Frequently Asked Questions: Giving birth at AAMC during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Woman holding a newborn baby

Today’s uncertainties with COVID-19 likely raise additional concerns in your mind as you prepare for your labor and delivery.

Know that we hear you and so many others who are faced with similar challenges.

Here are some of the most frequent questions we are hearing. As you know, things are changing rapidly. Keep checking our website for up-to-date policies and procedures that may apply during your stay with us.

We will continue to add to these questions as we work together to explore ways to make your experience a good one despite these extraordinary times.

How will the COVID-19 restrictions affect my routine prenatal care?

Right now, we advise pregnant mothers to keep their routine appointments.  Should this need to change, your provider will notify you.

You may receive a call from us before your appointment to screen for any symptoms and exposures or to check your travel history. We will provide advice around these questions and assess whether to have you come to the office or schedule a telehealth visit.

Can a support person come with me to my prenatal appointments?

We realize that someone may bring you to and from your appointments and we ask that only you come inside the office for your appointment. Please have your support person stay outside of our waiting areas. In our office settings, we want to be mindful of social distancing. More people in our waiting areas makes it difficult to follow social distancing guidelines. The safety of you and your family is our priority.

How will COVID-19 restrictions change my birth plan?

While every birth plan is different, some of the updates we announced may have an impact on visitation during your stay.

Visitors are limited to one consistent support person throughout the duration of your labor, delivery and postpartum care. Rest assured that your support person can be with you in the delivery room and spend the night with you and your baby the entire time you are with us.

This policy change protects you and your baby and protects the health and safety of our workforce.  Caring for our frontline staff is a high priority so that they can continue to work to deliver our babies and care for our families now and in the weeks ahead.

Will I be tested for COVID-19 before my delivery? 

If you are being admitted for delivery, we have universal COVID-19 testing procedures in place, documented here in English and Spanish. 

If I test positive, will my baby and I be separated after birth?

We are no longer advising separation if the mother tests positive, based on new recommendations and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and others.

You may choose to keep your baby in the room to maximize the benefits of direct newborn care. We ask that mom and baby stay spaced six feet apart and that mom wears a mask and practices good hand hygiene before breastfeeding or other direct newborn care.   

If you prefer, we can arrange to care for your baby in our NICU to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to your baby while in the hospital. If mom chooses temporary separation, we will gladly provide a hospital-grade breast pump for breastmilk expression during admission. 

Does my support person have to be the same person throughout my entire stay? If that initial person leaves, can someone else take their place as the one visitor?

We ask that you have the same support person throughout your stay. This person should limit coming and going from the hospital to reduce the chances of exposure.

Why is my doula considered an additional visitor and therefore potentially restricted?

We understand that doulas play a critical role in supporting moms throughout pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. We recently made the decision to allow only one consistent person to be with our patients in Women’s and Children’s Services, including Labor and Delivery. The support person selected to be present is the choice of the mother. For women who have engaged and built a relationship with a doula, we understand this creates a difficult situation.

Technology provides an alternative to having a doula physically present in the room. We are working with our Information Systems team to provide secure virtual connection for women who wish to use a doula while our visitor restrictions are in place. When you arrive to Labor and Delivery, please let your nurse know if you would like to use virtual conferencing with your doula.

If you have not had complications or worrisome symptoms during your pregnancy, we encourage you to early labor at home safely with your doula and support person until you have a regular contraction pattern. We then want you to come to the hospital as recommended by your provider for your delivery. We support the participation of your doula in your at-home postpartum care.

Ultimately, we must be mindful of our patients and our healthcare workers. The more we can limit exposure, the more we can limit infections and the more we can flatten the curve.

How long will these restrictions be in place?

We cannot determine when we will lift restrictions until COVID-19 infection rates decline. There are many experts looking at our nation’s infection rates to understand when we might begin to experience a decline in COVID-19 cases. We will continue to do what is best to keep you, your baby and our staff safe. 

Our healthcare providers are ready with knowledge and support. They are resilient. They are not skipping a beat when it comes to caring for our patients and families safely.  While these are extraordinary times, we are dedicated to continuing our compassionate care for new life, for our mothers, for our families and for each other. 

Originally published March 23, 2020. Last updated Aug. 7, 2020.