From the moment you find out that you’re pregnant, you have questions. And now, in addition to the normal pre-COVID pregnancy questions, moms-to-be are wondering how much impact the virus will have on their delivery. Read on for expert answers to some of the most common questions about being pregnant and going through labor and delivery during the coronavirus crisis. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines and that the best place to get information related specifically to your unique pregnancy and delivery is from your healthcare provider.
You can also read about the experiences of these five moms who had their babies at Medical City hospitals during the pandemic. Another great resource is our “Pregnancy and coronavirus” blog series, which has information for expectant and new moms:
If I’m pregnant and I’m coming in to deliver, do I have to take a COVID-19 test? Does my support partner?
For your added peace of mind and safety, we are very pleased to offer COVID-19 testing for our pregnant patients prior to delivery. If you have a scheduled induction or Cesarean delivery (C-section) planned, testing will be available approximately 48 hours before your procedure. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider if the test is recommended for you and for any other information you need to know, including designated testing locations.
After your COVID-19 test, you will be advised to stay home (self-quarantine) and avoid visitors for 48 hours prior to your scheduled induction or C-section.
If you go into labor before you have a chance to be tested, tests will be available in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital.
Your support partner will not be offered a COVID-19 test (nor will they be required to have one), but they will need to pass the entrance screening and follow the visitor policy before being allowed to accompany you into the hospital. If your support partner or any family member or friend would like to have a COVID-19 test, they can get one at one of the many CareNow® Urgent Care clinics in North Texas. Have them try the handy Web Check-In® feature, which saves their place in line while they wait safely at home.
If I test positive, will I be separated from my baby?
At Medical City Healthcare, we practice shared decision making with our new moms. As a vital part of your healthcare team, you will have a voice in helping us decide the best possible location for your baby. We will follow the various guidelines that have been shared with us, including those from the CDC, and we'll share with you those recommendations and best practices. We’ll discuss the risks and benefits of temporary separation with you, but ultimately, any decisions made will be in accordance with your wishes.
Moms with a child in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) have the ability to see their babies 24/7 via NICVIEW—a secure, livestreaming feed. This technology can also be shared with loved ones who are not able to be at the hospital.
Does universal masking mean that I have to wear a mask when I’m delivering?
Universal masking refers to the policy of requiring everyone—physicians, nurses, other hospital employees, patients and visitors—to wear a mask in all public places inside of our hospitals. When you arrive at one of our Medical City hospitals, you and your support partner will be screened and you will each be given a mask to wear as you enter the hospital and make your way to labor and delivery.
Your healthcare provider will have the best recommendations for you about wearing a mask during and after delivery, considering your specific healthcare needs as well as those of your baby. For example, your healthcare provider’s guidelines on wearing a mask during delivery may be different for a mom who has tested positive for COVID-19 versus one who has tested negative.
Have there been any cases of coronavirus transmission from mom to baby?
Much is still unknown about COVID-19 and newborns. According to the CDC, there have been babies who have tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after being born, but it is not known at this time whether they got the virus before, during or after birth.
At Medical City Healthcare, we've not seen any transmission cases through labor and delivery from mom to baby. While the safety and security of our moms and babies is always our first priority, being tested before you have your baby could provide valuable knowledge—so that if you are found to be COVID positive, our enhanced care practices may help minimize or reduce any risk of transmission between you and your newborn.
If I test positive for COVID-19, can I still safely breastfeed my baby?
If breastfeeding is a goal, talk with your healthcare provider about whether it’s safe for you and your baby. There’s still not enough evidence to conclusively say that COVID-19 can’t be passed to a baby through breastmilk, but the CDC says the limited data available suggests that it’s not very likely.
Birthing within Medical City Healthcare provides you with the added benefit of having lactation consultants on hand to assist you 24/7. Our clinical teams will go over the various recommendations regarding the safest ways to breastfeed your baby, such as those from the CDC.
While visitors are limited to one support person, can I switch that person out? Can it be my husband and then my mom?
For the health and safety of all, especially our mom and babies, we have restricted non-essential visitors. You may have a single named support person (birth partner) of your choice who will be allowed to accompany you while you are admitted to the hospital. It will need to be the same person the whole time you are with us.
Please note: Official guidance related to pregnancy and COVID-19 will continue to evolve as more information becomes available. Please refer to the CDC for the latest information and additional resources.