For current Covid-19 recommendations & prohibitions in BC, please read the current BC ordinance here.
Below is information about Covid-19, including changes we’ve made to our clinic as a result of Coronavirus, changes made at VGH, 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.
- Per current BC medical directive, you must wear a medical mask (blue/white surgical mask) during clinic visits. If you do not have a medical mask, we will supply you with one. Please store it in a paper bag and bring it to each clinic visit to reduce waste.
- At this point, we are trying to limit the number of people in our clinic to keep our whole community safe.
- We ask that partners plan to attend some but not all visits. We recommend partners attend approximately three visits, and suggest an early 2nd trimester visit (12-14 weeks, when we can hear the fetal heart rate in clinic), and visits in the later 3rd trimester as ideal. We also welcome partners to take part in every visit remotely, via Facetime or Zoom.
- We ask that you do not bring children unless you cannot find child care. We miss seeing your children and look forward to the time when we can welcome them back safely, but do not feel we can do so at this time. Please note we currently have no children’s toys or books at the clinic.
- As a minimum, the initial visit, 3rd prenatal visit (approximately 18 wks), 5th prenatal visit (approximately 28 wks), and 38 wk visit are recommended to be virtual (phone or zoom). Of course, exceptions can be made as clinically indicated or needed.
Births at VGH
For the health and safety of all hospital patients, VGH L&D has instituted the following changes:
- Only 2 support people are allowed to attend each labouring person. Both support people must be wearing a medical mask at all times. If the support people are unvaccinated, only one is allowed.
- No friends and family are allowed in the waiting area on L&D.
- Vaccinated visitors are allowed on the postpartum unit, but only 2 at a time.
- We ask you to limit the amount of support persons at home to two, and we ask that all support people remain masked.
Please consider ways in which you can decrease the likelihood that you and your supports will be exposed to COVID-19 and other viruses. You are strongly encouraged to practice self isolation for the 2 weeks before your due date. Your partner / support person is encouraged to minimize their exposure to others in the community and their workplace.
Covid Vaccines while pregnant or breast/chestfeeding
- In keeping with current recommendations and best evidence, we recommend that you get the two-part Covid Vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) in pregnancy if you have not already done so. Vaccinating offers the best protection against Covid-19. Pregnant people are at increased risk from the virus, and the Delta Variant has resulted in rising levels. We strongly recommend vaccination to keep each client and our entire community safe.
The BCCDC has a new patient resource re: receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in pregnancy or while breast/chestfeeding. You can access it here. Current recommendations from The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) & The Society for Fetal Maternal Medicine (SMFM) are to recommend every qualifying pregnant or breast/chestfeeding person the Covid-19 vaccine. SMFM has a terrific information sheet here, and the SOGC statement is here. There’s another very thorough decision aid here, which was developed by US doctors at Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts.The SOGC has lots of information about Covid-19 vaccination in pregnancy here. We are also happy to discuss this further with you.
- If you develop a fever at any gestation after receiving the COVID vaccine, we recommend taking 500-1000mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 6 hours until the fever goes away.
General Pregnancy, L&D, and Postpartum Guidelines regarding Covid-19
- The Government of Canada’s current advisory on Covid-19 in pregnancy can be read here. In addition, the 3 leading organizations for Obstetrics and Gynecology have recently published Covid-19 practice advisories. You can read them here:
- The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- These are the key highlights from all 3 of these key organizations:
- The majority of pregnant people who contract Covid-19 have a mild course of illness. However, pregnant people are at increased risk for both contracting C-19 and experiencing more severe illness. This fall has seen a concerning rise in the number of pregnant people with Covid admitted to Canadian ICUs.
- Covid-19 transmission to the baby in pregnancy seems unlikely. There have been a few case reports of possible transmission in pregnancy. Again, there is very limited data.
- To date, there is currently no conclusive data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to COVID-19.
- There is no evidence that the virus has been found in the breast milk of people infected with Covid-19. 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.
- Canadian pediatric policies support keeping mom & babe together, even in situations where the birthing person has tested positive for Covid-19 or is symptomatic. 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. 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.
Other tips and information:
- Wondering if you need to swab or self-isolate for Covid-19? Take the Covid-19 Self-Assessment Tool (We suggest downloading the free app for your phone.)
- If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 including fever >38c, chills, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of smell or taste, headache, muscle ache, and/or GI symptoms do not come to clinic but instead please call Island Health Call Centre at 1-844-901-8442 (Monday-Sunday 8:30am-4:30 pm), where you will be triaged to a testing centre. Anyone who is symptomatic & needing urgent obstetrical assessment will be assessed at VGH.
- Overwhelmed by anxiey about Covid? There’s a good guideline from Fraser Health here.
- 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.
- Physical Distancing—As much as reasonably possible, keep two arms-lengths (one yours, one the other person) apart from others.
- For additional information on Covid-19, please see the following websites:
- BCCDC COVID 19
- HealthLink BC COVID 19
- VIHA COVID19
- Health Canada COVID 19
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 250-590-7605 if you have any concerns.
“Be kind, be calm, be safe.”
–Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry