Should you use PPE in the home setting when caring for the parent/infant dyad?

If you haven’t taken or finished the COVID-19: Best Practices for Lactation Consultants, Perinatal Educators and Doulas, please know that this blog and the ones that follow are ADDENDUMS and SUPPLEMENTS to the course.   They will refer to the essential information in that program.

 As we developed a communication plan for our students, we have a weekly briefing newsletter (which you are welcome to sign up for, even if you’ve yet to take the course), and these supplements.  We decided to post some of these publicly.  If you’re new to WisdomWay Institute, we hope this information may be of benefit to you. 

But please don’t stop there to learn what you need to know in order to keep your communities healthy.  We must work together to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and meet the needs for reproductive health services.   For the sake of time and the urgency to get out new information, you will see places where we refer to the course.

For those providers who are working with pregnant persons or new parents and their newborns, balancing the directive “assume your pregnant patient is an infected person” (Breslin, et. al, 2020) with the need to prioritize access of PPE for those who work in medical centers directly caring for actively symptomatic infected persons leaves us with logistic, moral and ethical dilemmas.

With a catastrophic shortage in essential PPE in medical centers, a lack of centralized distribution, and no end in sight, how do we make rational arguments for use?

Lactation consultants and postpartum care providers, pediatric nurses completing home visits, out of hospital midwives, doulas, and other community health workers are filling an important role in the health care system, systems that are hitting critical surge levels in most communities.

How can we deliver care safely and mitigate the spread of coronavirus, while not burdening the supply chain or using supplies needed elsewhere?

  1. Continue to provide virtual care whenever possible.
  2. Even during essential visits, plan to limit direct close contact.  For instance, if you’ve come to do a weight check, perform your history and address the questions in a virtual contact prior, and limit the duration of the time in the home or within a 6 foot radius.
  3. If you need to examine an infant or the mother and gloving is appropriate, can you use one instead of two?
  4. For midwives, can you do any cleanup with the same gloves following an exam? Frontline workers use the same gloves to care for patients all day.  How can you keep your 1 pair/day limit?
  5. What PPE can you make yourself?  Do you have access to immediately washing hands instead of gloving?
  6. If you’re using gloves, make sure that they are used only when essential in direct care, or in transmission-specific precautions, are used extremely sparingly and are used properly.
  7. Don’t wait to utilize a sparing approach- see who is in need in your community.

We’re adding new resources to our COVID-19:Best Practices Course for Lactation Consultants, Doulas & Perinatal Educators in our “Making Do” section and encourage you to not only look at alternatives and techniques for creating your own PPE, but please join the mission to deliver needed materials to your local health centers.


shortage of PPE illustrated

The national stockpile is catastrophically insufficient.


Here is a tutorial on the proper technique for using and removing gloves.  Please be actively engaged in getting needed supplies and equipment to the frontline workers in your community.  If you want to learn more about reproductive health in the time of COVID-19, please sign up for our newsletter, or take our COVID-19: Best Practices Course for Lactation Consultants, Doulas, & Perinatal Educators. 


In upcoming videos we’ll share tips on making your own PPE, both for your use and when it can be of benefit to health workers in your community.







"Let’s do this work together to bring the kind of caring presence that heals "

Karen Laing