Childbirth and COVID-19: Keeping Expecting Mothers and Newborns Safe at Harris Regional Hospital

May 21, 2020

By: Autumn Neesam, MSN, RN, NE-BC, CPPS, Senior Director, Inpatient Nursing Services

Pregnancy always comes with its share of anxiety and fear, but the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer of concerns for expecting families.  If you will be delivering a baby during the pandemic, you likely have many questions about how delivery in the hospital may be different right now and how you can keep yourself and your baby healthy.

Harris Regional Hospital has always taken great pride in caring for expecting mothers and their babies and making sure that our community has access to great OB care. This dedication to our region’s growing families has continued throughout the pandemic and will go on long after this health crisis has passed.

We are committed to making sure that all moms and babies have the safest birthing experience possible, and we are taking every necessary precaution to protect our families in labor and delivery from exposure to COVID-19 and ensure the risk of infection expecting mothers and new babies is extremely low. Our extra precautions mean that some aspects of delivery will be as expected, but some may be a little different. The two main changes most families will experience are visitor restrictions and limited entry points to the hospital. 

As part of our COVID-19 preparedness efforts, we have moved to a zero-visitor protocol hospital-wide. However, laboring and postpartum mothers are an exception to this rule. These women may have one healthy adult with them for their delivery and the duration of their hospital stay. This means that every woman will be able to have a companion for as long as they are in the hospital, but visits with the new baby and siblings and other loved ones will have to wait until mom and baby leave the hospital. 

Expecting mothers and their support person will access the facility through the main entrance. All patients and support person will be screened and provided the appropriate mask required for entry.  

Additional measures Harris Regional Hospital is taking to support and ensure the safety of our expecting mothers and newborns include:

  • Online prenatal and childbirth education classes.
  • Virtual tours of the maternity unit for first-time expecting mothers.
  • COVID testing will be required at 39 weeks. This testing will take place at Harris Women’s Care or applicable health department. Scheduled inductions and C-sections will be tested five days prior to scheduled procedure.
  • Isolating any COVID-19-positive patients away from expecting mothers.
  • Mothers and support staff will be provided three meals a day but patients are encouraged to bring their own food and snacks.
  • Remote lactation support.
  • Family members are welcome to drop off any additional items that a patient may need during the duration of her stay. Items can be dropped off at the main entrance screening station and hospital staff will deliver to appropriate patient.
  • iPads are available for FaceTime for all other family members and friends that cannot visit patients while in the hospital.

These measures have been implemented with great care, and we will continue to update them with the health and safety of our expecting mothers and families in mind.

Although nurses and providers will be providing care behind the protection of a face mask and applicable PPE, our experienced staff members commit to being fully engaged in the care of our mothers, babies and support person. It is our privilege to share such a special moment in the lives of our community and growing families. We are here to support you, cheer for you and celebrate this time with you and your family.

You can find more information about COVID-19 and how Harris Regional Hospital is responding here or by contacting your care provider.

Autumn Neesam, MSN, RN, NE-BC, CPPS, Senior Director and family