COVID-19 FAQs

COVID-19 and pregnancy

What are the risks to pregnant patients and babies of COVID?

Cold symptoms and what to do 

I have cold symptoms! What do I do?

Do I need a note to be off because of my cold?

Is it COVID? Shouldn’t I be tested? 

When do I need to self isolate?

I had a cold last week but I’m better now. When can I stop self-isolating? 

I have a cold and I think I need to be seen in the hospital, what do I do?

I have a cold and I have a routine ultrasound or NST? Shouldn’t I be self-isolating, what do I do? 

Work and what to do

Should I be off work because of the pandemic? Is it safe to work?

Should other members of my family be off work to keep me safe?

Changes to expect at the clinic/hospital

Can I still have my family at the labour?

Can I get entonox for pain management during labour?

Who can visit at the hospital after my baby is born?

Who can visit after my baby is born at home? 

Will I still have my ultrasound appointments? 

Will I still have my iron infusion? 

I’m worried about coming into the hospital for my regular appointments, is this necessary for care?

Why are we not moving to a birthing centre outside of the hospital?

If I get COVID what does this mean for my care

What if I get COVID during pregnancy?

What if I have cold symptoms or COVID during my delivery?

Can I breastfeed if I get COVID? 

Will I be separated from my baby if I get COVID? 

What if my doctor or nurse has COVID?


COVID AND PREGNANCY

What are the risks to pregnant patients and babies of COVID?

Currently pregnant patients do not seem to be more susceptible to becoming infected with COVID-19.

Currently there is no evidence that women who are pregnant get more severe symptoms when ill with COVID-19 and most moms and babes do very well. However as with any serious illness while pregnant, there are possible complications, such as having your baby early, therefore we recommend social distancing, good handwashing and avoiding people who have been travelling or are a known contact of someone with COVID-19. 

Currently there is no evidence that a mother with COVID-19 will pass it to her baby while pregnant.

COLD SYMPTOMS AND WHAT TO DO

I have cold symptoms! What do I do?

  • Stay home! Most people with COVID will not need medical attention and can safely stay at home with their symptoms. This prevents the spread of your illness. 
  • Please self-isolate at home for 10 days from symptoms onset.
  • If you’re unsure whether your symptoms warrant medical attention please check out the Self assessment tool
  • Recent recommendations now advise that anyone with cold symptoms is eligible for COVID-19 testing. Please call our clinic or your GP office if you have cold symptoms to arrange a COVID-19 test.

Do I need a note to be off because of my cold?

  • Your employer should not require a note based on current BC recommendations at this time. If you are experiencing difficulties with your employer please refer them to this link. 

Is it COVID? Shouldn’t I be tested? 

  • Recommendations have recently changed and now it is advised to test ANY individual with possible symptoms of COVID (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, or loss of appetite) 
  • If you have any of the above symptoms please CALL our clinic right away so we can arrange a COVID swab (if you have any symptoms, please call first, do NOT come into the clinic).

When do I need to self isolate?

  • If you have ANY cold/flu symptoms, you need to self-isolate for 10 days from symptoms onset. If you are feeling well after 10 days and do not have a fever, then you may stop self-isolating BUT we still recommend social distancing and good hand washing. 
  • If you have ANY cold/flu symptoms, you need to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • If you have been travelling outside of Canada, then you need to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • If someone in your household is sick with cold symptoms, try to isolate from them as much as possible (separate bathrooms, separate sleeping areas, separate eating areas) and monitor yourself for symptoms. If you do not have cold symptoms you do not have to self-isolate but should practice good hand hygiene, social distancing as you may still be infectious (it is still unclear at this point). If any symptoms do occur, then self-isolate immediately. 
  • **We are now advising that you (and your support person if possible), should self-isolate after 37 weeks in anticipation of your delivery.
  • This handout explains How to self-isolate

I had a cold last week but I’m better now. When can I stop self-isolating?

  • Ideally you will wait 10 days from symptoms onset before coming out of self-isolating.
  • If you have concerns or issues during these 10 days, we are happy to do a phone visit so please call our clinic

I have a cold and I think I need to be seen in the hospital, what do I do? 

  • Call ahead if you can! This allows us to prepare to see you safely. We will also assess whether you need to come in or whether we can possibly take care of you via the phone only. 
    • If this is during the day please call our clinic (250-737-2066). 
    • If it’s after hours please call the ward (250-737-2030 ext 44224). 
  • Rest assured, regardless of any cold symptoms we will always see you in person if we think you need to be seen in person. We would never do only a telephone visit if we thought this would impact our care for you. 

I have a cold and I have a routine ultrasound or NST (listening to your baby’s heart on the maternity ward)? Shouldn’t I be self-isolating, what do I do? 

  • Call us! We will help you figure it out. If it is routine we may be able to reschedule. 

WORK AND WHAT TO DO

Should I be off work because of the pandemic? Is it safe to work?

  • If you have ANY cold symptoms, self isolate at home and please call our clinic or your GP to arrange to get a COVID test. You should NOT be at work if you have any cold or flu symptoms.
  • At this time best evidence says that you are not at any increased risk of getting a COVID19 infection because you are pregnant. 
  • If you are well and unsure regarding work your situation will be different depending on your work – please call us and we can discuss your particular situation. 

Should other members of my family be off work to keep me safe? 

  • Your family does not need to be off work specifically because you are pregnant. At this time we would recommend everyone take general precautions and wherever possible work from home, practice good hand hygiene, and social distancing. The recommendations around different workplaces are constantly changing and you should follow the most recent information from our public health offices. 

CHANGES TO EXPECT AT THE CLINIC/HOSPITAL

Can I still have my family at the labour?

  • In order to protect our patients and staff, it is now hospital policy that patients in labour can only have one support person. To try to reduce the number of people on the labour ward, this must be the same support person for the whole labour.
  • We recognize that limiting support people is extremely difficult. This policy is island-wide and is designed to keep everyone safe

Can I get “laughing gas” (entonox) for pain management during labour?

  • Unfortunately at this time, “laughing gas” is not available for ANYONE (whether you have cold symptoms or not) in all hospital facilities due to the risk of the virus being spread in the air by people who may not realize they have the virus. This is for the protection of all the healthcare workers as well as yourself and family.  

Who can visit at the hospital after my baby is born?

  • At this time hospital policy is limiting visitors to one person per day, preferably the same person each day, to limit flow through the hospital.
  • This person cannot have any cold symptoms or be unwell. Your support person can continue to stay with you during your time at the hospital. They will only be allowed to leave and return to the hospital once per day in order to limit traffic on and off the ward. If your support person happens to smoke please be aware they will have bring their own nicotine replacement if needed. 
  • At this time you will not be able to keep anything in the communal fridge. However you are welcome to bring in a cooler if you would like. Meals through the hospital will be provided to both you and your support person

Who can visit after my baby is born at home? 

  • We highly recommend creating a “cocoon” and limiting visitors as much as possible to only key supports. However, we also recognize having a newborn baby at home can be extremely stressful and only you can decide what the right balance is for you. 
  • We would suggest the general principles of self-isolation and social distancing as much as possible. Consider use of video chatting and phone to stay in touch. 
  • Although we advise restricting all visitors, if outside support is necessary we recommend: 
    • Excellent hand-hygiene for all visitors
    • Minimal number of visitors (particularly at one time)
    • ABSOLUTELY no visitors with any cold/flu symptoms or sick contacts or who have travelled in the last 14 days or have had contact with a positive case. 

Will I still have my ultrasound appointments? 

  • Currently, obstetrical ultrasound appointments are still happening as they are considered essential. Please be aware you will not be able to bring anyone in with you to these appointments.
  • If you have any cold symptoms before your appointment please call us.

Will I still have my iron infusion? 

  • We are currently assessing iron infusions on an individual basis. Please talk with us at your next appointment if you have any questions about iron infusions.

I’m worried about coming into the hospital for my regular appointments, is this necessary for care?

  • During the initial stages of the pandemic, we were unsure how our community would be affected by COVID-19 and took the precaution of moving the maternity clinic out of the hospital. BC has done an excellent job of “flattening the curve” and now has very few COVID-19 cases across the province. In consultation with infection control experts, we have decided it is safe to return to our regular clinic space on the second floor of the hospital and moved back in on May 29, 2020. We are still doing some visits by phone and have made some changes to our clinic space to ensure that you and your family are safe. 

Why are we not moving to a birthing centre outside of the hospital?

  • As your maternity care providers, we are always weighing the risks and benefits of any situation or change to ensure that you and your family are safe. Hospitals have equipment, rooms, and infection control processes (for both you and the care team that is taking care of you) that are designed to safely welcome your baby into the world. The maternity ward is separate from the rest of the care provided in the hospital and we feel that the hospital is the safest place for you and your baby for delivery. This is particularly true if any complications arise as there are already systems and teams in place to manage those situations. The hospital has been working on plans to keep the delivery/post-partum area of the hospital safe and is taking appropriate infection-control measures. The hospital also has very knowledgeable cleaning staff/nurses/midwives/doctors who have been working together to make sure that the safest place to have your delivery is the hospital.  

IF I GET COVID WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY CARE

What if I get COVID during pregnancy?

  • At this point in time we know that if you were to get COVID during pregnancy there is a very good chance that you will fully recover. Most people will recover fine at home and just because you are pregnant does not mean we expect you to need hospitalization. We may consider further monitoring of your baby if you had a severe case that needed hospitalization but otherwise you would receive routine care. 

What if I have cold symptoms or COVID during my delivery?

  • If you are actively sick with cold symptoms at the time of delivery or any time in your pregnancy we will still be able to care for you. Expect staff to be wearing protective equipment but otherwise we will strive to take excellent care of you and your baby. We are currently actively planning so we can do this safely. 
  • If you go into labour we would immediately do a swab. The team caring for you would continue to wear protective infection control equipment until this swab result was back and we know whether you have a cold or COVID. 

Can I breastfeed if I get COVID? 

  • Yes. Guidelines recommend still breastfeeding using good hand washing. If you do have a positive COVID swab or have cold/flu symptoms, the recommendation is to wear a mask and use good hand washing with any infant care including breast feeding. There is no evidence of the virus in breastmilk.

Will I be separated from my baby if I get COVID? 

  • Guidelines at this time do not recommend separating mom and baby at delivery if mom has a COVID infection. We would recommend good handwashing and using a mask if you have proven COVID.
  • We would still recommend practices such as skin-to-skin contact (with mom wearing a mask and after having washed hands)

What if my doctor or nurse has COVID?

  • No healthcare professional will be working with ANY cold symptoms. 
  • In the event that a member of Cowichan Maternity Clinic is sick or quarantined and there isn’t another doctor available within the group, you may receive care from an alternative midwife, family physician, or obstetrician.