a message from dr. calvin, mbc owner and founder
March 23, 2020
To: Minnesota Birth Center Community
From: Dr. Steve Calvin, Owner and Founder, Minnesota Birth Center
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, everyone connected to the Minnesota Birth Center has questions and concerns. Our leadership team of Pat Hinck, CNM, Anna Hepsø, RN and I are highly engaged. As MBC founder and medical director, I have some thoughts that I want to share.
Beyond my professional commitment to the Minnesota Birth Center, I have a personal stake since seven of my eleven grandchildren are MBC babies. Our accredited and licensed birth centers are backed up by a strong hospital-based safety net. This allows the MBC to provide maternity and newborn care that is never too much too soon, nor too little too late.
There are many unknowns about the COVID-19 situation, which leads to understandable anxiety. Since the beginning of the crisis, our commitment to our patients and providers has been for our entire team to remain vigilant, calm and flexible. Safety is priority number one.
My 40 years of experience as an OB/GYN subspecialist in Maternal-Fetal Medicine provides me with a comprehensive understanding of potential outcomes for mothers and babies, and I don’t believe COVID-19 is going to significantly increase the risk to them.
Most pregnancies are normal and most mothers and babies come through the birth experience with flying colors. MBC care is provided by a great group of midwives and nurses, supported by a talented administrative team. The MBC model of care maximizes chances for a great outcome as well as a satisfying and empowering experience for mothers.
Two major unexpected challenges have arisen during the COVID-19 crisis: First, there is an increased demand to keep healthy mothers out of the hospital. Second, we want to do everything that we can to minimize the risk of viral infection for our patients and our providers. These challenges require creative solutions.
Our hospital partners are doing everything that they can to serve pregnant patients who are approaching their due date. At the same time they are preparing for a potential increase in COVID-19 patients within the rest of the hospital. This complicated situation with infection control concerns has led to severe visitor limits, including on maternity services. Unfortunately this seriously limits doula support. Our hospital partners are committed to safety and any MBC mother who requires transfer can be confident that she will receive excellent care within these limitations.
At the MBC we are also implementing limitations on visitors to minimize transmission risk during prenatal care and birth. However, we recognize that doula support is essential for births. Therefore, doulas are encouraged to be one of the two visitors accompanying a mother in labor at the MBC.
The most significant change for the MBC care model during this crisis affects mothers who require transfer of care to the hospital at the end of pregnancy or during or after birth. The risk of infection for our midwives (and thereby, all of our patients) is minimized if MBC midwives are not frequently moving between the birth center and the hospital.
This has been a difficult decision. We understand the concern that this news brings. We are also committed to reassessing this policy when the pandemic has subsided.
We are confident that our hospital-based midwives and physicians will take very good care of any MBC mother or baby who needs transfer. I am optimistic that the extreme public health measures enacted will slow the spread of this virus. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic fallout has deeply affected all MBC mothers and their families. We will get through this together.