What’s Your Why? Dr. Vanessa Poliquin’s Story
Many days Vanessa Poliquin delivers joy. An obstetrician gynecologist and specialist in reproductive infectious diseases, Poliquin has continued to bring new babies into the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But over the past 15 months Poliquin’s work – and the experiences of her patients – have been anything but normal.
“A birth is a life moment that is highly celebrated but right now, the pandemic has forced us to make hard decisions in order to continue providing excellent clinical care for women and new babies,” said Poliquin. “This includes limitations on visitors, restrictions around having partners join prenatal appointments and ultrasounds, and other changes that can really impact a parent’s vision of their birth experience.”
One of those other changes is the ongoing need to restrict visitors in hospital once a new baby is born.
“Telling parents that their family members, including older siblings, cannot come to the hospital to meet their new brother or sister for the first time is very difficult for everyone involved,” said Poliquin. “We want more than anything to get back to normal. To allow patients the freedom to bring support to their appointments, to their labour and delivery and to once again welcome family members into the hospital to celebrate these new lives.”
“Vaccines are our way back to being able to have these normal birth events,” she adds.
In her clinical role, Poliquin is a source of factual information and advice for women on a wide variety of topics, including COVID-19. In recent months, more and more of those COVID questions have centered around the benefits of women receiving the vaccine during pregnancy, including questions about the impact of vaccination on fertility.
“We know the vaccines are effective and can prevent the most serious illness,” said Poliquin. ““There’s a lot of good information available but also misinformation on the internet and social media so we really encourage patients to speak to their health care provider and to rely on facts rather than fiction.”
For her part, Poliquin jumped at the chance to be vaccinated. When asked for her reasons why, she doesn’t skip a beat. “Hugs,” she says. “I want my children to be able to hug their grandparents and great-grandparents again.”