Childbirth and COVID-19: Keeping Expecting Mothers and Newborns Safe at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center
May 21, 2020
By: Earlene Reagan, Director, Women and Children Services
Pregnancy always comes with its share of anxiety and fear, but the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer of concerns for expecting families. If you will be delivering a baby during the pandemic, you likely have many questions about how delivery in the hospital may be different right now and how you can keep yourself and your baby healthy.
St. Joseph Regional Medical Center has always taken great pride in caring for expecting mothers and their babies and making sure that our community has access to great OB care. This dedication to our region’s growing families has continued throughout the pandemic and will go on long after this health crisis has passed.
We are committed to making sure that all moms and babies have the safest birthing experience possible, and we are taking every necessary precaution to protect our families in labor and delivery from exposure to COVID-19 and ensure the risk of infection expecting mothers and new babies is extremely low. Our extra precautions mean that some aspects of delivery will be as expected, but some may be a little different. The two main changes most families will experience are visitor restrictions and limited entry points to the hospital.
As part of our COVID-19 preparedness efforts, we have visitor restrictions hospital-wide. Laboring and postpartum mothers may have one healthy adult with them for their delivery and the duration of their hospital stay. This means that every woman will be able to have a companion for as long as they are in the hospital, but visits with the new baby and siblings and other loved ones will have to wait until mom and baby leave the hospital.
Our COVID-19 preparedness efforts also have limited entry to the hospital, closing some of our typical entrances. This means that expecting mothers and their support person should plan to access the facility through the north entrance of the hospital.
Additional measures St. Joe’s is taking to support and ensure the safety of our expecting mothers and newborns include:
- Screening everyone – employees, providers, patients and the limited permissible visitors currently allowed – who enter the building for symptoms of illness, fever, exposure and travel history, per CDC recommendations.
- Universal masking for all who enter the hospital.
- COVID testing for all OB inpatients upon arrival.
- Isolating any COVID-19-positive patients away from expecting mothers.
- Negative pressure rooms available for labor and delivery.
- PPE available for laboring and postpartum mothers.
- Limited access to food services; patients are encouraged to bring their own food and snacks.
- Closed waiting rooms. Your visitor should plan to stay in the room with you.
- Early discharges (24 hours vaginal and 48 hours cesarean), as long as mom and baby are doing well.
- Remote lactation support.
These measures have been implemented with great care, and we will continue to update them with the health and safety of our expecting mothers and families in mind.
In a time of uncertainty, the one thing all of our expecting families can be sure of is that our experienced OB staff members stand ready to help you on your journey to bring new life into the world. We are here to support you and keep you safe – today and every day the future holds.
You can find more information about COVID-19 and how St. Joe’s is responding at sjrmc.org or by contacting your care provider.