Dear Clients of Kitchener-Waterloo Midwifery Associates,
We are writing to discuss the plans that our clinic has put in place to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be assured that your health and our health are our top priority and that your midwifery team will continue to provide excellent, personalized care. The midwives will follow all guidelines regarding self-isolation if they are at risk of COVID-19 or screen positive. At this point in time, the risk in Ontario remains low.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, please call the Region of Waterloo Public Health at 519-575-4400 to see if you qualify for testing. Do not attend your clinic appointment but call ahead and we will discuss what to do next. Please contact the clinic before your appointment if you have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days.
In-person Clinic Visits
Starting this week, we will limit the risk of exposure by having you come to clinic less often. To guide this decision, we are using the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on the number of prenatal appointments for a positive outcome. This includes one visit in the first trimester (we will book initial appointments for 10 weeks), two visits in the second trimester at 20 and 26 weeks, and then more frequent visits in the third trimester at 30, 34, 36, 38, 39 and 40 weeks. Your midwives will greet you with a wave or hello, rather than a handshake or hug. We will be keeping appointments 15-20 minutes long to reduce traffic in the waiting area, please be punctual for your appointment. If possible, please weigh yourself at home to reduce hallway traffic.
We will continue to provide postpartum home visits during the first week after birth. Midwives will call ahead and screen you and your family for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving.
We can achieve a lot over the phone including answering your questions, informing you about relevant topics related to pregnancy and birth, arranging ultrasounds, sending prescriptions to the pharmacy, and ordering bloodwork. We will plan to book phone appointments at 15-16 weeks to bridge the gap between 10 and 20 weeks and to ensure that all laboratory and ultrasound reports have been explained. If you would prefer a phone assessment over an in-person visit for any of your other scheduled visits, please let us know.
Our Clinic Space
All toys will be removed from our clinic and we will not be lending books from our library until further notice. We have always and will continue to disinfect workstations and bathrooms between each client using hospital-grade disinfectants. We ask that you also use hand sanitizer when you arrive for your appointment. Please limit the number of people who come to the clinic for your appointment. We would appreciate children remaining home, if possible.
Grand River Hospital
As of Monday, March 16, GRH will start screening all visitors and patients at the hospital doors. GRH Labour & Delivery floor is equipped with the items required to care for pregnant women with COVID-19. The isolation room has a special filter, and all health care professionals will use personal protective equipment such as a gown, mask, gloves, and face shield to provide care. New visitor guidelines will be in effect soon; we will share that information with you when it becomes available.
Out of Hospital Birth
We will continue to offer choice of birthplace. Home birth can be a great way to keep mothers and babies out of the hospital, however, we need to be certain that every person requesting a home birth is at low risk of complications. If any household members are sick or have screened positive for COVID-19, midwives will not be able to attend you at home and will request that the birth occurs in the hospital where there is a supply of masks and gowns. Our birth suite is available for births and will continue to be cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants.
We know it can be stressful to deal with situations like this, especially while you are pregnant or have a new baby at home. We will continue to provide updates via e-mail and social media as the situation evolves. Our hope is that you remain healthy and calm in the weeks ahead.
The KWMA team