Pregnant During a Pandemic? What You Need to Know

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Q: [Adults] I’m pregnant and my due date is in a month. Should I be concerned about delivering in a hospital during this pandemic?

Travel plans can wait. Parties can wait. But your baby’s birth is not going to wait until COVID-19 passes.

While it is natural to feel anxious about delivering during a pandemic, know that hospitals are delivering healthy, happy babies to healthy, happy families every day. During these unusual times, new guidelines are keeping our newest patients safe.

Hospital Birth
Hospitals remain the safest place to deliver your baby. Strict infection control protocols protect newborns and new parents from infection, while offering pain management, reassurance and immediate, expert response should you need additional support. Virtual tours and classes are now available online.

Smaller Guest List
It’s natural to want to include as many people as possible in this joyous moment, but for the time being, most hospitals are allowing just one partner to visit maternity patients during their hospital stay. Limiting the number of visitors lowers the risk to newborns, to new moms and to the teams that care for them.

Shorter Hospital Stays
Getting home safely as quickly as possible has always been ideal. During the pandemic, hospitals are focused on minimizing the length of hospital stays. At Hoag, women who deliver vaginally with no complications can return home after 24 hours. Following an uncomplicated C-section, we recommend returning after two nights.

COVID in Labor?
At Hoag and other hospitals, women in labor who are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 enter through a separate entrance and are ushered into a delivery room that offers appropriate isolation. Wearing personal protective equipment, your team will hold your baby up for you for celebratory photos. But — for the safety of your newborn — we have put a pause on the initial skin-to-skin contact following childbirth for mother’s with COVID-19.

Lactation Help
In addition to lactation support during your hospital stay, there are now phone hotlines and virtual breastfeeding consultants who can help you with any concerns you might have in the days and weeks ahead. Hoag, for example offers an OB education hotline (949-764-2229) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer any questions related to your newborn, and we have partnered with Pacify, an app that connects new mothers to certified lactation consultants 24/7.

Obstetricians always prepare for the worst, so that we can achieve the best. This has never been truer than it is today. You deserve to have the most amazing experience in this life-changing journey. And you still can.

Dr. Rebecca Dominguez is the administrative director of Hoag’s OB Hospitalist Program. She’s been an OB/GYN for more than 17 years.

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