In today’s episode, we talk with Heidi Snyderburn-Campbell, birth doula and author of Birth Story, a pregnancy guidebook and journal (https://www.birthstory.com/the-workbook-landing-page). She is also the host of the Birth Story Podcast (https://www.birthstory.com/the-podcast). We begin with Heidi recounting her first experiences assisting in birth and how she became a doula.
We then talk about birth law in North Carolina, from Heidi’s understanding, and how births with doulas have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic there. We break down virtual doula services when hospitals don’t admit doulas into the birth space. Heidi shares her processes for adapting to virtual doula services. We discuss different hospital policies for admitting doulas into the birth space during a pandemic. We then talk about how to rock your hospital birth once doulas are again allowed into the birth space, which we think will happen soon.
Heidi talks more abut her book, Birth Story, whose purpose is to inform and educate parents on the entire pregnancy process. Included in the book is a step-by-step guide to all of the standard hospital policies and procedures, as well as an explanation of the reasons, pros, and cons for each. We talk about how birth plans, if properly filed and if the mom and the baby are healthy, can be used as legally binding documents to oppose anything that detours from your wishes. We then finish by summarizing everything that should go into your prenatal preparation.
• 1:04 Heidi’s Story
• 7:42 Birth Laws in NC; Tips for Virtual Doulas; Hospital Policy During Pandemic
• 30:55 How to Rock Your Hospital Birth
• 53:46 Prenatal Preparation
For years, most states in the U.S. have had laws in place that restrict the ways in which birth workers like Midwives and Doulas are able to assist mothers who want to have "non-standard" birth conditions (home birth, water birth, unmedicated, VBAC, etc.). One of the surprisingly positive effects of COVID-19 has been a push in innovation for how doulas especially can operate, especially when their clients are trying to birth outside of the hospital. There is still a long way to go, but greater demand for a wider array of services is doing a lot to expand options for every sort of birth plan.
Sarah and Heidi explore how doula work is adapted to operate within the law and the hospital system, as well as how virtual doula work has opened up a lot more options for home labor and advocacy for birthing parents. They also take a critical look at how birth is handled in the medical system and how a doula can help to uphold a mother's wishes while she is in labor.
Heidi is a veteran birth doula, author of Birth Story, and the host of the Birth Story Podcast. She has been a doula for 16 years and has recently begun offering her services virtually to meet the needs that have arisen due to COVID.