In the Time of COVID, Babies Are Still Being Born, and Doulas Are More Valuable Than Ever!

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The COVID-19 Pandemic hit the United States suddenly in early 2020 and quickly spread all over the country. As is true all over the world, the pandemic has caused deaths, damage, and despair in every aspect of American Life.

In this presentation for birth and postpartum doulas and other maternity workers, we will examine how the pandemic has caused severe illness, profound loss of life, and, in the United States particularly, has been impossible to contain. We will discuss adjustments in maternity care to maintain safety, and the impact these changes have had on maternity care workers and their clients and families.

The non-clinical support role that doulas play at births and postpartum is well-suited to meet the needs of childbearing people. The challenge is to adapt the role to meet the requirements for safety and containment of the virus, and, as much as possible, to preserve normalcy and parent-infant contact as much as is possible during the very special beginning of the family. Playing that role requires much adjustment and caution on the parts of the doulas, and a high degree of professionalism.

Penny Simkin suggests that the doula, who does not have clinical responsibilities, is well qualified and in an excellent position to address and offer support during the profound emotional reactions experienced by expectant and new parents before, during, and after birth. This may require some modification of the role of the doula, which we will explore during the presentation.

Penny Simkin


Penny is a physical therapist who has specialized in childbirth education and labor support since 1968. She estimates she has prepared over 12,000 women, couples and siblings for childbirth. She has assisted hundreds of women or couples through childbirth as a doula. She is the producer of several birth-related films and is the author of many books and articles on birth for both parents and professionals. Books include The Labor Progress Handbook (2011) with Ruth Ancheta, The Birth Partner (2008) and When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse of Childbearing Women (2004) with Phyllis Klaus. Her latest film is “There’s a Baby: A Film for Children about Birth and the New Baby” (2013).

Besides being one of the Founders of DONA International, she currently serves on several boards of consultants, the Editorial Board of the journal, “Birth”, and serves on the senior faculty at the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations at Bastyr University, which was named in her honor.


Open to view video.
Open to view video.
3 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  2/3 points to pass
3 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  2/3 points to pass
In the Time of COVID, Babies Are Still Being Born, and Doulas Are More Valuable Than Ever! Certificate
1.00 credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 credit  |  Certificate available