If you will be delivering your baby during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re probably wondering how the changes brought on by the virus (as well as the virus itself) might affect your labor and delivery. While it’s normal under the best of circumstances to feel anxious before childbirth, we want you to know that your delivery day can still be the joyous, personalized, unforgettable and safe experience you were dreaming of.
At Medical City Healthcare hospitals, you will be cherished and protected. No one knows this better than Emily Harris, one of our precious moms who faced a heartbreaking loss before giving birth to her son, Cason. Emily will soon be delivering her third child at Medical City Dallas.
“I have had quite a few people ask how I felt going into delivery during this pandemic,” Emily says. “Interestingly, while I know very well the implications that COVID-19 can bring, I have an incredible peace going into this delivery. Of course, no mother currently pregnant could have known what we would be facing at this time. Quite simply—our pregnancies cannot be rescheduled. Today, just a few weeks away from my delivery date, I am inwardly celebrating the labor and delivery nurses, physicians and frontline caregivers who will be alongside me as this child enters the world.”
Here’s what you might expect when having your baby during the coronavirus crisis and tips from Emily on how you can make the most of your experience.
Is it safe to give birth in a hospital during COVID-19?
Even during the pandemic, a hospital or accredited birthing center is still the safest place to have your baby, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). If your baby were to need an even higher level of care, having a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) just steps away is critical.
At Medical City Healthcare hospitals, our dedicated teams of caregivers work diligently to provide safe and individualized childbirth experiences for all of our pregnant patients. We know that no matter what is happening in the outside world, inside of our hospitals, every birth is unique and we will continue to provide a safe environment for the most important moments in a mother’s life.
If you are (or potentially could be) COVID-19 positive when you deliver, rest assured that we will implement the latest CDC guidance on pregnancy and breastfeeding to help ensure you and your baby are safe.
How will visitor limitations affect my delivery day?
It’s true that enhanced safety protocols mean that friends, family and even your other children will have to wait until you get home to meet the new arrival. Although you can have only one support person with you in the hospital (provided they pass the entrance screening)—you’ll have plenty of support.
Emily still has fond memories of the nurses and staff members who cared for her.
“I am fortunate to know that when I go into delivery, I will be surrounded by staff who truly care like family,” she says. “Simply knowing that the same labor and delivery nurses and physicians who were with me before grace those halls gives me comfort that I will be surrounded by people who genuinely care. I remember the hearts that touched mine and sincere gratitude fills my heart. In those moments, they became family.”
Medical City Healthcare labor and delivery nurses are there for you to lean on, and—if you let them—they will wrap their arms around you like family. This is truly their mission and their calling: Helping to bring new life into the world and taking care of the people who, for them at that moment, become like family.
Emily’s tip: You can also choose to think of this as a precious time for extra bonding with your newborn and your support partner.
“A silent reality is that mothers and their chosen support person will be given a gift that they quite possibly could not have known to ask for—the gift of serenity,” she says. “During one of life’s most impactful moments, I know we will remember it just as it was, only us. Our brand new child, silence, time and a resounding calm.”
Can I have a “natural” childbirth experience despite COVID-19?
Most of the choices and amenities that make your delivery day unique are still available to you. Exceptions include those that involve additional “visitors,” such as doulas. But you can pick and choose from a wide range of other personalized options, including those designed to make your childbirth experience more natural:
- Pain relief options such as aromatherapy/natural oils, hydrotherapy and birth balls
- Personalized music and lighting
- Instant skin-to-skin contact
- Watch-from-home online childbirth classes
- VIP/luxury suites
- Gourmet celebration meal
- Breastfeeding support
If you had your heart set on a doula or have already enlisted the services of one, consider asking if it’s possible to connect remotely via FaceTime or Zoom. Another option might be to work with your doula prior to going into labor to help you prepare for your big day.
How can I share my childbirth experience with friends and family?
We know that the birth of your baby is an important experience to share with family and friends. Consider using your personal device to connect with loved ones remotely while you are in the hospital. If your support person is feeling under the weather or you’d like to have a second support person, you can also use FaceTime or another app to connect with someone outside the hospital. However, we ask that you not stream video.
Remember that, although COVID-19 is playing a part in your childbirth experience, it’s a very small part. We are experts at dealing with infections such as the coronavirus and we stand committed to the health and safety of our pregnant moms and their tiny bundles of joy.
For more information about delivering your baby at Medical City Healthcare, visit WeDeliverDreams.com.