As we know, COVID is currently surging throughout the greater Tampa Bay area. As such, visitor policies at local hospitals are frequently changing.
So, which local hospitals are permitting doulas to support labor and delivery patients right now?
First, we should note that professional doulas are not the same as “visitors.” Doulas are essential members of the healthcare team. It is our position that doulas should be permitted at all birth facilities, regardless of restrictions in place for visitation. Laboring patients shouldn’t be forced to choose between their partner and doula. Unfortunately, not all hospital administrators agree with us.
In light of recent changes, we contacted the hospitals listed below directly.
On the positive side, here’s a list of hospitals permitting 2 (or more) support people for labor and delivery as of August 17, 2021.
(Please note, that these policies can and likely will change. Call your hospital directly if you have any questions.)
- Tampa General Hospital – We’re big fans of the team at TGH labor and delivery and here’s more about that. Two support people are permitted. Pregnant people can rest and relax in the knowledge that they’ll get the support they need.
- Lakeland Regional Medical Center – Two support people AND a doula. Kudos to the awesome team here.
- Oak Hill Hospital – “Doulas aren’t visitors!” they proudly told us, and aren’t counted in visitor policies, meaning that certified doulas are always welcome.
- St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital – Two support people are permitted in labor and delivery.
- St. Joseph’s South Hospital- Two support people are permitted in labor and delivery.
- St. Joseph’s North Hospital – Two support people are permitted in labor and delivery.
- Morton Plant Hospital – Two support people are permitted in labor and delivery.
- Mease Countryside Hospital – Two support people are permitted in labor and delivery.
- Brandon Regional Hospital – Two support people are permitted in labor and delivery.
- Medical Center of Trinity – Two support people are permitted in labor and delivery.
Here’s a list of hospitals only permitting one visitor in labor and delivery at this time:
- Advent Health Tampa
- Advent Health Wesley Chapel
- Bayfront BabyPlace
- Sarasota Memorial
- St. Pete General Hospital
Surprisingly, a couple of our birth doula clients have been able to successfully receive exceptions to the restrictions. So, you should absolutely call and request that your doula be permitted as an essential member of your birth team.
What if your birth doula cannot be present due to facility restrictions?
If you’ve exhausted all efforts and not been able to get an exception, your doula can support you virtually. While not exactly the same as in person support, virtual birth doula support can and has been very beneficial to our clients and their families.
Wait, virtual birth doula support is a thing??!!!???
Yes. Virtual birth doula support at Buddha Belly Doulas begins during pregnancy. Once in labor, your doula will virtually “join” you via phone, text, or Facetime. Then, she will provide continuous support to you and your partner throughout your labor and baby’s birth. She’ll also continue to be available to you in your immediate postpartum recovery. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our professional and experienced doulas learned to pivot (with the rest of the world) and honed their craft in this new form of doula-ing.
In the event that your birth facility restricts the number of support people you may, consider adding a virtual birth doula to your team. Contact us to learn more about this option!