Keeping moms and babies safe during the pandemic
This is an unprecedented time in our lives. It is understandable that expectant mothers have questions, concerns and fears about being pregnant and possibly delivering during the Coronavirus pandemic.
To help you know what to expect, we’ve compiled answers to the questions we’re receiving most frequently from expectant mothers below, and will update this post as more information becomes available.
Are pregnant women at a greater risk of contracting the virus?
While first noting that our available data is from a small number of patients, current evidence suggests that pregnant women are not at a greater risk of contracting the virus. Nor are pregnant women who do contract the virus more likely to have serious health complications.
If I contract the virus, will I pass it on to my baby?
Current evidence suggests that pregnant women who contact the virus cannot pass the disease to their baby in-utero or through the birth canal.
Who can come to the hospital with me for the birth?
At St. Luke’s Birthing Center we have restricted visitors to a single support person (partner, family member or friend). If you have a trained doula they may also be present with you. This has been done to limit the possible exposure for both our patients and our healthcare workers.
Teleconferencing and virtual visits are allowed and encouraged pre- and post-delivery, however they are not allowed during deliveries or procedures for the privacy and protection of our patients.
Will my doctor deliver my baby?
We have a St. Luke’s OB-GYN provider in house 24/7 that will manage your care and attend your birth. Due to the unpredictability of when you come in to have your baby, it may or may not be your primary provider. If your OB-GYN provider is working or on call, they will be present at your delivery.
Have there been any staffing changes or reductions in the Birthing Center?
We are limiting our staff, which means less providers working each week. This has been done to ensure fewer team members are interacting with patients, in an effort to further reduce possible exposure for everyone.
How long will I need to stay in the hospital after delivery?
This will depend on the circumstances surrounding your individual delivery. However if mom and baby are stable, we have begun offering the choice of an early discharge so that patients can return home sooner.
Have there been any changes to routine appointments?
We have expanded our telehealth and virtual care offerings for gynecology appointments so that our OB patients take priority. This means fewer people in waiting rooms, shorter wait times, and more time between appointments to implement the additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures we’ve undertaken.
What precautions are providers taking to ensure they’re not sick?
We are recommending that our staff check their temperature twice daily. Anyone with any symptoms of a cold or flu are staying home until they are no longer contagious. Additionally, our providers are partaking in twice weekly all-staff meetings to get vital updates and new information as well as to review and revise protocols as needed.
What are the St. Luke’s Birthing Center plans if a patient tests positive for COVID-19?
If a mom in the St. Luke’s Birthing Center tests positive for COVID-19, she and her support person will be isolated.
Can a St. Luke’s doctor or midwife come to my home for a delivery?
We believe that our patients receive the best care in a hospital setting, so we do not make house calls. During this time, we believe it’s even more important to deliver your baby in our safe and sanitized environment by medical professionals.
Should I be doing anything differently to keep me and my baby safe?
Our recommendations for pregnant women are the same as recommendations for the average person:
- Wash your hands regularly, and for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water.
- Practice social distancing by avoiding groups and staying six feet away from others.
- Stay home whenever possible.
Taking vitamin C or additional supplements has not been found to improve your ability to protect yourself from contracting the virus or in your ability to fight it.
If you are pregnant and deemed an “essential worker,” there are no recommendations from the CDC that you stay home, as your risk of contracting the virus and of developing complications remain low and no different from the general public, according to current available data. However, if you are a healthcare worker, we’d encourage you to follow St. Luke’s policy, which is to not treat COVID-19 patients to keep yourself from being exposed to additional risk.
Is there someone I can speak to about other questions or concerns?
St. Luke’s Birthing Center has a nurse available 24/7. You can call us at any time. We are always here, ready to answer any questions you might have.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as a cough or fever, St. Luke’s offers eCare, an online clinic for virtual visits, or St. Luke’s Nurse Triage Hotline, a free line staffed 24/7 by St. Luke’s nurses. Click here to visit eCare or call 218.249.4200 for St. Luke’s Nurse Triage Hotline.
We want to provide you with reassurance. It’s normal to feel anxious when pregnant. It is normal to feel anxious during this time. Your St. Luke’s Birthing Center team is taking every precaution and learning as much as we can about how pregnancy is impacted by the coronavirus so that we can provide you and your baby with the most up-to-date expert care.
We’re here, each and every day, ready to put you and your baby’s health above all else.
To make an appointment with Dr. Aimee VanStraaten