Mothers using alternative birthing plans during COVID-19
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The surge in COVID-19 patients caused many hospitals to limit visitors for maternity patients. For many mothers, this did not fit their ideal birthing experience.
“A lot of people want more than one person or two people involved in their birthing experience,” says Jordan Miles, midwife and owner of With Women Midwifery. “They want family. They want that support. They want their dulas, and their birth support people.”
Miles is a certified midwife & home birth facilitator who has been practicing for three years. She is the only midwife serving Dothan and the surrounding areas.
When Miles opened her practice in Oct. 2020, she only expected to see two patients a month. Now, she sees four to six patients a month and half are transitioning from a traditional OB-GYN.
“For low risk moms, just avoiding the hospital exposure where there are sicker people and you’re exposed to more people,” says Miles. “If you see me throughout your pregnancy, and I come to your home birth, you’re just exposed to me and my birth assistant. I have one set of patients in my office at a time...”
Angela Dalton, dula and owner of Mamas Friend Birth Services, says support systems like Dulas offer a special care that is different from a standard nurse or OB-GYN.
“Our job is completely different from nurses,” says Dalton. “We have developed a relationship with our moms for over nine months, and so they have learned to trust us. They want us to be there to support them. So it breaks our heart now when only one support person can be allowed at the hospital.”
Miles says the increase can also be attributed to the recent legalization of midwifery in Alabama.
In 2017, Alabama lawmakers voted to legalize midwifery and issued the first license in 2019, a first in more than 40 years.
“i think there is only right now 20ish homebirth midwives in the state of Alabama,” says Miles. “So my hope is that we can double that or triple that. I am turning moms away because I can only sustain so much a month.”
Overall Miles says, the positive and supportive environment for a mother is what comes first.
“There is so much fear surrounding childbirth,” says Miles. “When they are in a peaceful environment, they feel safe. They know their team. They do so much better.”
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