Coronavirus: Pregnant women forced to choose between partner or doula in delivery room

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Many expectant moms are rethinking their birth plan due to the novel coronavirus. With only one person allowed in the delivery room with them, the decision isn't an easy one.

Alina Shinkarsky could give birth at any moment.

"Big bump, ready to go," said Shinkarsky.

Shinkarsky and her husband Alex Rybak will be first-time parents.

A monumental moment that Rybak might have to sit out.

"How do you tell your partner that I love you but I'm so sorry I prefer someone else in the delivery room with me for the birth of your first child," said Shinkarsky.

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Due to COVID-19, Shinkarsky can only bring one person into the delivery room.

"I definitely would love to be there but I feel like practically speaking if we have to choose one of us it probably makes more sense for the doula for Jen because she's actually medically trained," said Rybak.

Doula Jen Darwin provides emotional support to women giving birth as well as physical support like massage and acupressure.

"It's kind of like having your best friend there with you who also knows all the ins and outs of labor and birth," said Darwin.

Darwin says it's been especially difficult for all the families she's working with to decide who will be mom's plus one.

"Having couples to make that decision is not something we were considering even a few weeks ago," said Darwin.

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"It's breaking our hearts across the doula community and all the midwives right now," Darwin continued.

Shinkarsky says it could be her husband after all.

"Maybe Alex will come to the hospital with me and Jen will be on WhatsApp or like on a video, on Zoom on something," said Shinkarsky.

"Yeah, it's going to be a virtual birth in some way," said Darwin.

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