The current novel coronavirus situation is having an effect on demand for midwives and doulas. Stock photo

The current novel coronavirus situation is having an effect on demand for midwives and doulas. Stock photo

Virus affects demand for doulas, midwives in Comox Valley

New policy around who can be in the delivery room is a key factor

The COVID-19 situation has forced changes around the delivery of babies in recent weeks, and it’s having effects both on doulas and midwives.

For doulas, the situation evolved quickly when Island Health changed the policy regarding the delivery room and who can accompany the mother while in labour — in other words, the partner or the doula.

“People are only allowed one support person,” says local doula Pamela Tessmann.

As a result, many who had signed up are having to make the choice to leave the doula out of the process or change how they want the delivery.

“That’s hard on the families because they hired us doulas for a reason, so that they could have support,” she says.

Doulas provide physical, emotional and informational support to mothers before, during and shortly after childbirth. Currently, she says, doulas are worried about clients they have been working with for weeks or months, in light of the coronavirus situation and the dilemma these couples must face.

“We’re all pretty emotional about it,” she says. “Our minds are with our clients a lot.”

Couples are also worried, Tessmann says, about birth in the hospital in light of the current virus. She runs her service out of her home, though she is working by phone these days.

Tessmann says now many people are changing their minds, which means switching from their doctor in the midst of the pregnancy.

“A lot of my clients are actually considering home birth now because of the risk at the hospital and also because they would really like my support still,” she says.

In these cases, she is guiding them to whatever information they are seeking, whether it is about home births or midwives or how her support as doula would change.

“I just try to fill them in on everything they feel they need to know,” she says.

The change is not just happening in the Comox Valley but in other parts of the province as well.

RELATED STORY: Pregnant in a pandemic: Expectant B.C. moms change birth plans due to COVID-19

Sabrina Westra of Plum Midwifery, based in Comox and Cumberland, confirms there has been growing interest in recent weeks, especially from couples expecting in April and May.

“We’ve had a little bit of an increase in demand for home birth services,” she says. “Of course, not everybody’s appropriate for home birth. They have to be low risk and have a healthy pregnancy…. but where it’s appropriate, people are considering it who wouldn’t otherwise consider it, for sure.”

Plum Midwifery provides comprehensive maternity care, including prenatal care, specialist referrals, attendance at labour and birth, postpartum care in the home and breastfeeding support.

The provincial association, Westra says, is expecting an increase in demand ranging between 25 and 50 per cent.

“We saw this with SARS as well,” she says. “It’s certainly happening again now.”

Some of this response is tied to the wish for couple to have a support person like a doula on hand during the birth.

“We also provide some care in the home, especially postpartum care,” Westra says. “We can often do those things at home.”



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BirthsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrea Cupelli of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness told council the coalition’s needs assessment for non-market housing continues to grow throughout the region, as well as within Comox. . File photo
Coalition to end homelessness asking for additional funding from Comox

The coalition’s needs assessment for non-market housing continues to grow

Work on the first phase of renovations at the Village of Cumberland office is nearing completion. Record file photo
Cumberland office close to re-opening after reno

First phase with COVID measures should be done this month

Cumberland has long gone its own way when it comes to parks. Record file photo
Cumberland hesitant about regional park service

Community was left out of area park plan back fifty years ago

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox looking at proposed CVRD parks service; councillor seeks to include UNDRIP in framework

Coun. Stephanie McGowan proposed a motion to bring UNDRIP to the town’s framework

3L Developments has stated it is pulling the plug on its plans to build a residential neighbourhood in the Stotan Falls area. The company has repeatedly offered to turn the Stotan Falls area into parkland, if the CVRD were to amend its Regional Growth Strategy to allow for a residential community to be built in the area. The CVRD has steadfastly turned down the development company. File photo.
3L says negotiations for Stotan Falls development and parkland are over

The company said there will be no further development applications filed with the CVRD

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Michael Buble is an Order of B.C. recipient. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Nominations being accepted for B.C.’s highest honour

Nominations are being accepted for the Order of British Columbia, the Province’s… Continue reading

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Most Read