Delivering a Baby During COVID-19
We know that this time of uncertainty is particularly nerve-wracking for parents-to-be. Clinic Sofia wants to assure you that our providers and your hospital are prepared and running as normal as possible to ensure you have a safe delivery. To respond to your questions and concerns, we asked Dr. Erin Stevens and Dr. David Clay to offer some information you may find helpful about delivering a baby during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Question: I am in my third trimester, do I still need to come into the clinic to be seen for weekly visits? Can I do a virtual visit?
While we are converting some prenatal care visits to virtual visits, we want to continue to see you intermittently to check your blood pressure and listen to the baby’s heart rate. We will be following a schedule for the time being of essentially alternating in-person visits with virtual visits. After 38 weeks, we will see you weekly in the office.
If at any time you feel uncomfortable coming into the office, we are happy to accommodate with virtual visits when safe to do so. If you have any concerns about the pregnancy, please call us so we can determine if you need to be seen in-person and whether that would be best in the office or in the hospital. It can be nice to have the reassurance of the bedside fetal heart rate check by your doctor, but if you are feeling normal fetal movement, then that itself is reassuring that baby is okay and may not necessitate a trip to the clinic.
Question: I am nervous about going to the hospital right now. What can I expect?
Please know that your labor and delivery experience should be largely the same as it would be prior to COVID-19. The only major difference it that only one visitor is currently allowed for labor and delivery and postpartum. This must be the same visitor throughout the hospital stay – no swapping in and out. Therefore, it is important to note that any patients who were planning on having doulas or other family/friends at bedside to assist during labor will not be able to have them present at this time.
Question: Will I be putting myself and my baby at risk by delivering at the hospital?
The hospitals are exercising utmost precautions. Currently, M Health Fairview Bethesda Hospital is serving as the care center for COVID19 patients in the state, rather than admitting such patients throughout other hospitals and risking exposure to others.
Question: I am not familiar with the hospital delivery area and can’t tour the hospital ahead of time due to COVID-19 restrictions, is there a virtual tour?
We will continue to send updated instructions as far as parking and entering the hospital. There is currently not a virtual tour available, but this may become available soon. If you have never been to the hospital, please know that labor and delivery and the associated triage/maternal assessment centers are located on the second floor of both Fairview Southdale Hospital and Maple Grove Hospital.
Question: Is there a special entrance for labor & delivery patients?
At Maple Grove Hospital, the patients should enter through the main entrance.
At Fairview Southdale Hospital, patients should park in the East Parking Ramp and enter the hospital via Door 6 by the ED.
Again, we will continue to send updates regarding this.
Question: How can I share my experience with loved ones due to the visitor restriction policies?
The hospitals understand that it is a difficult circumstance to prohibit visitors and additional guests during your stay. Therefore, both Fairview Southdale Hospital and Maple Grove Hospital have eased their prior restrictions regarding video recording so you may use any video chatting service to allow friends and family members to be a part of your hospital experience.
Am I more susceptible to getting sick with COVID-19?
For up-to-date information on COVID19 and pregnancy, go to https://www.pregnancycovid19.com/.
Unfortunately, we do not know at this time how COVID-19 impacts pregnancy. So far, it does not seem that pregnant women are more likely to contract the virus or to experience worsened symptoms. There is no current evidence for transmission from moms to babies in the womb.
Please exercise precautions. Stay home as much as possible. Wash your hands frequently. If you must be in public areas, distance yourself from others and use hand sanitizer after touching high-contact surfaces (such as elevator buttons). Avoid anyone who is sick.