FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Pregnancy looks a little different and maybe more difficult during COVID-19.
Katie Keyser's first child is due in two weeks, and there's one person she wants by her side, but that can't happen right now.
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That person is her doula, Kirsten Lane.
Keyser says, "She's not just a visitor, she's someone that's very knowledgeable. She's someone that will be by me the entire time."
Indiana's stay at home order doesn't consider doulas "essential personnel," so they're not allowed into hospitals during delivery as of now.
Stephanie VanderHorst, a certified midwife in Auburn, says, "Doulas should be recognized as an essential part of the healthcare team. They are a direct support person to the laboring woman as well as her family."
But the Indiana State Health Department hasn't yet made that distinction.
Shanna Bradley, a doula of Journey Birth & Wellness, says, "We provide four basic things. Physical, educational, emotional and advocacy support. And we do that consistently throughout the whole pregnancy."
Being considered just a 'visitor' was hurtful to Bradley and Lane, advocates for the Doula Network of Fort Wayne.
Kellie Bailey, also a doula and member of the network, says, "We're not just coming to hold a hand."
Bailey says holding a hand is important too, but wants others to know a doula's purpose is more prominent than what meets the eye.
Kirsten Lane started a petition to grant doulas allowance into hospitals again within the state of Indiana.
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