Delivery room restrictions force expecting mothers to choose between spouse or doula

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- Rather than having the comfort of family surroundings while giving birth, many soon-to-be mothers are dealing with the stress of only being allowed one support person in the delivery room under hospital visitor restriction policies.

"I don't know what's going to happen," said military wife Katiya Tovar. "Is my husband going to be allowed? Is my doula1 going to be allowed?

It's a decision she never thought she'd have to make. The military wife is seven-months-pregnant with her third child and is set to give birth at Womack Army Medical Center in June. Her husband has been unable to attend her checkups because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Area hospitals including Womack are only allowing women in labor to have one support person in the delivery room.

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"We're going to stay at home as long as we can, but when it does come time to go to the hospital, I'll just have to bring my husband," said Tovar.

Birth and postpartum doula, Aida Algarin said most of her clients, including Tovar, are military wives who are in the same boat of having to modify birth plans.

"Many of us have had to switch virtual support during the labor process," said Algarin. "We're also preparing our clients that they may not have anyone by their side if this continues."

According to Algarin, this can be traumatic for new moms who have spent time building relationships with their doulas.

"We'll just try to instill encouragement and as much comfort as we can during this time," said Algarin.

It's that kind of support that clients like Tovar need in the delivery room.

"I'm just going to be talking to her through Facetime and getting her to coach my husband on things that she would be doing for me for pain relief," said Tovar.
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