Doulas want back in to the delivery room. but Cleveland’s major hospital systems are reluctant

Updated: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:11 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Doulas here in the state of Ohio are trying to change hospital policies that will allow them back into the delivery room during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Emma Whitlock has gotten used to serving her patients virtually, during the coronavirus pandemic, but she says this can’t go on.

“It has put a restriction on which hospitals we can walk through and follow them all the way through birth,” said Whitlock, owner of The Womb Within.

Whitlock tells 19 News they believe they are essential to many families and their birthing process. Doulas have been providing care through Zoom, FaceTime and even social media.

“For the families that had already hired doulas before this even started, that is a huge traumatic thing to happen that they weren’t expecting at all,” she said. “Especially for a mom who’s used one before and knows she needs that physical touch.”

She understands the concern, but says with the state slowly reopening, it’s time.

“We understand why precautions were put into place but it’s really affecting families and birth outcomes,” said Whitlock.

That’s why she and other doulas are taking action. They started a petition on demanding officials “Allow Doulas Back In The Delivery Room.”

There were more than 2,200 signatures at the time of the 19 News broadcast.

Whitlock tells 19 News Summa and MetroHealth have allowed doulas back inside. We reached out to University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic to find out where they stand.

The Cleveland Clinic provided this statement to 19 News:

“We continue to adapt during the pandemic in order to provide the safest care for our patients while protecting our caregivers. This remains our top priority. To support our patients during delivery, each patient is permitted one visitor. Patients are able to access doula services virtually.”

University Hospitals provided this statement to 19 News:

“At University Hospitals, maternity visitors are limited to the same one adult. The one adult visitor can be a doula; however, a patient cannot have a doula plus a significant other. "

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