Adaptation of independent midwives to the COVID-19 pandemic: A national descriptive survey.
The main objective of this survey was to identify how independent midwives, mainly working in primary care, adapted their practices at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in France. Our assumption was that this practice adaptation would vary according to both geographical area (timing of pandemic effect) and whether they practiced alone or in a group.We conducted an online national survey of independent midwives in France from March 16-23, 2020.All districts in mainland France and the overseas territories.Respondents from the population of all independent midwives working in France.The primary outcome measure was the proportion of midwives reporting that they had adapted their practices to the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rank, in order of frequency, of the postponed or cancelled activities.Of the 1517 midwives who responded, i.e., 20.3% of the independent midwives in France, 90.6% reported adapting one or more of their practices . The main adjustment was the postponement or cancellation of consultations deemed non-essential, listed in descending order: postpartum pelvic floor rehabilitation (n = 1270, 83.7%), birth preparation (n = 1188, 78.3%), non-emergency preventive gynaecology consultation (n = 976, 64.3%), early prenatal interview (n = 170, 11.2%), and postnatal follow-up (n = 158, 10.4%).Without guidelines, each midwife had to decide individually if and how to adapt her practice. Postpartum pelvic floor rehabilitation and birth preparation have been strongly affected. The results of this national survey indicate that a large majority of midwives have adapted their practices, independently of the local course of the pandemic, and that this reduction of contacts with women raises questions in this period of anxiety about intermediate-term adaptations to guarantee the continuity and safety of care.This study’s results can be used to develop tools to handle cancelled consultations. Video, also called virtual, visits and coordination between independent practitioners and hospitals are probably the major challenges in the current context.