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Central Coast midwives see uptick in business as expecting moms avoid hospital deliveries due to COVID-19

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Bethany Joy Mugg Photography

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Central Coast midwives are experiencing an uptick in business during the coronavirus pandemic.

“When I started seeing regulations put on stuff, it scared me,” said expecting mother Keturah Storm.

Storm will soon deliver her second child. She is one of the many expecting moms who has changed her birthing plans at the last minute due to the new coronavirus restrictions in hospitals.

“I don't want anyone telling me what I can and cannot do with my child and labor experience. Once you have a hospital regulating how you can do that, then I think it's time to go figure something else out,” said Storm.

The Central Coast licensed midwife community has seen a surge in clients and worried moms-to-be.

“The moms that I have been talking to are feeling a sense of fear. Even panic I would say,” said licensed midwife and Pacific Midwifery Care owner Megan Bochum.

Hospitals in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties have now limited support partners to one person in the delivery room in hopes of limiting potential COVID-19 exposure.

“To be told that the people you have carefully selected for your labor can no longer be there is very upsetting to many,” said licensed midwife Jennifer Oquendo.

The small midwives community said the uptick in business has been overwhelming, leading to hours of phone consultations in hopes of easing pregnant women's fears.

“It's hard to take on a client right before they birth and have the same expectations for achieving a home birth when we haven’t had all that time to prepare together,” said Oquendo.

“It's putting fear in a lot of people, and there is enough to worry about while you're pregnant,” said Storm.

The midwives are also experiencing protective gear shortages like most health care professionals. Places the gear is available is limited to large orders only.

“Since we don’t typically order gowns and masks and massive amounts of gloves every time we are ordering, so our orders are being canceled,” said Bochum.

The midwifery community is being selective on how many people they can serve.

“We are being very conservative with our response to taking on extra clients at this time in order to minimize our exposure to COVID-19, to make sure we can serve the people that have contracted for 8 months for when their births come up,” said Oquendo.

However, they want mommies-to-be to know they will support them where they can.

Bochum reminds expecting moms that women have been having babies since the beginning of time with far fewer resources available to them. She commented that women are strong and very capable of delivering healthy babies in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

If you are interested in contacting the midwife community or helping get protective gear to them, you can find them at the following websites:

California / San Luis Obispo County / Santa Barbara- S County / Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County / Video

Naja Hill

Naja Hill is a reporter at KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.

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