Dar a Luz Birth & Health Center
Position Statement and Policies
Regarding COVID-19

As you all aware, the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has created a worldwide pandemic.

Dar a Luz is taking this virus very seriously. We are also taking seriously the recommendations of social distancing and isolation, to keep our mothers and newborns safe. Because of the nature of our work and the commitment to the safety of our clients and their families, we have implemented the following policies, which will stay in effect until experts declare that the risk is mitigated.

We may change our policies at any time, in order to protect the health and well-being of our clients and our staff.

As we begin opening non-essential businesses and getting back to some sense of “normal” in New Mexico, much at Dar a Luz will remain as it is now. There is some guidance from the New Mexico Medical Advisory Team about how to operate medical clinics and basically, it is clear that what we are already doing is what is recommended for the foreseeable future. The following are our current policies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Your health: If you are sick or think you are getting sick OR if you have traveled within the last 14 days: you need to cancel your appointment. If you have a fever higher than 100.4˚F (38˚C), have a cough/shortness of breath, have chills or muscle pain, have a sore throat, or have new loss of taste or smell, you may not come into the birth center at all and will be referred to the NM Department of Health for COVID-19 testing. You may call the midwife on call or RN triage line for further information and instructions.
    All clients and their guests will be screened for fever and symptoms in the lobby before they will be allowed into the center. Any person with a fever or symptoms will be asked to leave the building and we will help determine if you need testing as stated above. Social distancing will be practiced (as much as is possible) within the birth center. All staff and clients will continue to wear masks for all client encounters (including during labor and birth — see below).
  2. Clinic visits and appointments: We will continue to have one full clinic per day. Only the pregnant client may come in the building for the prenatal visit (no partners or children allowed). We will work with mothers to aid in video calls with partners, to the best of our abilities. We will continue with the prenatal visit schedule of in-person visits at 12, 20, 28, 32, 36 weeks, and then weekly after 36 weeks.
    We will continue to limit in-person clinic visits to OB clients, clients who are needing their diabetes labs (around 28 weeks), clients who are 36 weeks or further in their pregnancy, and all mother/baby appointments. Additional clients who have certain problems or a higher risk pregnancy will also be seen.
    Telehealth appointments with pregnant clients will continue as needed (we’ll let you know what needs to happen if this pertains to your visit).
    Postponed visits: non-pregnant clients are postponed at this time. There will be some opportunity for clients with certain gynecologic problems to be seen via telehealth communication as well. We understand this is a hardship, but we have to reserve our resources for our pregnant and mother/baby clients.
  3. Birth: the center is open as normal for clients in labor.
    When labor starts, you will still call the midwife on call for labor triage and you will be screened over the phone for history of illness. We are only allowing one birth partner and a certified doula to accompany mothers during labor and birth. Once you arrive at the center, you and your labor partner(s) will be screened for fever and symptoms in the lobby. Anyone with a fever will not be permitted to enter — and if it is the laboring client, we will need to transfer to the hospital immediately.
    Staff will be in full PPE when present during labor and birth. Clients and their support person(s) will be required to wear masks when staff are present (which is usually intermittently during labor, and constantly during birth). We recognize that this is a difficulty for many of our parents, and we are happy to discuss why it’s so important and share some of the success stories we’ve witnessed. We know this one is tough.
  4. Home visits: unfortunately, we will be suspending ALL home visits for the time being.
  5. Postpartum visits: Mothers and their new babies  will come to the center for their 24-36 hour visit after birth as well as the regular interval of mother/baby appointments (typically 3 days, 2 weeks and 4 weeks after birth). The baby’s other parent may accompany the mother and baby into the center (following the above protocols) for these postpartum visits through the first week after birth.
  6. Classes: all in-person classes in the birth center are suspended. Instructors are teaching live essential classes on the Zoom platform. You will still be required to attend the class via video for all required classes. Please check your email often for instructions (always check your spam folder if you haven’t received reminders/links at least one week, 24 hours, and one hour before your class starts). If you have not received instructions on how to attend a class, please email your instructor. Find out more HERE.
  7. Support Groups: several of our support groups are still active virtually. Click HERE to find out more and schedule one (you must sign up to receive the Zoom link).
  8. Doula teas, community partner classes and gatherings: all are cancelled until further notice. You can reach the New Life Doulas for a free private consultation HERE.
  9. New client tour and orientations: All tours are virtual and live, so families may attend from home on specific dates. You can access more information and sign up for our Virtual Tour HERE.
  10. Staff: we have decreased the number of employees working at the center to one midwife, one nurse and 1-2 administrative support persons. All other employees will be working from home and available to clients via phone and video. Dar a Luz employees who are working at the center, including clinical and administrative personnel, will be screened for fever in the lobby with a thermometer every day as they arrive for work. Social distancing will be practiced by every staff member. Any staff member found to have a fever will be sent home and isolated for 14 days. Staff who think they are getting sick or who are sick will not be allowed to come to work. Staff are requested not to shake hands with clients and their guests and will only touch you for whatever examination is required for your care. Staff members will wash their hands before and after touching a client and as needed in between clients.
  11. Cleaning: we have increased our sanitation between clients and throughout the day in hopes of decreasing any risk of contracting the virus from surfaces. This includes using maximum strength wipes and disinfectants on all surfaces throughout the day. Toys in the lobby and other waiting areas have been removed. Pens will be disinfected throughout the day. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the center.
  12. Milk Depot: at this time, we can still accept milk from donors who donate to the Denver Milk Bank. We cannot accept milk from informal donors at this time and will not be able to accommodate informal milk sharing.

We understand that these are strict measures, and that they impact not only our clients but our staff and entire organization. Our goal is always to be proactive instead of reactive and we hope these measures that increase social distancing will keep our birth center free of COVID-19 and operating as close to usual as possible so that we can continue to offer safe out-of-hospital birth. Dar a Luz staff are healthy, organized, optimistic and ready to take action and make changes as needed.

One final note: We can’t let our guard down now. With a gradual re-opening, we might even be at more risk now than we were before. More people are out, more businesses are opening. My staff and I believe that wearing masks can greatly reduce the transmission of this virus and I thank and applaud everyone for the willingness to do so—remember this keeps you safe and it keeps us safe and open to care for you. The changes we have made are now the new normal and will remain that way until the threat of this virus to our most vulnerable has been mitigated. Thank you for taking the time to read this. We are in this together. 

With gratitude,

Abigail Lanin Eaves, CNM, Executive Director

Phone numbers for clients include:

Main phone number: 505.924.2229

Tracy (front desk), extension 0

Registered nurse/triage line, extension 5

Midwife on call (established clients ONLY), extension 8

If you have further questions or concerns that have not been answered in this policy, you may call Abigail directly using extension 2.

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