There is nothing more exciting and life-changing than bringing a child into the world. Of course, it can also be stressful, even when conditions are ideal. When a contagious illness is in the news, families naturally feel some additional worry.
Some expectant moms are re-examining their birth plans in light of news about COVID-19. Here is some important information that may help.
Birthing safety in the hospital setting
At Bon Secours hospitals, providing safe care is always our top priority, and we’re continuing our commitment to care for mothers and babies safely.
“The best place in the United States to give birth to your baby is in a hospital with the care provider [doctor/midwife] and care team who knows about you and your pregnancy,” says Shirley Wise, clinical service specialist for maternal-neonatal services.
Shirley emphasizes that all of our care providers and hospital staff follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and are doing all they can to provide exceptional and safe patient care.
Bon Secours facilities now screen all patients and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19, and the number of visitors is limited for your protection. These are important precautions to help ensure that moms and babies come into contact with as few people as possible — they’ll protect you and your newborn baby.
We actually advise new moms to spend time with as few people as possible during the weeks prior to delivery and after returning home, too. Gatherings of friends and relatives or even drop-by visits should wait — whether you’re in the hospital or at home.
Shirley explains that between Bon Secours’ normal precautions that protect patients and the new precautions added during the COVID-19 outbreak, the hospital is following current CDC recommendations.
The childbirth experience
The childbirth experience might be different than anticipated for new moms who had planned for multiple family members to be present. Some pregnant women are exploring home birth as an alternative to the hospital.
The potential safety of giving birth in a home environment depends on each individual’s health factors. However, the best option for any woman who has high-risk factors (such as blood pressure issues, diabetes or prior caesarean section) is definitely the hospital, where expert clinicians and specialized equipment are available.
Shirley says any woman considering giving birth at home should speak to their physician or midwife about their specific risk factors and birth plan.
For women who feel strongly about having loved ones nearby, there are many ways to keep in touch.
“We’re more than open to whatever technology you can use to stay connect with family,” says Shirley.
Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, phone calls, text messaging, etc., are all options to help support women as they share their birth experience with loved ones in real time. To protect your privacy, we do request that no videos be taken of the actual birth.
Prenatal and postnatal care
Even with COVID-19, prenatal care should be a priority. Many health care providers are changing their office processes to provide extra precautions. For example, some appointments are being conducted by phone or video.
To avoid grouping people in one waiting area, a practice might have patients call from the parking lot on arrival. When the doctor or midwife is ready to see them, a nurse sends the patient directly to a private room.
Many medical practices and hospitals are adjusting their routines for additional patient safety, so you may want to call ahead before your next appointment to confirm what to do.
You may find that in-person classes and tours have been canceled for now. However, education is still important! Your local Bon Secours labor and delivery department staff can refer you to alternative options, such as virtual classes on childbirth, infant care, breastfeeding and more.
We’re here for you
We want you to know that our physicians, midwives and nurses are here to provide you with the best possible birth experience. Please call your local Bon Secours hospital if you have any questions or concerns.
Stay updated on what Bon Secours is doing related to COVID-19.