Many midwives carry their equipment in soft-sided bags, whether it be a rolling duffel, suitcase, or tote. It’s the equipment on the inside that needs a high standard of sanitization – after all, our bags aren’t typically coming into contact with bodily fluids or even touching a client right? A spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol or a washcloth dipped in a diluted iodine solution usually feels sufficient to clean the exteriors of our bags between births. But now in the midst of the pandemic, all of our typical precautions to keep our equipment and bags clean suddenly feel inadequate.
Like many of my colleagues, I’ve revamped my birth kit based on my new standards for sanitization for the duration of COVID-19’s presence in my community. I tried a few different configurations before finally settling on something that is both portable, organized, and extremely easy to clean thoroughly after each birth.
These 5 sturdy totes from Sterilite with latching lids hold all my equipment (minus my oxygen tank, which I’m carrying by itself right now), and can be completely sanitized with isopropyl alcohol or sani-wipes between births. They stack neatly in my car, and even with my inability to lift heavy things I can bring them inside easily – either by making 3 trips or by stacking them onto this collapsible dolly and rolling them all in at once (wiping down the entire thing including wheels upon reloading into the car).
Each box has a packing list, laminated and taped to the inside of the box so it can be clearly read from the outside of the tote.
Box #1 holds my delivery tray items including first line PPH medications, resuscitation tray items, cord blood collection supplies for Rh- clients, and gloves (non-steriles & water birth gloves).
Box #2 has vitals equipment, medications, newborn exam kit, sterile glove singles, and sterile lubricant packets.
Box #3 is IV supplies, LR and NS, res-q-vac, herbal tinctures, essential oils, suturing kit, other less used bits like amnihooks and catheters.
Box #4 has PPE, adult ambu and oxygen tubing, extra underpads, biohazard bags, storage clipboards with forms and stamp pads for footprints.
Box #5 contains items I don’t use often: bedpan, D5, glucometer, sterile kidney dish, mirror, and spares and extras of many supplies.
Individual kits that I used to keep in Hopkins cloth zip bags have been replaced with silicone reusable ziplock bags that are easily wiped down and can even be popped in the dishwasher if desired. Cleanup after births is fast and easy, and I leave feeling confident that I’m not transporting any potential virus particles.
What does your COVID-19 home birth kit look like? Have you found any tricks you’ll be continuing to use after the pandemic is over?