Midwifery businesses booming during coronavirus outbreak in the Ozarks

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- Mary Walsh is the owner and a Mid-Wife at Family Birth and Wellness in Springfield. Walsh says she has been seeing up to five expecting mothers a day wanting to switch from a hospital delivery.

"Because they are worried about being exposed to germs unnecessarily at this time if they are already healthy...and then for other people they are uncertain about the restrictions put in place on the day they go into labor," said Walsh.

Walsh says women as late into their pregnancy as 36 weeks are considering having a natural birth, one without an epidural. But, Walsh says in order to be considered, the patient must be in good health and at low risk.

"The main thing is we want people to bring us their main records, we need to see records if this is the end of the pregnancy, we need to make sure they don't have diabetes or something like that," said Walsh.

Right now, both Mercy and Cox hospital in Springfield are only allowing one person during the delivery and no one at appointments. Walsh says she is allowing two people at the time of birth.

"The husband might not be comfortable supporting them through natural labor so if they are using a doula or someone that is really going to support them, I feel like its really important not to cut those people out of the picture," said Walsh.

But, health officials, at Cox Health say it is still safe for women to give birth in their hospitals.

"We are making things safer and safer and more restrictive every day," said Steven Edwards.

Steven Edwards, President, and CEO of Cox Health, says protecting both patients and healthcare workers is a top priority.

"That's why every visitor gets a temperature check and every employee gets a temperature check right now," said Edwards.

While Walsh says she is still accepting new clients, she doesn't know if she will be able to continue to do so if the virus continues.

"Potentially we could expand our staff a little more, but we are not at full capacity yet, but it's amazing how many people are switching quickly," said Walsh.

Free Resources for expecting mothers: The Doula Foundation is offering free virtual classes!