By Michael Kirwin, MD
Delivering your baby brings some anxiety, even in normal times. The COVID-19 crisis has added an extra level of anxiety. While you might not have thought about COVID-19 until recently, you may rest assured that CentraState has taken the appropriate measures to ensure that you and your baby have a safe delivery.
Taking Precautions to Reduce Risk
When it became apparent that the coronavirus was going to affect our state, OB/GYN department chairs throughout the entire state met virtually to discuss how we could protect our patients and allay expectant mothers’ fears. We developed standardized procedures that are in effect at all hospitals throughout the state.
For your safety and the safety of other patients and their babies:
- Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and those who are showing symptoms of the virus will stay in isolation rooms in a separate area of the labor and delivery unit, away from non-positive patients.
- You’ll be able to have one support person during labor. This can be a parent, friend, or partner. This visitor must be the same person during your entire stay (there is no switching out).
- You and your support person will be screened before coming into the unit. If your support person has a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, they won’t be allowed to stay with you.
- Once on the unit, you won’t be able to leave or have your belongings delivered to you, so be sure to bring everything you need for your stay when you arrive for admission.
- Your support person must remain in your room at all times. Meal trays will be delivered to the room for your guest as well.
- If your support person needs to leave, they will not be allowed to return. No alternate support person will be allowed.
- Both you and your support person will need to wear masks when our staff members are in your room.
- Your temperature and that of your support person will be taken several times a day.
- If your support person’s temperature reaches 100 degrees at any time during your stay, they will be asked to leave and will not be able to return.
- You will be asked to stay in your room at all times and use your call bell to communicate your needs.
- Please leave your car seat in your vehicle. When you have been discharged from the hospital, both you and your baby will be taken downstairs in a wheelchair.
While the virus is quite new, as of now there is little evidence that mothers with the virus can pass it to their babies before birth. However, it is possible to expose your baby to the virus after he or she is born. To protect your baby, contact with him may be limited if you are COVID positive or symptomatic, to reduce his risk of contracting the virus.
To further protect patients, new mothers will be discharged from the hospital as soon as it is safe to do so, typically 24 hours after a vaginal delivery and two days after a Cesarean delivery.
You should discuss any specific concerns that you have with your doctors and caregivers.
Becoming a new parent is stressful enough. You should feel safe about delivering your baby at CentraState during—and after—this crisis.
Dr. Michael Kirwin, MD, is the chair of obstetrics and gynecology at CentraState Medical Center.