For the past few months we’ve been living in a scary time. We worry about the possibility of contracting COVID-19, or someone we love contracting it. It also has been inconvenient dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus, such as having to postpone important events, get emergency care at a hospital during this time, and of course, delivering a baby. As a birth mother, you don’t just worry about your health, but also your baby’s, and the health of any potential visitors you might have after the delivery. So, what can be expected when having a baby at a hospital during this difficult time?
Adoption Choices of Florida is here to walk you through the hospital experience of delivering a baby during COVID-19.
Stay Up to Date for Prevention and Safety
As birth mothers who are worried about possible infections, the first step is to do your research. One important thing to remember is that information and regulations regarding COVID-19 will change depending on new research. It’s also important to read the most updated information with a grain of salt, as there are many implications to scientific studies, as well as misleading data. According to recent studies, pregnant women are just as likely to contract the virus as any other woman in their same age group. However, those who contract the virus, have a greater risk towards developing complications. Also, African American and Hispanic pregnant women are most likely to get infected. It is also not known how the baby can be affected if it contracts the virus from the mother.
After reading the most updated information about the virus, it is recommended to revise your birth plan or make a plan around the precautions for contracting the virus. Some things to revise or have in mind before the birth are:
Does your hospital have the best protocols/regulations for you and your baby?
How many people can be present during your labor? Who do you want present during the birth?
Will you want to have guests after the delivery? Does the hospital allow it?
Will you have any virtual support? Does the hospital have good WiFi access?
What is the plan if I test positive for the virus?
Hospital Safety Regulations during COVID-19
To answer these and more questions while making your birth plan, it is recommended that you call your hospital or visit their website to get informed about the current protocol in place, as well as calling your doctor to ensure that they will be available to deliver your baby. Also, ask your hospital what the protocol is for the entry of your significant other, doula or family members.
As an example, the Memorial Healthcare System in Florida has procedures such as:
Only allowing 1 support person per birth mother
Both the birth mother and support person will be screened for COVID-19 and given a mask when checking in
It is preferred for the support person to stay in the hospital for the majority of the time until after the discharge of the birth mother
Limited entrances in the hospital
Testing newborns for COVID-19
Some other general regulations you can expect from hospitals are:
You and your support person might get tested as often as every day
Wearing a mask and sanitizing your hands when holding your baby
Birth mothers may be required to self isolate for at least 14 days, or as long as you get to 37 weeks.
If scheduled for a c-section or an induced birth, you may be rescheduled, especially if you have symptoms
Rise of at-home births
Due to birth mothers’ worries about possibly contracting the virus, many people in the recent months have considered or done at-home births. This decision not only comes because of the risk of contracting the virus, but also as a consequence of hospitals not having enough room, or medical staff, which pose a greater risk for the birth mother and the baby.
Whether choosing a hospital birth or an at-home birth, the important thing is to have a detailed plan. If opting for a hospital birth, take a look at their website or call and ask for their current regulations. It would be also helpful to ask them about their current capacity at the hospital. Keep a list of at least 3 hospitals you can go to on the day of your delivery.
If choosing an at home birth, do your research and talk to your potential midwife or doula, to discuss the procedures you prefer for delivering your baby. Also, keep a list of hospitals you would like to go to in case there are complications.
What if I test positive for COVID-19 before giving birth?
For birth mothers who suspect they have COVID-19, the medical staff is prepared to deliver your baby safely with the proper care and equipment. When you deliver your baby, you may be able to have your baby in the same room, albeit fromt a reasonable distance. It is also recommended that the baby spends more time in the nursery to prevent infection. If you have severe symptoms, you might not be able to have contact with the baby at all.
Delivering a baby during COVID-19
Times like these are especially stressful to birth mothers. However, it’s important to keep up with your prenatal care. Whether it’s going to doctor’s appointments or limiting your exposure towards news about the coronavirus, prenatal care is an important part of this process. It is also important to stay home as much as possible, as well as to follow proper protocols such as: disinfecting everything that goes into your house, not touching your face, wearing a mask, etc.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 make sure to call your healthcare provider as soon as possible for further instructions on how to proceed.
If you are a birth parent considering adoption, and have any questions or concerns about the process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. For more information on adoption, visit us at Adoption Choices of Florida or call us at: 800-985-8108