Birth is as safe as life gets.

Harriette Hartigan

Current as of January 7th, 2021
Subject to change

COVID-19 & Home Birth
In Colorado Springs

We are following the progression of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and watching for news from experts about how this could affect pregnant women and their babies. Though this is all so new for many of us, we are learning more almost daily. Here are the key things it's important for you to know:

According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG),

"Pregnant women do not appear more likely to contract the infection than the general population.
Pregnancy itself alters the body’s immune system and response to viral infections in general, which can
occasionally cause more severe symptoms. This may be the same for COVID-19 but there is currently
no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to be severely unwell, need admission to intensive
care, or die from the illness than non-pregnant adults." (Coronavirus Infection in Pregnancy, RCOG)

As of August 22nd, 2020, the CDC reported an approximate 1% death rate among 598 birthing women who tested positive for Covid-19 on admission to the hospital. This is similar to the death rates in the general population. (Characteristics and Maternal and Birth Outcomes..., CDC)

There also seems to be some evidence for potential "vertical transmission," which means that mothers who test positive have some potential to pass the virus on to their newborns.

"In a larger systematic review of 666 neonates born to women with confirmed COVID-19, 28 out of 666 (4%) neonates had confirmed COVID-19 infection postnatally." (Coronavirus Infection in Pregnancy, RCOG)

That said, it's important to note that numbers are ever-evolving, and the current evidence suggests that we should not transfer clients out of care unless their symptoms become severe. However, we will watch our clients much more closely, put protocols in place to guard safety, and continue to be guardians of the normal.

What about the vaccine?

ACOG

"ACOG recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on ACIP-recommended priority groups."

"Pregnant patients who decline vaccination should be supported in their decision."

CDC

"Until findings are available from clinical trials and additional studies, only limited data are available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, administered during pregnancy."

"There are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion."

Pfizer Covid Vaccine

"Available data on Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine administered to pregnant women are insufficient to inform vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy."

My Take:

I am not currently recommending the Covid-19 vaccine to pregnant or breastfeeding clients, due to lack of evidence to support safety and efficacy.

Is a home birth a good option for me during the Covid-19 pandemic?

First and foremost – I am here to help however I can!

If that means we spend an hour on the phone working through your fears and concerns, whether or not you choose to transfer to home birth care, then so be it. I am a midwife, here to be “with woman” in the best way I know how with what resources are available to me. There are a few things to think about on your end, though, and I hope I can answer some of these concerns right upfront.

4 Reasons to Consider Home Birth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Support
You can have the support people of your choice at your home birth.

Germs
The hospital is the epicenter of the pandemic, and you may be better off staying home, where you and your family are already colonized to any germs already present.

Autonomy
You do not have to fear anyone putting policy and procedure ahead of you and your baby’s needs.

Safety
It’s as safe to plan a home birth with a trained attendant as it is to plan a hospital birth if you are low risk.

What if I wasn't planning on a homebirth before?

If you are already preparing for an unmedicated birth, or if you chose the hospital for financial, insurance, or other non-safety related reasons, then exploring out-of-hospital options is a great idea for you! Talking to me is free, and I am more than happy to answer any and all questions you have and I am willing to work something out with you to help your family get the care you desire.

If you initially chose to birth in a hospital because you believe it to be the safest possible location for you and your baby, that is an indicator that home birth may not be the best option for you. And that's okay! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look into home birth, it just means that there are some angles you may not have considered.

Call me anyway. I can help you sift through any fears or questions so you can clearly see your options. Who knows? Home birth might be just the answer to those fears!

What if I still want to give birth in the hospital?

If your trust is firmly in your OB/GYN or hospital-based midwife, and in the hospital, you probably are safest delivering there, pandemic or no. Hiring a doula who can attend you virtually via Zoom or in-person is likely going to be a much more feasible and safe option for you.

Currently, all Colorado Springs hospitals are allowing one support person if you are Covid positive upon admission, and one additional person if your test is negative.  For some great doula recommendations, visit my Local Resources page.

Call me anyway – I am happy to help you navigate what a hospital birth might look like, and help you ask good questions so that you can be further reassured by your current provider, or even help you realize that a home birth midwife really is what you want after all.

COVID-19 Appointment Policy:

My office mates and I want you to know that we are committed to caring for you during this time. We will not act out of fear, but we will be cautious and prudent so we are able to provide the best, safest care to you and your families within the most current guidelines and orders issued by local and state government officials.

There is currently a mask mandate for ages 10 and older when entering indoor spaces issued by Governor Polis.

We are all still seeing clients at the office, as converting to exclusive home visit care isn’t feasible for us at this time. Virtual and home visits are available on request, and we will work with you to achieve the safest level of care possible within the midwifery model of care.

For all appointments, we are:

  • Asking that you keep people coming with you to a minimum that works for you
  • Be mindful of social distancing, especially when other clients are present in the waiting area
  • Expecting you to notify us via text/phone if you have a fever and/or exposure prior to your appointment
  • Washing our hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before beginning
  • Disinfecting all equipment/toys both before and after the appointment
  • Rescheduling or doing a virtual/phone visit if you or anyone in your household has symptoms matching those of COVID-19 (or any other contagious illness)

We will only resume in-person visits 7 days after symptoms begin AND 24 hours fever-free. This applies to all persons living in your home.

Symptoms include (but are not limited to):

Fever above 100.4

Dry cough

Shortness of breath

Loss of smell/taste

Visit the CDC to see a complete symptom list.

If you have any of these symptoms, or if you test positive, call your midwife within 24 hours to come up with a plan for your care.

What is your late transfer policy?

28 weeks to 31 weeks, 6 days:

$300 off Cash Pay Fee. A non-refundable 10% Deposit is due at your first prenatal visit, and monthly/weekly payments are calculated to ensure payment in full by 36 weeks.

To qualify for this discount, you must be:

  • Eligible for home birth per Colorado regulations (see pg. 2, section 1.4).
  • Pregnant with a single baby.
  • If you are 36 weeks or later, baby must also be head down.
  • Able to provide complete records of prenatal care, including basic lab work.
  • Strongly motivated to participate fully in all care decisions, educate yourself, and to assume shared responsibility for your care.
  • Strongly motivated to have an unmedicated birth in the safety and comfort of your own home, surrounded by the birth team of YOUR choice. (I am not limiting attendance for home births at this time.)

32 weeks or later:

If you are 32 weeks or later, and meet all of the above criteria, you will qualify for the $300 discount. However, I will require a non-refundable $1,000 deposit at your first visit, and payment in full by 6 weeks postpartum, to be paid in weekly installments or all at once.

Why isn’t there a larger discount in this situation?

The bulk of my fee covers the cost, risk, and liability for your birth and immediate postpartum.
Prenatal, postpartum, and newborn care are included at a greatly reduced cost in a global fee model.

Whether or not my fee is paid in full, my cost of doing business remains the same.
Office rent, supplies, fuel and mileage, EHR fees, licensing and registration fees, CEU’s, and more all still have to come out of my pocket, no matter how much is put in.

No matter how healthy you are, the overall risks of home birth in this situation are increased.
Part of what makes home birth safe is a strong relationship of trust built up over time with my clients. This may be hard to establish during a short relationship. Especially if a client is not already strongly motivated to have an unmedicated birth, or has never felt safe about birthing outside the hospital.

It is unfair to current clients who have already put in the time and money to prepare for a home birth.
I owe it to my clients to treat everyone as equally as possible. If finances are a concern, please schedule a consultation so we can discuss barters and/or alternative payment schedules. I am willing to work with you to make a home birth possible in your situation.

Midwives need to make a living wage.

Call me anyway!

If the above arrangements aren’t accessible to you, and you have an alternative plan in mind, I am all ears. If I can help you, I will. If I cannot, I will refer you to someone who can. There are lots of options in Colorado Springs, and one of them is bound to be right for you and your family! Thank you for understanding.

We're here to help you navigate pregnancy, birth, and postpartum!

Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum can be overwhelming at times. We are here to provide direction, clarity, and a safe route for you to get through it all with dignity, autonomy, and compassionate care.

Schedule your free consultation today, and we will help you get started.