COVID-19 Updates, Information, and Resources
Below is information about Covid-19, including changes we’ve made to our clinic as a result of Coronavirus, changes made at KGH, current best practice guidelines, and additional resources. We will try to keep this page as up-to-date as we can. As always, the health and safety of our clients is at the top of our minds as we contemplate best practice during this time.
We have made the following changes to our clinic in order to help slow the spread of Covid-19 – to protect all our clients and the entire community.
Prenatal and Postpartum Clinic Visits:
We are now offering telephone or video appointments via Zoom. All initial intake appointments and 15-16wk visits will be by phone or video now, as well as some postpartum visits. We are sending out zoom invites for these – however, if you prefer to talk by phone just let us know and we will call you at your scheduled appointment time. Please make sure your ringer is on! As always, you can reach us by phone or email with any questions or concerns that come up.
For Prenatal Care, initial visit before 12 weeks will be done by phone or video. All relevant testing will be ordered, including labs and ultrasounds. We will see you for in person visits in clinic at approximately: 12-13 wks; 20 wks; 26 wks; 30 wks; 34 wks; 36 wks; 38 wks; and 40 wks (then weekly or more frequent as needed). For anyone with higher needs or risks in their pregnancy we will be seeing more often and please discuss this with your midwife if unsure or if you have any questions.
For visits in person, in the clinic, please arrive on time. Please note that pay parking is now back in effect in the downtown area as of June 1st! We have spaced out appointments to help ensure that no one is in the waiting room and there is time between visits for us to clean and sanitize. Please ensure that you do not come into clinic if you have any cold or flu symptoms or if anyone in your household does. Please call or email to re-book your appointment.
1. Your partner or a support person is now welcome back but will be required to maintain social distancing.
2. On entering the clinic please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as provided. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, please feel free to do so. Laura and I will continue to be wearing masks as per our guidelines. Please do NOT wear gloves into the clinic! This is not recommended and can increase chance of cross contamination. It is recommended to wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer instead!
3. Please do your best not to bring your older children to clinic appointments. If there is no other option please have them stay with you at all times while in the clinic. If your child is unable to NOT touch surfaces we will ask your partner/support person to wait outside with them. As some of you are aware, we have removed all toys and books from the clinic and this will stay in effect until the Ministry of Health lifts further guidelines.
Births at KGH
For the health and safety of all hospital patients, KGH L&D has instituted the following changes:
- Only 1 support person is allowed to attend each labouring person. Doulas are now allowed as well as partners, so long as they are an accredited doula!! This means you may have your partner and your doula now. However, they must be the same person(s) for the entire duration of the L&D stay – ie no other visitors or switching in and out.
- No friends and family are allowed in the waiting area on L&D
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) has now been deemed safe by infectious control and will be offered again soon at KGH!!
- No visitors are allowed on Postpartum Ward. Only parents are allowed into the NICU.
- Please ensure you pack your own food as there are no food services, cafeteria, etc available at the hospital now. And food delivery is no longer an option.
Home Birth/Malachite Suite Birth
- We ask you to limit the amount of support persons at home. We are currently absolutely happy to have doulas as part of the home birth support team, and 1-2 other support people, including partner. But request no friends and family that do not need to be present. If you or anyone of your home is symptomatic we will be recommending a hospital birth. If the birthing person is symptomatic at time of birth the safest location is the hospital.
- We currently have a large influx of clients requesting out of hospital birth and we will do everything we can to accommodate those. However, we are limited in number and do need to have 2 registered midwives available for every out of hospital birth – if there are not enough midwives available (due to increase in work load or from illness) we may request you birth in hospital.
- We are strongly encouraging anyone thinking about out of hospital birth not to choose this based out of fear of the hospital. Home birth is safe for low risk individuals but may not be for everyone and does require more home work, supplies, and planning than hospital.
- Malachite Suite is still available to rent and Kelowna Midwives are encouraging clients to consider suite birth if wanting out of hospital as we have more control there in terms of infection control and cleaning/sterilizing. However, we do recognize that there is an added fee for this, Malachite has kindly offered to discuss financials and offer sliding scale for those desiring suite birth but may not have the funds. Please contact them directly to discuss financials and for booking the suite.
Postpartum Home Visits
- We are happy to continue to provide postpartum home visits during the first 1-3 weeks at home.
- If anyone in your home has Covid-19 or is in quarantine for possible exposure, we will not be able to offer home birth or home visits – this is to protect all our clients.
Potential changes to your midwife team
The midwives at CMK (and in our larger Kelowna community) work as a team and help each other in times of need. We prioritize continuity of care for our clients, and strive to provide your known care providers to you whenever possible. If one of your midwives becomes ill, you may receive care from another midwife in our community in order to protect your health.
General Pregnancy, L&D, and Postpartum Guidelines regarding Covid-19
The 3 leading organizations for Obstetrics and Gynecology have recently published Covid-19 practice advisories. You can read them here:
These are the key highlights from all 3 of these key organizations:
- Pregnant people should be considered an at-risk population due to physiologic and immunologic changes in pregnancy
- Covid-19 transmission to the baby in pregnancy seems unlikely. There has been a single case report of possible transmission in pregnancy. Again, there is very limited data.
- As there is no evidence your baby can get infected while in the uterus it is currently considered unlikely that there will be congenital effects of the virus on your baby’s development.
- To date, there is currently no conclusive data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to COVID-19. Case reports from early pregnancy studies with SARS and MERS reported pregnancy losses but did not demonstrate a convincing relationship between infection and increased risk of miscarriage or second trimester loss.
- As with SARS and MERS and drawing upon our knowledge of other respiratory illnesses in pregnancy, adverse outcomes are likely to be strongly correlated with degree of illness – most pregnant people who contract Covid-19 will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms.
- If you are immunocompromised, have asthma or lung disease, diabetes, renal disease, or chronic illness, be extra vigilant in pregnancy with hand hygiene and Social Distancing.
- If you do have the Covid-19 virus in pregnancy it is recommended you have an ultrasound 14 days following the resolution of acute illness.
- There might be a greater risk of the baby’s growth being restricted in the uterus and being born smaller than usual – based on data from other coronaviruses (e.g. two-thirds of pregnancies with SARS were affected by small intrauterine growth). Therefore, pregnant people with Covid-19 should be have an ultrasound to monitor for growth restriction in the baby.
Labour & Delivery
- In two case series in China, including a total of 18 pregnant persons infected with COVID-19 and 19 babies (one set of twins), there were 8 reported cases of fetal compromise. Given this relatively high rate of fetal compromise, continuous electronic fetal monitoring in labour is currently recommended for all persons with COVID-19.
- There is no evidence that the virus has been found in the breast milk of people infected with Covid-19. The primary concern is whether an infected mother can transmit the virus through infective airborne droplets during the period of breastfeeding. A mother with confirmed Covid-19 or who is symptomatic with flu like symptoms should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to the infant, including washing hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while breastfeeding. In the light of the current evidence, it is advised that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breastmilk.
- All babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers should have appropriate close monitoring and early involvement of neonatal care, where necessary. Babies born to people testing positive for COVID-19 will need follow-up and ongoing check-ups after discharge from the hospital.
Other tips and information:
Wondering if you need to swab or self-isolate for Covid-19? Take this quiz: Covid-19 Self-Assessment Tool
If you think you may have any symptoms of Covid-19 including fever >38c, coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and/or GI symptoms do not come to clinic but instead please call 8-1-1, where you will be able to speak to a nurse and be triaged to a testing centre if indicated. Anyone who is symptomatic & needing urgent obstetrical assessment will be assessed at KGH.
As a reminder, the best way to protect ourselves and our community from Covid-19 are really simple:
- Hand-washing – Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after touching your face, before eating, and after using the washroom. This is the best way to prevent transmission of any virus. If a sink is not available, the next best option is hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol content.
- Avoid touching your face if possible. COVID-19 and other viruses are spread through coughing and sneezing, but also by touching surfaces that the virus is living on and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose immediately. Alternatively, folks can cough or sneeze into their sleeve.
- Social Distancing—As much as reasonably possible, keep two arms-lengths (one yours, one the other person) apart from others.
- Self-isolating with members from your family only – this means no friends or visitors at your home!
For additional information on Covid-19, please see the following websites:
- BCCDC COVID 19
- HealthLink BC COVID 19
- Health Canada COVID 19
- Sick notes for employers: As per instructions from the Minister of Health and the Provincial Medical Officer of Health, you will not need a note to miss work if you have symptoms.
- Service Canada-applying for EI for Covid-19 related work closures or quarantine
- Travel advisory notice: The B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer is still advising no non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States. Anyone choosing to travel will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
- School closures: This is a great piece for all the parents out there who may be home with their kids and Social Distancing: How to prepare for extended school closings – and not lose your mind.
- Anxiety and coping with the COVID outbreak: Many of you may feel overwhelmed with the rapidly changing news reports about the spread of COVID.
- You can read more about coping strategies here, here, and here.
- Many local counselors offer remote consults – get in touch with one if you feel you need more support.
- Many people successfully use Mindfulness-based stress reduction to manage anxiety.
- Simplify your life as much as possible, and do what makes you feel healthy and happy (within the limits of social distancing!). Think about other strategies that have worked for you in the past to help you manage stress and anxiety, and try to adapt them to the current situation.
Thank you for your understanding during this time. We recognize that this is a changing situation, and our guidelines may change to reflect best practice recommendations as they continue to evolve. Please do not hesitate to call our office at 778-436-8060 if you have any concerns.