A hospital birth during COVID-19 is safe, with the right precautions

July 16, 2020 | by Linda Anderson, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

Information about coronavirus is changing daily. For pregnant women, this can be unsettling. As your due date gets closer, questions emerge.

What can you expect when it’s time to deliver your baby? Are labor and delivery units safe right now? Will you or your baby be exposed to COVID-19?

In response to the pandemic, some pregnant women are considering giving birth at home or are asking for early induced labor to avoid being in the hospital during a possible surge of COVID-19 cases.

A planned hospital birth is still considered the safest option to deliver your baby. Most hospitals are taking many precautions to ensure that pregnant women aren’t exposed to ill patients and visitors.

What is Edward-Elmhurst Health doing to keep you and your baby safe during this pandemic? The following safety measures are in place in our hospital Birthing Centers:

  • COVID-19 testing. All pregnant women who come to our Birthing Centers get a COVID-19 test. We are separating COVID-19-positive patients to designated areas with dedicated care teams and implementing multiple safety measures to minimize risk of cross-contamination.

  • Visitor screening. Before entering our Birthing Centers, all staff, patients and visitors are screened for a temperature greater than 100 degrees, and masked. Our visitor policy may be adjusted for patients with known or suspected COVID-19.

  • Visitor restrictions. Expectant mothers in our Birthing Centers may have one partner or support person who may spend the night. Our pediatric patient population may have two parents. See the latest updates to our visitor policy.

  • Strict cleaning and disinfecting. We have employed extra staff who are specifically assigned to cleaning the Birthing Centers on a regular basis.

  • Staff personal protective equipment (PPE). All our staff take extra precautions and wear proper PPE, including surgical masks, when interacting with patients.

  • Masking. Expectant moms and partners are asked to wear masks in the hospital and in their private patient room when staff are in the room with them.

  • Physical distancing to limit exposure. Patient registration is being done remotely. Also, our team monitors the waiting areas to help ensure social distancing. 

How can moms protect their newborns when they get home? Take these precautions:

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. Cough or sneeze into your bent elbow.
  • Eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated and get enough sleep.
  • Avoid contact with people outside of your household (stay at least 6 feet away from others).
  • Don’t have visitors to your home. Screen extended family members.
  • Avoid anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid social gatherings and travel at this time.
  • Ask your doctor about having postnatal check-ups by phone or video conference.
  • Plan for a back-up caregiver in case you or your partner contract the virus.

Read the latest information from the CDC about pregnancy and COVID-19.

If you’re pregnant and you begin to have symptoms of COVID-19, the first step is to call your OB-GYN and/or primary care physician for further guidance.

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, your safety and well-being continue to remain our top priority. When you visit us, you will find consistent safety measures in place. Learn more about our Safety Commitment.

For updates on our planning and response efforts as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check EEHealth.org/coronavirus.

The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read the latest on COVID-19.

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