Childbirth is a wonderful and exciting time in many women’s lives. But with the appearance of COVID-19 in our community, expectant mothers may be feeling increased anxiety about what this means for their childbirth experience and the safety of their newborn.
To help expectant parents understand what they can anticipate during and after the delivery of their child, M. Elizabeth Bostock, MD, Medical Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rochester Regional Health, provides advice for pregnant women and answers questions about labor and delivery at Rochester Regional Health childbirth centers.
Q: Will my baby be taken from me after I give birth?
No, your baby will not be taken from you right after birth.
Women who have not tested positive for COVID-19 and are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19 will be able to keep their baby with them and can potentially have the baby placed on their chest after delivery.
If a woman has tested positive for COVID-19 or is showing symptoms, the baby won’t be immediately placed on the mother’s chest after delivery. Instead, we will discuss with the mother whether she would prefer to isolate from her baby or have her baby remain in the same room with her while keeping six feet away.
Q: Can my baby sleep in the same room as me?
If you have not tested positive for COVID-19, your baby can sleep in the same room as you.
If the mother has tested positive for COVID-19, the decision can be made to allow the newborn to sleep in the same room as the mother. However, the baby has to be kept six feet away at all times.
Q: Will my partner be allowed in the delivery room during delivery?
Yes. One person who has not tested positive for COVID-19 and is not showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed in the delivery room with you.
Any chosen support person will be screened at the door to ensure that they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19.
We recommend that women have a back-up support person available so that if their support person screens positive for COVID-19, they have someone else who can be there with them.
Other than the one support person, no visitors are allowed during labor and delivery.
Q: Is my partner or support person allowed to spend the night with me?
Yes. We expect that the support person will stay for the duration of the mother’s hospital stay.
Q: Is my baby at a greater risk for COVID-19 infections?
At this time, there is no evidence that newborns are at a greater risk of COVID-19 infections.
Anyone with a newborn can substantially decrease the risk of COVID-19 infection by practicing social distancing and once home, keeping their baby at home, and refraining from having visitors in their home.
We recommend that newborns and their families do not allow visitors at all for at least the first month. We recommend you introduce your newborn to people at a safe distance through a window or door.
Q: Should I give birth at home instead of at the hospital?
No, we do not recommend giving birth at home.
In a hospital, professionals know how to take care of you and your baby. We have an extensive set of support in place, making a hospital the safest place to give birth.
Women should keep in mind that if they run into complications while giving birth at home, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there may be fewer support systems available to transport them to the hospital.
So, it is not a good idea to plan a home delivery during this time.
Q: Should I wear a face mask when I come in for delivery?
Yes, that would be a great idea. It is recommended to wear a face mask every time you leave the house.
Q: How are cesarean section births handled differently during COVID-19?
In order to protect staff and patients, all staff are wearing a mask at all times. Other than that, the procedure is the same as it always has been in the past.
Q: What extra precautions is RRH taking to ensure the safety of my baby and I?
All staff are wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At this time, we are not allowing visitors other than the single support person who will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
Our screening protocols for symptoms of COVID-19 are very strict. Any support person who screens positive is immediately sent home and the mother would then be tested for COVID-19.
In the case that a mother has tested positive or is suspected of having COVID-19 is isolated. We have a set of protocols for taking care of those patients separately in the unit to reduce exposure to other patients.
Q: As an expectant mother, what else should I know?
It is recommended that you continue to socially isolate, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy. Do the best you can to have other people run your errands and do other outside of home tasks. If you must go outside, stay six feet away from any other person and wash your hands frequently.
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