Pacific Association of Labor Support | Supporting the Professional Doula since 1989
UW Valley Hospital
ATTN: Stacey DeMaranville, Director of Mother Baby
ATTN: Rich Rudman, CEO
4445 Talbot Rd S, Renton, WA 98055
Dear Ms. DeMaranville and UW Valley Administration,
On behalf of my doula colleagues and expectant families in the Puget Sound area; we at PALS Doulas are writing to express our deep disappointment and concern about the updated visitor policy announced to be effective December 14, 2020. In that policy obstetric patients are limited to one support person. This change effectively eliminates professional birth doula support for patients in labor. Having seen this conversation recently at both Overlake and the University of Washington system revised to include doula support, we respectfully as you to consider. To date, all other hospital systems in the greater Seattle area are still including doulas as members of the care team. We believe there is value in the additional comfort and support that comprises the heart of doulas work, and that when doulas are included as members fo the care team; the families we collectively support win. Doula work is social justice work. By excluding doulas, we believe that these policy changes will negatively impact the most vulnerable populations.
Governor Jay Inslee, in his March 23, 2020 proclamation, designated doulas as essential health workers in the Healthcare/Public Health Sector Profile, bullet 2:
“Health care providers and caregivers (e.g., physicians, dentists, psychologists, mid-level practitioners, nurses and assistants, infection control and quality assurance personnel, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and assistants, midwives and DOULAS (emphasis added) attending facility-based or home-based births, alternative healthcare providers, social workers, speech pathologists, and diagnostic and therapeutic technicians and technologists).”
We applaud and thank you for your dedication to protecting the lives of healthcare workers and the public. As fellow essential workers, we understand the seriousness of COVID19, but believe this change in policy will cause lasting trauma. Many expecting families are terrified in the current environment and lack the extended family and community support they otherwise would have. Denying birthing families access to the support of their choosing negatively impacts their birth outcomes, immediate and long-term.
Nationally, an estimated 6% of birthing families choose doula support (Listening to Mothers Survey, 2018), though locally we estimate that utilization rate to be 2-2.5x higher. In 2019, 3,150 deliveries took place at UW Valley (hca.wa.gov 2019 Preliminary Delivery Statistics). With an estimated utilization rate of even 10%, that equates to 300 doula supported births. 300 doula supported births seems a small number relative to the control of the pandemic but means everything to these families.
When we learned of the University of Washington proposing this policy, we circulated a petition that gathered over 1000 signatures signed by doulas, perinatal professionals, and existing and expecting families. We ask that you reconsider it.
The jury has been back on the positive impact of doulas on birth satisfaction and improved outcomes for 30+ years. From research articles, scholarly reviews, recommendations from ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) as well current pregnancy and parent magazines, doulas are here to stay. Check out what they have to say.
PALS is the original doula organization dedicated to the development of the professional doula. Our goal is to doula you on your professional path and connect you with a rich and diverse community for ongoing support and skill development.
For other birth professionals, being a PALS Doula means community, development, and accountability to our organizational guidelines.
PALS Doulas (formerly the Pacific Association of Labor Support) have been supporting birthing families in the community since 1989. We continue that tradition by connecting you with our many available certified and certifying doulas.
All doulas listed on this website are members in good standing with current, active certification or pursing certification with PALS Doulas.
“While the doula probably knows more than the partner about birth, hospitals and maternity care, the partner knows more about the birthing person’s personality, likes, dislikes and needs. Moreover, the partner loves the birthing person more than anyone else there. The combination of partner and doula, along with a caring staff gives the birthing person the best chance of an optimal outcome.”
-Penny Simkin, author of The Birth Partner
Request a Doula
Are you looking for a doula? Click here to complete a simple form and we will send available PALS Doulas name and contact information to YOU
We’ve been connecting and supporting doulas for 30 years. We are here to answer your questions. help you find the right training for you, and assist you in certifying.
We are committed to removing barriers to and increasing accessibility to membership and certification with PALS Doulas for ALL Doulas in Washington State regardless of training organizations; as such we offer a variety of full and partial scholarships. Click below to apply or to donate in support of PALS Doulas. As a 501(c)6 organization we are sustained through the support of our members (via membership and certification fees) and generous support of community members.
“Only with trust, faith, and support can the birthing person allow the birth experience to enlighten and empower them. Thier strongest feelings [in terms of their birthings], positive and negative, focus on the way they were treated by their caregivers.”
-Penny Simkin and Annie Kennedy, PALS Founders
We’re committed to providing a safe place for everyone to grow, birth, and find their best health. By caring for you and your family we strive to help prepare you for the transition to parenthood and the new addition to your family.
All people and families are welcome. We’d be honored to be a part of your journey.
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