COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions for Midwifery Clients
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way care is being provided by midwives, and the College continues to ensure that your safety is prioritized.
We understand that this is a stressful time for everyone and may be particularly stressful for those who are pregnant or caring for a newborn. We have provided frequently asked questions below to help answer some of your questions regarding the College’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How will I be protected during in-person visits and when I am in labour?
Midwives have the required knowledge, skills and equipment to use infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures while practising. They will use their judgment to limit direct contact during in-person visits and will use the recommended personal protective equipment (such as gloves and in some cases, masks, goggles and gowns) in order to protect you and your family.
Can my midwife provide care virtually?
Yes, and the College encourages midwives to provide care remotely when it is acceptable to do so. You can help by paying close attention to your health and report your findings to your midwife. Some questions your midwife may ask you to keep track of are your temperature, the frequency of fetal movements (kicks or rolls) felt within a specific timeframe, or how many times your newborn has fed and passed urine or stool in the past 24 hours. There are many ways midwives can assess your overall wellbeing, and that of your newborn, over the phone or by videoconference.
Midwives are required to follow the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA) and ensure that your personal health information is kept safe in accordance with the act however you are accessing care.
Does the College have a policy around clients wearing masks?
As a health care regulator, the College does not have a policy regarding mask wearing for midwifery clients, as the College does not have any policies dictating client behaviour. Other government bodies, hospitals, and health care providers may have policies related to client behaviour. For instance, the Ontario government currently requires that everyone in the province wear a mask in public indoor places.
The College requires midwives to follow current best practice for infection prevention and control which includes wearing masks during all client interactions during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can read guidance around mask-wearing at the resources listed below:
- Public Health Ontario
- The Public Health Agency of Canada
- Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health (PCMCH)
- Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) FAQ Should clients wear masks or face coverings for their appointments with their midwives or during labour?
If you cannot wear a mask due to a health condition, or if you refuse to wear a mask for another reason, your midwife will use the current evidence and their professional judgment to come up with a plan of care that is in your best interest balanced with their own safety and the safety of others. Their professional judgment will be guided by the Professional Misconduct Regulation (O. Reg. 388/09) and the Professional Standards for Midwives which requires that midwives never abandon a client in labour (standard 13).
Can I still give birth at home or in a birth centre?
Your midwife will continuously assess your health and provide evidence-based recommendations regarding your chosen place of birth. Talk to your midwife about your options for giving birth at home or in a birth centre
The College of Midwives of Ontario regulates the profession of midwifery in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. As such, the College’s primary obligation to the public is to ensure that members of the profession are qualified, skilled, and competent in the area in which they practise.
Frequently Asked Questions about College Operations
Is the College still open during the pandemic?
As of March 16,2020, the College transitioned into a virtual office and the physical office location was temporarily closed. During this time, the College is continuing to provide its services with limited disruptions. To read more about the virtual office, please click here.
Is the College processing complaints during the pandemic?
The College will continue to process complaints and investigate concerns during this time. The College does however recognize that certain timelines may be impacted as a result of the current environment.