A “Virtual Village” during COVID-19 restrictions
Even in normal times, the information available for expectant and new parents to engage with can feel overwhelming. With the current COVID-19 situation the amount of information has exploded – and carefully prepared plans may need to be adapted.
At ATB&B we are fans of the saying “it takes a village”. With physical distancing restrictions in place, it may be harder to create that village – or you may need to supplement components of your plan you were hoping family members would provide.
Our goal when we set up ATB&B was to lessen the impact of information overload on expectant and new parents in the Greater Seattle Area, by putting all the information about how to create “your village” in one place.
With the support of our providers we plan to share updates in this blog to help you as you research and plan for birth and infant care during COVID-19 restrictions.
Clinical and trade organizations have recommendations at this time, and we defer to them for specific COVID-19 best practices.
The one recommendation we would make is to remember you are not alone in this. Your providers are experts in their areas, and how they are changing due to current circumstances. They should be partners in helping you navigate a different, but still joyful, intense and transformative, experience.
Prenatal Services during COVID-19 restrictions
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has excellent resources for expectant parents at this time, and we recommend reading the information at this link.
One recommendation ACOG makes is that “it is a good idea to call your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional to ask how your visits may be changed”. If you don’t yet have a provider for your prenatal health care needs, you can find a list of local providers here.
ACOG also recommends continuing to eat healthily, avoid alcohol and drugs, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly – though being mindful of physical distancing.
Local prenatal fitness providers are helping with the latter aspect. For example, we heard from Aditi Yoga | Wellness about live-streaming prenatal yoga classes. If yoga isn’t your thing, you can find other options here.
If you require a different level of support for your health, services like Chiropractic for pregnant women are still an option. We heard from Dr. Michelle Law at Catalyst Health Studio who told us how they are providing virtual visits to support people in answering questions, recommending at-home care, assessing ergonomics and movement, as well as teaching Foundational Spinal Movement Classes online in small groups (up to 4-5). They are also still open provisionally for urgent/acute/emergency chiropractic care visits as an essential service, though with extra screening, separation and sanitizing. You can find other bodywork options here.
Mental Health is another key component during pregnancy. Whole Body Pregnancy is offering Movement and Mindfulness online sessions starting April 12th for 4 weeks. The cost is $20 for the 4 weeks and for support via text during the rest of your pregnancy. Reach out via Facebook for more information.
Birth Classes also tend to be top of mind for expectant parents. Although these classes are often held in-person normally, to enable a communal connection, many classes either already were or are now available as virtual learning.
For example, our friends at Seattle Hypnobirthing have moved online, adapting for a warm online classroom, with ample demonstrations to ensure mastery of techniques. They also offer one-to-one connections between classes as needed.
Birthing from Within classes are also available online via Heart of Birth. Their 6 class group sessions are held via Zoom from 5:30 to 8:00pm, Tuesday and Thursday, for three weeks.
You can even find support for multiples online. We heard from Marloes Koning at Twin Love Concierge that their 4/18 and 5/30 Expecting Twins Class will now be offered via Zoom video call.
For other prenatal services, please check our full listings.
Childbirth Services during COVID-19 restrictions
Changes or restrictions affecting birth locations have received a lot of attention locally, nationally and internationally at this time.
That is an extreme example, but ACOG does note more generally that “Your hospital or birth center may be adjusting their policies. For example, there may be changes to the number of visitors allowed and how long you will stay in the hospital. Check with your hospital and ob-gyn or other health care professional about your birth plan. Be sure to mention if you are planning to have a doula with you during childbirth.”
This aspect of necessary adaptation of birth planning is one that is causing a lot of anxiety – and where we at ATB&B recommend connecting with providers to obtain their professional opinion and information directly. Labor support partners help with informed self-advocacy during birth, and organizations like DONA International are working to enable the continuation of that type of support with their Providers.
There has been growing media interest in home birth at this time. Again, ATB&B recommend connecting with providers to obtain their professional opinion and information directly, as there are general best practices and regulations surrounding home birth, particularly with high-risk pregnancies. If you do decide with your providers that a home birth is right for you at this time, our directory contains information about home birth support and birth supply rental.
For other Childbirth services, please see our full listings.
Postpartum, Early Parenting and Baby Services during COVID-19 restrictions
Although birth location and regulations have had the most media interest, postpartum needs are central to the thoughts of many providers.
The postpartum period can hold challenges even at the best of times – now that new parents lack the connection with family and friends, additional needs are likely to arise.
Perinatal Support Washington has a number you can call if you need support 1-888-404-7763. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. The “warmline” is open to new Moms and new Dads, and is staffed by parents who have experienced a perinatal mood and/or anxiety disorder and has recovered fully, or licensed therapist with specialized training in perinatal mental health.
Postpartum Doulas also provide a number of services that support perinatal mental health. Although they often include in-person aspects, we heard from a number of doulas who are offering virtual models of support for new parents.
Mary Killeen Peña at West Seattle Doula reminded us that new parents know all about social isolation at the best of times – and that the new parent experience has only been made more difficult by the global pandemic. Mary says that “Helping create a plan to cope with the loneliness and lack of social support is why doulas exist!” You can contact her via the “Let’s Talk” page on her site to learn more or ask questions. Mary is offering postpartum support virtually, including emotional support, newborn care information, postpartum healing information, meal planning, and lactation support via video call on Zoom (it’s free to sign-up and download).
We also heard from Alexia Cameron Postpartum Doula Services. Alexia is conducting virtual support sessions only, via Zoom online meeting, telephone/email, or a combination of whatever works for you. Virtual packages cover topics such as emotional and mental health support, postpartum and logistical planning, lactation, feeding, and sleep assessments, educational materials, and referrals to other resources.
If you feel you need the support of a therapist at this time, we heard from Carol Pendleton at Here to There Therapy. Carol has trained as a Perinatal Mental Health Specialist, with a focus in treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Breastfeeding has also come up a lot in media discussions, and has specific reference in CDC guidelines. ACOG references these guidelines also when stating “Talk with your ob-gyn or other health care professional about whether to start or continue breastfeeding. You can make this decision together with your family and health care team.”
If you and your team decide to breastfeed, support is available virtually – and has been available virtually for some time. We heard from Renee Beebe, an IBCLC lactation consultant, who has been offering virtual consultations worldwide for over 10 years! If you need a prenatal breastfeeding class or having trouble with any aspect of breastfeeding or pumping, Renee can help – and her website, www.second9months.com, has details. Renee is an Aetna provider and most Aetna plans are committed to covering virtual lactation visits. Other insurance plans may also be reimbursing for telehealth – so be sure to check with your insurance if that is a consideration for you
We also heard from Catherine Fenner, IBCLC – a Lactation Consultant at Nurture New Life, offering comprehensive and compassionate lactation care and feeding support, who has virtual consultation options.
Sleep consulting is another popular service for new parents. In what might be a surprise to some parents, we heard from Macall Gordon at That First Year LLC about how most of her services are delivered remotely, via Zoom, Skype, and email. That makes sleep coaching more generally accessible than parents may assume – and certainly makes it a viable option at this time.
Exercise and Wellness practitioners that we mentioned in our prenatal section above, such as Aditi Yoga | Wellness and Catalyst Health Studio, also often provide postnatal fitness options. Check them out, alongside other options, in our full listings.
Of additional Baby Services, one key area is Diaper Services. Our friends at Baby Diaper Service are continuing to deliver freshly laundered cloth diapers each week, allowing new parents to stay home and avoid additional trips to the store. They are adhering to the no contact delivery and maintaining proper distancing when they do interact.
Carrie Pollak from Diaper Stork also got in touch with us. They are open for new and existing customers and providing a virtual cloth diaper Q&A on April 21st. With families at home, now may also be a great time to think about potty training. Diaper Stork offer free elimination communication and toddler potty training classes.
We will keep this blog updated as we receive additional information from providers.
Stay Home and Stay Healthy – but know that providers can still provide the support you need as you plan for birth and infant care!
You are not alone!
Parents: We are featuring providers on this blog as they share information with us. If your provider is not featured here please check with them to get information about their approach at this time.
Providers: If you have updated service offerings you wish to share with parents, please email the information to email@example.com.