• 2021 Convention Program Committee Meeting – POSTPONED
  • AWHONN Board of Directors March Meeting – VIRTUAL
  • AWHONN on Capitol Hill – CANCELED and will be rescheduled as virtual event. Please see our message below.
  • Fetal Heart Monitoring Task Force – POSTPONED
  • Colorado Section Conference – CANCELED
  • Kansas Section Conference – CANCELED
  • Michigan Section Conference – CANCELED
  • Minnesota Section Conference – CANCELED
  • North Carolina Section Conference – CANCELED
  • Oklahoma Section Conference – CANCELED
  • Rhode Island Section Conference – POSTPONED; rescheduled to May 21, 2020
  • Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties & LA Valley AWHONN Chapter Conference – POSTPONED
  • Southern Arizona Chapter Conference – CANCELED
  • Syracuse Chapter Conference – POSTPONED; rescheduled to April 22, 2021
  • Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi Sections Joint Regional Conference – CANCELED
  • Utah Section Conference – POSTPONED; rescheduled to September 24-25, 2020
  • West Virginia Section Conference – CANCELED

Messages from AWHONN

UPDATE: March 26, 2020 

AWHONN’s Update on Oxygen Use for Fetal Resuscitation during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Perinatal nurses routinely initiate interventions to maximize fetal oxygenation, including maternal position change, decreasing uterine activity by adjusting or administering medications as ordered, administering intravenous fluids, assisting with amnioinfusion, and modifying pushing techniques. When some or all of these measures have not resulted in improvement of the fetal heart rate pattern, maternal oxygen therapy has been suggested as an additional step. However, consensus on maternal oxygen administration as an intrauterine resuscitative measure is lacking. Since oxygen therapy may aerosolize COVID-19, consideration should be given to not initiating oxygen for fetal resuscitation. Oxygen therapy should still be considered to improve maternal oxygen status, if needed.

UPDATE: March 26, 2020 

AWHONN’s Update on the use of Nitrous Oxide (N2O) in Perinatal Settings

Perinatal teams are encouraged to consider the needs of the patients they serve during the COVID 19 pandemic to determine the best options for pain management.  AWHONN encourages those facilities currently offering N2O to check with the manufacturer of their N2O equipment for recommendations for use during the pandemic.  The Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP) has published this statement as part of their COVID 19 Toolkit: “There is currently insufficient information about the cleaning, filtering, and potential aerosolization of nitrous oxide in labor analgesia systems in the setting of COVID-19. As such, individual labor and delivery units should discuss the relative risks and benefits and consider suspending use.”

UPDATE: March 25, 2020 

AWHONN’s Update on Nursing Support in Labor during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary situation that is severely increasing the demands on perinatal nurses and hospitals throughout the country.  To promote the health and safety of healthcare personnel and patients, perinatal units may be limiting or excluding support persons for labor and birth. While these limitations will likely help to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among childbearing women, their families, and those providing their care, the limitations can cause concern, anxiety, and even fear for women who have planned for a support person to be with them during labor and in the postpartum period.

Advice to Share with Women:

  • Share the temporary restrictions on support persons as soon as they are in place so women can process this information and make arrangements for virtual contact options.
  • Acknowledge that they may be anxious or scared and reassure them that there will be continuous support from a labor nurse.
  • Recommend and allow women to use a laptop, tablet or phone to connect virtually with their support persons. Be prepared to field requests for assistance in this endeavor and give a response that is reassuring, helpful and reminds them that your first priority is their health and the health of their newborn.
  • Acknowledge the woman’s strength, courage, and bravery as they labor and give birth in the midst of a pandemic.
  • Recognize this may not be the labor and birth they expected or planned for, but it will be memorable in so many ways.

AWHONN Recommendations for Leaders:

Do not schedule elective inductions of labor so that the intensive nursing care (1-to-1) that is required for women receiving oxytocin can be avoided.

Continuous support in labor has been shown to improve birth outcomes for mothers and newborns. Therefore, AWHONN recommends that, whenever possible, attempts be made to provide one-to-one nursing care for laboring women when a unit is not permitting support persons.  However, AWHONN acknowledges the dynamic nature of nurse staffing during the pandemic and acknowledges that hospital administrators and nurse leaders are facing unprecedented challenges ensuing safe nurse staffing for childbearing women as well as all other inpatients.  Adequate nurse staffing is critical to providing safe care to mothers and newborns. AWHONN recognizes that everyone is doing their very best under extremely stressful conditions and has the best interests of mothers and newborns in mind.

UPDATE: March 23, 2020 

AWHONN Update on Hospital Staffing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

During times of healthcare crisis, nurses and providers may be asked to help staff other areas of the organization. Currently, there is no national standard for perinatal and mother/baby nurses floating to other areas. Therefore, it is up to each organization to determine how to best support staffing on a shift to shift basis. We understand you are concerned about transmission of infectious diseases, and it may be helpful to check with your state and county health departments as well as work with your infectious disease team internally. It will be important to review the national recommendations for healthcare workers from the CDC as this situation progresses.

UPDATE: March 23, 2020 

AWHONN’s Position on Doulas with Patients During COVID-19 Outbreak

AWHONN recognizes that doula services contribute to the woman’s preparation for and support during childbirth and supports hospital policies that allow for the presence of a doula during a woman’s active labor. AWHONN supports doulas as partners in care and acknowledges their ability to provide physical, emotional, and partner support to women. Each hospital must make decisions that are in the best interests of the health of the hospital team, patients and families. AWHONN nurses are on the frontline of delivering care, and we support those decisions and ask that nurses do all they can to protect themselves in this time of national crisis.

UPDATE: March 16, 2020 

It’s imperative that our members keep abreast of the critical information our physician colleagues are sending to their members.  AWHONN supports this recent statement to suspend elective surgeries until further notice.  “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists joins the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Urogynecologic Society, the Society of Family Planning, the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in providing the following recommendations for obstetrician-gynecologists regarding the American College of Surgeons’ statement on elective surgery and the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendation that hospitals suspend elective surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Read the Joint Statement on Elective Surgeries.

UPDATE: March 13, 2020 

Dear AWHONN Members:

As you know, the last week has seen a dramatic shift in the national response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response. The situation is extremely fluid and changes day to day. Given that, we would like to give you another update regarding AWHONN activities.

We continue to track the latest news from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, as well as state and local health organizations regarding this pandemic. We encourage you to stay up to date by visiting the CDC website.

In addition, you can see updates specific to AWHONN, including all national and section meetings in real time at awhonn.org/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/.   We will also continue to post updates on Member Central.

Yesterday, we made the painful decision to convert AWHONN on Capitol Hill into a virtual event. We know this is a special event that many members look forward to, but once again we are persevering in difficult circumstances. Please visit the link above for details about canceling your reservations. If you need further assistance you can reach out to AWHONN’s customer service.

In addition, many of our section leaders had to make the difficult decision to cancel their very important educational meetings. We are working with them to find ways to share their education virtually or through other methods so their great work will not be wasted.

Our national convention is to take place in June. At this point we are planning to see all of you in Phoenix. Should there be any changes, we will let notify everyone in as timely a manner as possible. Our hope is that circumstances will allow our meeting to go on as scheduled.

The well-being of AWHONN is always our main priority. Our staff members are now working remotely and will continue to do so next week and possibly longer. We appreciate your patience as our office staff transitions to this work plan and assure you that staff will continue to provide high quality service.

As health leaders, our communities are looking to us for guidance and comfort and your actions and leadership are paramount at this time. I implore each of you to keep your health, as well as the health of your loved ones and friends, at the forefront of your decision making over the coming days and weeks.

We will continue to monitor this situation carefully. We will immediately inform you of any changes to the AWHONN schedule. In the meantime, please stay informed by visiting the CDC’s website, your state’s health department messaging and by watching your respective media outlets. Once again, I ask that you use your best judgment when making decisions regarding your health.

Thank you for all that you do for your patients. And please be safe.

Rebecca Cypher, MSN, PNNP, President

UPDATE: March 13, 2020 

Update on Fetal Heart Monitoring Program

AWHONN recognizes the need for flexibility in teaching our fetal monitoring programs during this critical time. We also recognize the importance of keeping our front-line nurses healthy, so they are able to care for their patients.

The Fetal Heart Monitoring Task Force is working on solutions-based guidance to share with our fetal monitoring instructors on how, and which parts of each course may be conducted in a virtual manner. More detailed guidance is coming soon. Thank you for your patience.

UPDATE: March 12, 2020 

Notice about cancelation of AWHONN on Capitol Hill 2020

AWHONN HQ staff were looking forward to seeing nearly 100 AWHONN members at our annual advocacy day on March 29-31, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Due to the many responses received from members concerning their employers restricting travel, a decision has been made to convert the event this year to a Virtual Hill Day. In addition, House and Senate offices are declining requests for appointments due to concern about COVID-19.

All of those who registered will be issued a refund within 30 days.  We encourage you to contact the Phoenix Park Hotel at (202) 638-6900 to cancel your lodging reservations, and to contact your individual airline to cancel air travel.

We know you are committed to caring for women and babies and acknowledge you need to stay close to home to answer the call. All appointments with your elected officials will be converted to virtual (phone) meetings. Please stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for news about this virtual event and feel free to email staff at advocacy@awhonn.org with any questions.

On behalf of Becky Cypher, MSN, PNNP, President, the Board of Directors and staff, please accept our sincere thank you for your commitment and dedication to AWHONN.

UPDATE: March 11, 2020 

AWHONN’s Position on Doulas with Patients During COVID-19

AWHONN recognizes that doula services contribute to the woman’s preparation for and support during childbirth and opposes hospital policies that restrict the presence of a doula during a woman’s active labor.

“Doulas are not visitors and should not be blocked from caring for patients in the antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum period.  Most doulas have been contracted by patients weeks to months ahead of time and have established provider relationships.  They are recognized by AWHONN and ACOG as essential personnel and part of the maternity care team,” said AWHONN member Nancy Travis, MS, BSN, RN, BC, CPN, CBC, Florida Section Chair.

AWHONN supports doulas as partners in care and acknowledges their ability to provide physical, emotional, and partner support to women.  AWHONN opposes hospital policies that restrict the presence of a doula in the inpatient setting during an infectious disease outbreak.  Read more about AWHONN’s position on continuous labor support for every woman here.

UPDATE: March 10, 2020 

AWHONN on Capitol Hill COVID‐19 Statement

AWHONN headquarters is concerned by the COVID‐19 situation and are monitoring updates closely. With less than 3 weeks to go until our annual Hill Day event, we hope that the situation can be managed. At this point we do not plan to postpone or cancel the event. The only travel advisories issued thus far involve international travel, and the CDC’s prevention information only recommends avoiding travel if you are ill.

We understand that some participants have had to cancel due to travel restrictions enacted by their employer.  If you have registered to attend and are now unable, please let us know by emailing staff at advocacy@awhonn.org. We appreciate your patience and continued commitment to the event.  We vow to continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and have set Thursday, March 12 as the next status review date. In the meantime, we continue our work to make the 2020 AWHONN on Capitol Hill a great experience for all.

UPDATE: March 9, 2020 

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is creating a fair amount of uncertainty regarding the everyday health and travel practices for members, families, and the patients we care for daily. We want our members to remain vigilant, well-informed, and healthy. Therefore we recommend members closely monitor updates and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and state health departments. Our colleagues at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have written a practice advisory related to caring for our obstetric patients and we encourage our members to access this free resource. At this time, in-person meetings, such as our annual convention and AWHONN on Capitol Hill, are not being canceled. As the situation continues to evolve, AWHONN will continue to keep members updated via our website, Member Central, and Facebook. We encourage you to check back often for updates as we work through this very difficult situation.”

Rebecca Cypher, MSN, PNNP, President