Giving Birth Amid COVID-19

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Getting ready for labor is full of emotions, even outside of a pandemic. Between being excited and being nervous, being happy and being scared, it can be tough to know exactly where you stand within your feelings. Throw in COVID-19, and nerves might very well shoot through the roof.

The good news is that you don’t really have to panic! Hospital personnel, not surprisingly, are healthcare experts. This means, in particular, that they’re experts on the precautionary measures to take to make sure your delivery process is as low risk as possible. Being nervous about going into the hospital and, perhaps even more so, bringing your newborn into that environment during the pandemic is more than logical, and while midwives and doulas are able to assist with home births both in person and virtually, experts still say not only that the hospital is the safest place to give birth, but that contracting the virus specifically in the maternity ward is very unlikely. That being said, you might still be curious or nervous about what to expect given the context. While it is a slightly different experience, it’s nothing that you can’t handle. Let’s take a look at some of the things to expect when giving birth amid COVID-19.

Protective Gear

Medical personnel wearing protective gear to a certain extent is already pretty normal. In at least some context, we’re used to seeing people in hospitals wearing gloves, masks, and other sterilized gear. During COVID-19, chances are that all personnel will be fully geared up at all times—masks, gloves, covers, and all. Chances are, you’ll probably have to be masked up as well.

Protective gear will be a slightly different experience, but in all likelihood, it probably won’t make much of a difference. By now, we’ve all pretty much gotten used to seeing masks and covers just about everywhere.

Limited Visitors

This really depends on each hospital, but in a lot of places, you’re going to be limited to one support person. Whether this be a significant other, a doula, a parent, a friend, or whatever, is mostly up to you. It’s an important choice to consider, however, as this will be the only non-medical support you receive from start to finish.

Another thing to consider is that, in many places, this support person will not be permitted to leave and return at their leisure. They must stay in the hospital during the entire process, and likely won’t even be allowed to go into the hallways. Many places are offering room service precisely for this reason, but if your support person is going to need to leave at some point for whatever reason, it might be a good idea to consider somebody else who can stay the entire time.

Slight Hospital Changes

Beyond these, there are a few slight changes that might catch you off guard. A lot of hospitals are making sure you don’t stay any longer than you absolutely have to in order to avoid the risk of anyone catching COVID-19, which means you might be sent home earlier than usual. Also, to prevent too much movement and contact, your baby might have to stay with you rather than in the overnight nursery. None of these are awfully drastic changes, but they can be useful to be aware of.

In any case, with any change, what stays constant is that the hospital personnel are there to help you. Testimonials from all over are praising the care and attention being given during labor and delivery, especially given the context. No matter how nervous you get, remember to take a deep breath and remember that you’ll be surrounded by trained professionals that are there to make sure you’re as safe and healthy as possible.

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