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Doula birth helpers barred from delivery room over Covid-19

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (File photograph)

Specialists helpers for expectant mothers will not be allowed to attend births at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital until the risk of coronavirus transmission dropped.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board said that guidelines for “designated support people” who could attend births and visit mothers in the maternity unit were unchanged.

But a spokeswoman added: “In order to minimise the number of people from the community in the maternity department, BHB is returning to the guidance earlier this year relating to doulas not attending births until the risks of transmission have once more declined.”

The BHB spokeswoman said: “Current guidelines allow for one designated support person to attend the birth and stay for up to eight hours afterwards.

“For mothers who have to stay in maternity for more than 24 hours, that designated support person can visit up to four hours a day between 10am and 6pm.”

Doulas offer physical and emotional support to mothers before, during and after childbirth.

Granville Russell, the BHB’s director of maternal child, said: “A birth is such a precious experience and as much as possible we want to allow the mother and her designated support person to be together throughout and after the birth.

“However, we also have to recognise that the rising numbers of people testing positive for Covid-19 means everyone entering maternity brings an additional risk to mothers, babies and staff.

“We will continue to closely monitor the prevalence of Covid-19, and when the risks decline again, we look forward to welcoming doulas back for mothers who want their support.”

Pregnant women were reminded that they can use free wi-fi to make video calls, send messages and e-mail friends and family while they are in the maternity department.

Mr Russell said: “We will do all we can to support and care for mother and newborns in the maternity department.

“We recognise these are stressful times.

“Our guidelines will likely change in the coming months based on the risks of exposure rising or declining in the community.”

He said that expectant mothers or their supporter could call the maternity department at any time if they have questions.

A virtual tour of the maternity department is available on the maternity page of the BHB website or through its YouTube channel.

In person tours were suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Maternity guidelines are at bermudahospitals.bm.

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Published December 14, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 14, 2020 at 7:56 am)

Doula birth helpers barred from delivery room over Covid-19

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