Preparing for Birth during COVID-19

The top things to know

If you are expect­ing, you may be feel­ing uncer­tain about what to antic­i­pate when you go into labor. Rest assured that the health and safe­ty of you and your baby are the high­est pri­or­i­ty. Mater­nal Fetal Med­i­cine Obste­tri­cian Gyne­col­o­gist (OB/GYN), Kevin Mad­sen, MD, answers ques­tions and address­es com­mon con­cerns about deliv­er­ing dur­ing a glob­al pandemic. 

What should I pack?

Ensur­ing that you have the essen­tial items you and baby will need dur­ing your hos­pi­tal stay can go a long way in pro­vid­ing addi­tion­al com­fort. Although many hos­pi­tals are allow­ing moms and babies to go home ear­li­er, it’s impor­tant to bring the essen­tials you may need for your stay as there may be restric­tions on how often your sup­port per­son can leave the hos­pi­tal. Take time choos­ing things that you and your part­ner need as well as items that will pro­vide you with com­fort and peace of mind. Items to con­sid­er include: 

Essen­tial Items 

  • Face mask
  • Com­fort­able cloth­ing, under­wear and non-slip socks
  • Toothbrush/​toothpaste
  • Hairbrush/​hair ties or clips
  • Phone/​charger

Com­fort Items

  • Your pil­low
  • Cozy robe and/​or slippers
  • Warm blan­ket
  • Favorite toi­letries such as lotion or lip balm
  • A book to read

What can I expect at the hospital?

While hos­pi­tal poli­cies vary, many are mak­ing adjust­ments such as how many vis­i­tors you may have and/​or how long you and your baby will stay in the hos­pi­tal post-deliv­ery. Sev­er­al new mea­sures have been imple­ment­ed to min­i­mize risk, pro­vid­ing addi­tion­al pro­tec­tion for patients and clin­i­cal staff. 

When arriv­ing at the hos­pi­tal, you will be screened for COVID-19. Your sup­port per­son can expect to have their tem­per­a­ture checked and receive a symp­tom screen­ing. The results of your screen­ing will deter­mine the lev­el of per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment (PPE) your med­ical team wears dur­ing your labor and deliv­ery. These results will also deter­mine the lev­el of inter­ac­tion you may have with staff and vis­i­tors dur­ing your stay. 

Masks and pro­tec­tive equip­ment
Espe­cial­ly dur­ing a glob­al pan­dem­ic, the health and safe­ty of you and your baby are the high­est pri­or­i­ty. While many aspects of your labor and deliv­ery expe­ri­ence may be no dif­fer­ent than pre-COVID-19, you can expect that your care team will be wear­ing more PPE. The lev­el of their pro­tec­tive gear will range from a mask and gloves to full PPE. If it is con­firmed that you are pos­i­tive for COVID-19, you may be required to wear a pro­tec­tive mask dur­ing var­i­ous stages of your labor. 

Sup­port & vis­i­tors
Many hos­pi­tals will allow one sup­port per­son dur­ing your labor, deliv­ery and post-deliv­ery stay. Some restric­tions, such as not allow­ing your sup­port per­son to leave the grounds, are in place in some hos­pi­tals. Check with your hos­pi­tal pri­or to deliv­ery to make your­self aware of any pro­to­cols they may have. 

Post-deliv­ery stay
Before COVID-19, patients with vagi­nal deliv­er­ies were dis­charged 48 hours post-deliv­ery and 72 hours for those who deliv­ered via cesare­an sec­tion. Many hos­pi­tals are offer­ing an ear­li­er dis­charge at 24 hours as med­ical­ly appropriate. 

What do I tell my loved ones who plan to visit?

Nav­i­gat­ing the ear­ly days of par­ent­hood can be chal­leng­ing in the best of times. For many, the birth of a baby is a time of cel­e­bra­tion with fam­i­ly and friends. With shel­ter-in-place orders being lift­ed in many com­mu­ni­ties, now is a good time to decide on how you plan to han­dle those who would like to vis­it and meet your new baby. If you decide that you are com­fort­able with allow­ing close friends and/​or fam­i­ly to vis­it, con­sid­er estab­lish­ing guide­lines for guests such as: 

  • Lim­it­ing the num­ber of visitors 
  • Keep­ing vis­its short 
  • Ask­ing them to avoid kiss­ing or touch­ing the baby’s face
  • Wear­ing a mask 
  • Wash­ing their hands 

Talk with your OB/GYN about your con­cerns and ask any ques­tions you may have. Know­ing what to expect as you pre­pare for the deliv­ery of your baby can go a long way in sooth­ing your fears. To sched­ule an appoint­ment with your obste­tri­cian or gyne­col­o­gist, call 1.888.MY.DMG.DR (1.888.693.6437) or sched­ule an appoint­ment online.

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