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Ashley Courtney & Taylor Alexander

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What are the challenges you’re facing as a midwife practicing during the pandemic?

Working during the pandemic as an essential service provider we have encountered many challenges, some of which include accessing adequate PPE, staying on top of the endless COVID email updates and BCWH rounds discussions, rearranging client visits to accommodate WHO recommendations, wearing masks and gloves with all client interactions and then full PPE at births. We are also both currently pregnant (due in the end of June), so trying to manage the pandemic from both a client and care provider perspective all the while trying to get enough oxygen through those masks ! 

How has your midwifery practice changed since the pandemic?

So many aspects of midwifery care that bring us great joy have changed! To limit exposure, we are spacing out our prenatal visit schedule to accommodate WHO recommendations and doing initial visits over the phone. We ask clients to wait for the prenatal visits in their car and before coming in call them to ask a series of screening questions. To support social distancing, we ask that clients attend their prenatal visits alone and currently have our MOA working from home. To support hygiene, we have closed off our waiting room/lending library/kids play area/tea station at the clinic. We also ask everyone to wash their hands immediately upon entering our clinic and are endlessly sanitizing surfaces and equipment. Our midwives are wearing scrubs in addition to wearing masks and gloves for all client interactions. For births we wear full PPE which includes masks, goggles, gloves and gowns. Our clinic has decided to stop postpartum visits at home to limit our exposure, and to help us ensure we can keep our equipment clean. 

One of the biggest things we’re noticing, and makes our hearts sad, is that we can no longer give our clients big hugs of celebration after their births or after they graduate from our care. It’s also challenging to foster the same types of relationships we are used to with our clients with our new limited schedule and a mask hiding our smiles. 

What, if anything, is helping you get through this crisis?

Being reminded by our clients how much they appreciate the work that we do is so touching, especially given the lack of overall appreciation we may be feeling from other arenas. We also work on small teams within a group practice, our coworkers and weekly meetings are so helpful. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

It’s been eye opening to see the lack of awareness that our government and health authorities clearly have in regards to the work that we do. This has been highlighted in the lack of appropriate access to PPE and the challenges put in place for us to restock. Midwives are very concerned about keeping our clients and ourselves safe and we are doing the best that we can to work with limited resources and support.