COVID-19 and Pregnancy @ SLMHC
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many changes for daily life around the world and has affected some of what we do here at Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about our Integrated Pregnancy Program and maternity services here.
What is COVID-19 and How Does it Spread?
COVID-19 is a new virus that causes an illness similar to the flu or a cold. Most people will have cold symptoms (typically fever or cough), but people with other health problems are at higher risk of getting quite sick or developing severe lung problems.
Like the flu, COVID-19 spreads mostly by contact with someone who is infected or contact with objects they recently touched or sneezed or coughed on.
How do I avoid getting COVID-19?
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your face
- Maintain physical distancing (a minimum of 6′ or 2 metres from others) when out in public
- Wear a face mask, especially when unable to maintain physical distancing. Here at SLMHC, we have a mandatory mask policy for all patients/visitors/staff. Additionally, effective August 17, 2020, the Northwestern Health Unit also made it mandatory that people in the general public wear a mask or other form of face covering in indoor public spaces. Click here to find out more.
- Avoid unnecessary visitors in your home.
- Stay home as much as possible, except for important medical appointments and limited trips to the store for essentials
How are my appointments affected?
Appointments in pregnancy are still important! If we can, we will space them out by using phone calls or telehealth. We will contact you with any changes to your appointments. If you have concerns about your pregnancy please still contact the clinic.
When you go to the clinic or the hospital, wash your hands regularly when you touch objects, avoid touching your face with your hands and try to stay at least 2 meters or 6 feet away from other people in the waiting area. You should also wash your hands when you leave.
All patients coming to the IPP or hospital will go through the ER entrance, be screened for infectious symptoms and given a mask. Anyone who screens positive may have to be seen in the ER or another location to avoid infecting other patients in the clinic.
If you are sick with a cough or fever and you are booked for a regular visit, contact the IPP to see if it is better to keep your appointment or move it to a later date.
How do I contact the Integrated Pregnancy Program (IPP)?
Integrated Prenatal Program (IPP) phone: 807-737-2877 ext 4503, or call 807-737-3030 and ask for the Prenatal Clinic
Can I breastfeed if I have COVID-19?
Through limited studies we’ve seen, it does not appear that the virus is passed through breastmilk. You should practice handwashing, wear a mask, and avoid coughing on your baby. You could also consider pumping and having someone who is not sick provide pumped breastmilk through the bottle.
Can I in-room if I have COVID-19?
After you deliver, you can stay in the same room with your baby as long as you observe some basic precautions. We ask all women who are rooming in with their babies to wear a mask and wash their hands before handing or caring for their babies. Your baby may be kept 6 feet away from you on the other side of a drape to reduce the chance of infection. If you prefer to have the baby stay in another room, or are too sick to take care of the baby we can arrange for separate rooms.
What are the changes to labour/delivery at SLMHC during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- When you are in labour only one labour support person and children under 2 are allowed in the room with you. No other visitors will be permitted in the hospital
- All of your care staff will be wearing a mask, gown and eye protection during your labour or caesarian section
- COVID-19 is NOT a reason to have a caesarian section; c-sections will still be done for the same medical indications
- Nitrous gas (laughing gas) is no longer used for women in labour
- You may be offered an epidural earlier in labour
- If you need a caesarian section you may not be able to have any support person with you in the operating room
We regret that we must restrict visitors and recognize that these changes are hard on families, but they are necessary to protect patients and staff.
Thank you for your understanding. These changes are similar to all other hospitals in the region.