We want to keep you informed on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting midwifery care. As the information is rapidly evolving from day to day, please check back to this site for changes as we will be updating it as relevant information becomes available. Please be assured that your midwives are working tirelessly to keep well informed and up to date on the evolving developments and recommendations and will continue to do so.
The safety and wellbeing of you and your growing baby remains our number one priority. We recognize that pregnancy and early postpartum is already a vulnerable time for people and this is especially heightened during a pandemic. If you have concerns or questions about how changes to care are impacting you or your pregnancy please discuss with your midwife. We recognize safety is not only physical, but also emotional and wish to provide you with the same quality of individualized, supportive care. We appreciate that this is a challenging time for all and thank you for your patience and understanding.
UPDATED November 9th, 2021
Covid-19 & Pregnancy
*International evidence seems to show pregnant people with COVID-19 have a low overall risk of becoming severely ill. Though most disease in pregnant people is mild, early Canadian data has shown pregnant people with COVID-19 seem to have an increased risk of being hospitalized and being admitted to intensive care units. COVID-19 is also associated with an increase in preterm births (before the 37th week of pregnancy) in Canada. Most babies born to people with COVID-19 are not admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit, and transmission of the virus from birther to infant is believed to be rare. For more information on COVID-19 and pregnancy, please visit the BCCDC website.
*Vaccination: BC has prioritized pregnant people for COVID-19 vaccine and the Canadian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SOGC), the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and public health experts in B.C. all advise that pregnant and breastfeeding people can be offered the vaccine at any time during pregnancy or breastfeeding. You will make antibodies to fight COVID-19 and these will be passed along to your baby while you are pregnant to protect them from COVID-19. Antibodies will also be in your breast milk and passed on to a baby who is breastfed to protect against COVID-19
*Symptoms of Covid-19 may include fever or chills, extreme fatigue, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, muscle ache/fatigue, headache, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, lack of sense of smell and/or loss of appetite. If you have any of these symptoms, please DO NOT come to clinic. Instead email the clinic so we can reschedule your appointments and you can discuss with your midwife. We are also able to conduct visits virtually or via phone.
*Mild/flu-like symptoms – What should I do?
Please get a Covid test as soon as possible.
Pregnant patients with mild COVID 19+ symptoms should be kept at home in self-isolation. Most people will only experience mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms.
*Severe symptoms – What should I do?
If your condition worsens, and you are unable to breathe effectively or have a fever that cannot be treated with Tylenol, please present to the emergency department at Vancouver General Hospital or St. Paul’s Hospital, let them know your symptoms immediately so they can offer you a covid test and place you safely away from other patients. If you need urgent care, you can call 911.
*If you are ill, you should self-isolate (do not go out) until 10 days after the first symptoms appear and anyone in your household who does not have symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days after you had your first symptoms. All people in BC with symptoms of Covid-19 can now be tested. Please contact 811 or your midwife for further information
WORK ABSENCE & EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
People in quarantine (including those who are not sick and those whose workplace is closed to enforce social distancing), can apply for Employment Insurance Medical Leave. You do not need a medical certificate from your midwife:
Prenatal, Labour, Birth & Post-Partum Care
*In person visits: We are back to offering in person visits, though we still have a flexible option where some visits may be offered virutally or by phone if you are feeling unwell or isolating.
*Please wait outside the clinic, either in your car or in the building foyer, until the clinic midwife calls you to come in for your appointment. This helps us to avoid crowding in our waiting area and maintains social distance.
*While we are still trying to minimize the number of people in our clinic, we are back to welcoming partners to visits. Please leave children at home whenever possible. Newborns are welcome and we do have a separate area if you are needing to stay to feed and/or change your newborn.
*Please wear a face covering or mask when you come into the building and clinic. If you don’t have one, or forgot one, please ask at the front desk and we will provide you with one. Partners will also need to wear a mask at all times.
*Please either sanitize your hands, or wash them with soap and warm water and dry with paper towel, on arriving at the clinic. We provide sanitizer at the entrance.
*It is STRONGLY recommended that you follow current public health guidelines for you and your family at this time. Vaccination is recommended for all and your providers are vaccinated as per public health mandates.
BC WOMEN’S HOSPITAL
*Labour support is limited to two people in addition to a certified doula (See below)
*Your labour support people cannot have symptoms of Covid-19. If your partner/support person develops symptoms of Covid-19, they will be asked to leave and self-isolate at home. In this case, you would be able to have another non-symptomatic person join you for support. Support people are expected to remain masked at all times in common areas and in the room when any staff are present.
*Siblings are now permitted to visit the hospital and require guardian supervision at all times.
*Limiting the number of people at our sites is an important precaution to ensure the safety of all, including our sickest and most vulnerable patients.
*Your midwife will remain the primary care person in labour and birth and will be present at your labour and birth if you require a vacuum, forceps or Caesarean section.
DOULAS Applies to births at BC Women’s Hospital, although many points apply to home birth as well.
*The doula must have recognized doula certification prior to the COVID-19 pandemic declaration, and must provide proof of this when arriving at hospital.
*The doula may provide support during the period of labour and delivery but may not be permitted in the operating room (in the event of a c-section). Doulas will need to be vaccinated against Covid 19.
*The doula must wear a mask/clean scrubs, clean shoes/booties upon arrival at hospital.
*The doula will be screened at entry and must be asymptomatic when they provide support. If they become symptomatic during the admission they will be asked to leave by maternity staff. If the patient is suspect or COVID+, the doula will not be allowed to participate as part of the care team due to risk of exposure.
*Available currently as per usual considerations.
*The midwives are unable to provide home birth if anyone in the home is unwell with COVID-19 symptoms (whether confirmed or clinical) or has been told to self-isolate. In this case, hospital birth is recommended to provide a safer environment for both your midwifery team and you and your baby in the unlikely event of any complications related to Covid-19.
*As always, there will be one midwife attending your labour at home, and another midwife will arrive for the birth. Midwives attending home births will following guidelines for use of personal protective equipment at home births.
*We ask that all support people wear masks throughout the labour and request that unecessary support people wait until after the midwives depart to visit.
POSTPARTUM VISITS*In person visits will be as follows: One visit within the first 48 hours after birth. One additional home visit visit within the first week. Another visit at home day 10-12 postpartum. One visit at 3wks in the clinic. One visit at 6wks in the clinic for discharge. We will attempt to do any additional postpartum visits by phone, however we will consider further in-person visits for urgent clinical concerns.
RMs are unable to provide home visits if anyone in the household is unwell with COVID-19 symptoms (whether confirmed or clinical) or has been told to self-isolate and/or quarantine