sick, those who have lost loved ones throughout the course of this pandemic, and those whose livelihood has been compromised.
Members of the board of directors of the Utah Doula Association (UDA) are grateful to the hospitals and staff who have done everything in their power for the wellbeing of the communities and families of Utah. We recognize the actions they have taken to save lives and reduce the spread of infections. We thank those in hospital organizations who have made it possible for doulas to continue to enter hospitals and attend births.
Evidence affirms that doulas make a tremendous impact in the birth experiences and outcomes of our clients by providing continuous labor support. Doula support has been shown to decrease Cesarean rates by 39%, the rate of low five-minute Apgar scores by 38%, and the incidence of being dissatisfied with a birth experience by 31%, among other positive impacts (Dekker, 2021). Doulas are an evidence-based means for improving the experiences of birthing families.
The UDA board would like to bring attention to some hospitals’ current policy restrictions that prevent many experienced, trained doulas from supporting birthing families by requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Many doulas are unable to receive the vaccine or booster for a variety of reasons. In some cases, their current vaccination status does not require a booster, and others have medical and religious exemptions. These doulas are committed professionals who now are faced with uncertainty regarding whether they will be able to support the families they have spent months building relationships with.
The UDA supports measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as washing hands, not attending births while symptomatic, wearing masks, and other precautions. Policies set to reduce the infection risk of COVID-19 can be evidence-based and in the best interest of patients. It is in the best interest of both the overwhelmed hospital system and the birth community that more options are explored. In hospitals where proof of COVID vaccination is required, a negative COVID test could be considered as an alternative.
The UDA encourages families that are affected by these changes to contact their hospitals and express their concerns and/or support. The best advocates for the birth community are the families themselves. We ask birthing families and doulas who would like to share their voice about these policies to do so prudently and thoughtfully. Your experiences and thoughts on the matter are important, valid, and need to be heard. For assistance finding a facility’s contact information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We love the birth community in Utah and have hope for its brightest future. We believe that doula support is an integral part of that bright future. We will continue to support families to receive the care they need and deserve alongside the staff of hospital teams.
Dekker R. Evidence on: Doulas. Evidence Based Birth®. https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/, Published July 5, 2021. Accessed February 14, 2022.