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  • Writer's picture Rebecca Burkett, LM, CPM

Your Midwife's Approach to COVID-19 Pandemic

Coronavirus COVID-19 is still present and spreading rapidly across the globe and exponentially in the United States. As of December 10th, 2020, the US has reached 15.5 million confirmed cases with 290k deaths. Specifically in Michigan, as of December 10th, we have 448k confirmed cases and 10,699 deaths. These are difficult times and we all have to understand that this is REAL and we NEED to take it seriously!

We know that pregnant people are more at risk of developing severe complications if the virus is contracted. As of 12/10/2, nearly 20% of cases in pregnancy have required hospitalization according to the CDC. We also know that the risk of preterm labor increases if someone has had COVID in pregnancy.

We still know little about vertical transmission from pregnant people to their unborn babies or during the birthing process. We do believe that it is not transmitted via breastmilk, amniotic fluid, or umbilical cord blood. However, we do know that newborns CAN contract the virus shortly after birth.

Health care providers and Midwives are in constant contact with one another on a national/international level, discussing best practices, guidelines, and protocols to keep our clients and ourselves safe. What is known is that it is highly contagious and can live on surfaces for hours or days depending on the surface.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are: please note there is a possibility of being ASYMPTOMATIC

  • Dry cough

  • Fever or chills

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty/painful breathing

  • Sore throat

  • Body aches

  • Persistent headaches

  • Runny nose

  • New loss of taste or smell

If you, anyone in your household, or anyone you have been in contact with have these symptoms, please advise your midwife. Testing abilities have significantly increased since the start of the Pandemic and there are many local options available, some even free.

The recommended guidelines and best practices for preventing the spread of this virus, has changed the healthcare field in many ways. We cannot ignore the reality of how serious this pandemic is, and WE ALL must do our part to keep our communities safe.

As your midwife, I am practicing social distancing as much as possible. The only time I am out is while providing care for midwifery clients or necessary shopping. I am regularly monitoring myself for symptoms and check my temperature daily. I am sanitizing my equipment and surfaces with Sani-wipes before and after client contact, and offering virtual/telehealth visits whenever possible.

I will wear a mask during all client care, clients and others present are required to wear masks during visits as well, unless you can not safely wear one. For your birth, I suggest very limited people to be present and those that are must be screened for symptoms before attending. If anyone you plan to have at your birth has been exposed to someone with COVID, or has any symptoms of illness, they need to be quarantined and cannot be in attendance. If you want others to be included in your birth, we can set up for FaceTime, Skype, or video. Any person present can pose additional risk.

I will continue to offer the normal visit schedule, however, an option I am strongly encouraging to maintain social distancing, is to have virtual/telehealth visits when possible. You can check your blood pressure with an electronic blood pressure cuff, and listen to your baby’s heartbeat with a handheld fetal doppler. Postpartum visits will be performed in-person at 24 hours, day 3, 2 weeks, and 6 weeks. Virtual/telehealth postpartum visits will be encouraged at 1 week,and 4 weeks. Additional visits and in-person visits can be requested and added as needed. I am always available for texts, phone calls, video chat, and emails.

In case of hospital transport, I may not be able to stay at the hospital as I normally would. I will be sure that you are taken care of, records are transferred, and the situation is well articulated.

If I became sick or had known exposure, I would have to quarantine for 2 weeks and another midwife may attend your in-person visits or birth. Your midwife is trying to be mindful of what is needed for your prenatal, birth, and postpartum care, months ahead including purchasing potentially necessary medications, supplies, and equipment.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, Practice social distancing, stay home whenever possible, and wear a mask when interacting with anyone outside of your household. Generally, any person near you is a potential risk. Stay at home (its beneficial to go outside in your yard, for a nature walk or hike. Try to remain 6 feet away from others). Social distancing means no play dates, less physical contact with others than who are in your household. Postpone or space out non-essential visits and appointments including dental, chiropractic, non-urgent health care visits, etc. Avoid travel.

Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap (foamy soap may be less effective). Wash your hands after touching any surface that may be contaminated, and before eating. Avoid sharing drinks and food with others. Avoid touching your face. Avoid handshakes, hugs & kisses. Frequently sanitize high contact surfaces including doorknobs, handrails, faucet handles & light switches. Frequently wipe down surfaces including your phone, computer and/or tablet.

Reduce shopping trips for food & essential items. Consider shopping for groceries and essentials online, grocery pick up, delivery or curbside. Prepare by thinking ahead about things that you may need within the next 2 weeks-2 months. There is still a shortage of some items and shipping is delayed in general. Eat as many nutritious and whole foods as possible including fruits and vegetables. Keep hydrated and be sure to have extra water on hand if you drink bottled water. Aim for ample sleep, at least 7 hours nightly.

Also these supplements & foods support a healthy immune system and are safe in pregnancy: · Vitamin D – 4000 IU daily

· Fish oil (discontinue at 37 weeks)

· Vitamin C 1000-2000mg daily

· Garlic (always a great immune booster)

· Zinc – 12mg daily These times can provoke anxiety. Try to incorporate self-care and relaxation into your daily life. Some options are prayers, mediation, yoga, exercise, sunbathing (when we have sun here in Michigan), walking in nature. Magnesium, chamomile tea, and lavender oil can help with stress, anxiety, and sleep.

All the while, please know that I love and care about the health and well-being of you, your baby, and your family. This is temporary, but necessary, and will last for an unknown period of time. Please stay healthy and reach out anytime if you have questions or concerns.

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