With COVID-19, there are a lot of unknowns, especially with pregnant mothers and what they can expect during the delivery process. Health care institutions across the country have had to modify procedures and best practices for their patients because although some things can be put on hold during the time of COVID-19, moms are always bringing babies into the world.
Experts at University of Utah Health understand that having a healthy pregnancy and baby is the most important part of the journey, and are helping new moms adjust to the changing times in an environment that is safe, calming, and welcoming.
Taelor Rimer and her husband, Kolby, of Salt Lake City have a due date of May 28. Taelor, who will have her delivery at University of Utah Hospital, says that although being pregnant during COVID-19 has brought with it its share of anxiety and fear of the unknown, all in all, "I feel really confident about how the hospital is handling things." Taelor credits her care team at the U for helping her to keep to her complete focus on her baby—answering her questions about pregnancy and delivery during the time of COVID-19 in a clear and straightforward manner.
Erin Clark, MD, Division Chief of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, said, "We know that moms have some anxiety about their pregnancies during COVID-19; we're keeping things as normal as we can while keeping moms and their babies safe."
For prenatal visits, low-risk moms are seeing their providers through telemedicine visits, which offer uninterrupted face-to-face time. Birthing classes are also being held virtually.
New moms-to-be can also expect to be tested for COVID-19 in advance of giving birth. "We're asking our moms to visit a drive-up COVID-19 testing center 48 hours prior to coming to the hospital," said Heather Campbell, MD, who specializes in maternal-fetal medicine. Patients who arrive at the hospital unscheduled are tested for COVID-19, with results coming back within an hour.
Research has not shown evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted in utero, during delivery, or through breast milk—but moms are encouraged to wear a face mask while breastfeeding.
Additionally, one support person (this person doesn't need to be tested for COVID-19) is allowed to be with the mother throughout labor, delivery, and the post-partum stay. As a new mom, Taelor understands that the precautions are necessary. "I wish our son, Luke, could come to the hospital to meet his new brother (Levi), but we recognize the situation. I have zero worries about my delivery."
Most mothers go home within 24 hours. C-section moms usually stay up to three days. Many mothers are relieved they don't have to entertain visitors right away due to taking extra precautions with newborns during COVID-19. Moms can get the much-needed rest (and breastfeeding time with their babies) they need with fewer interruptions. Plus, new parents can introduce the baby to family and friends via Zoom or Skype when they feel up to it.
Even in the time of COVID-19, just because the procedures may look a little bit different, the arrival of your new baby can still be everything you imagined it to be.