ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Having a second child was always in the books for Anna Yates and her husband, Cortney.
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Having him in the middle of a global pandemic, though, wasn’t part of the plan.
“My doula called me the day before I was 39 weeks and said, 'Hey, I overheard the hospital isn’t even letting doulas in the room anymore.’ And that was just the biggest concern, like lack of support. Like how am I supposed to give birth if I don’t even have my support people there helping me through it," said Yates.
One week from her due date, Anna scrapped her plan to have her son at the hospital, instead, opting for the Birth Center of St. Pete.
And given the circumstances with coronavirus, she’s not alone.
“I would say it’s doubled the calls that we get, at least,” said Jessica Willoughby, licensed midwife.
Willoughby, who owns the Birth Center of St. Pete, says last year, they delivered 82 babies in the center.
This year so far, they’ve already delivered more than 30.
“We know support people at labor improves outcomes, so coming into an environment where there aren’t restrictions on the number of support people that you can have at your birth can help you have a safer birth. And then also not being in a shared space with sick patients,” said Willoughby.
Yates was able to have her doula and husband, along with a midwife and student midwife, all there to support her through her delivery.
So even though it wasn’t the original plan, she feels like it turned out to be the right plan, explaining how she feels being back in the room where she had her son two and a half weeks ago.
“Just joy. Just a lot of joy,” said Yates.
The Birth Center of St. Pete is accepting any qualifying mothers-to-be, regardless of which stage of pregnancy they are in.
Even with state hospitals now easing some restrictions, many are still limiting delivery room visitors to one person.
Your best bet is to check your local hospital first to get to most up-to-date rules.