Many pregnant women are worried about planning the birth of their baby during the pandemic. You may wonder how to avoid infection, or whether you can safely deliver in the hospital. You may wonder what policies and visitor restrictions now exist and what that means for your birth experience.
We’re here to support you and answer your concerns.
Should I change my delivery location?
Our team of doctors, nurses, midwives, and lactation consultants are all focused on keeping you and your baby safe. The idea of a home birth might sound appealing during the current coronavirus outbreak. But scientific studies show that a baby is 3 to 4 times more likely to die following a home birth vs. a hospital birth. A hospital delivery means our entire team stands ready should you or your baby need more intensive care.
Can I still have my baby at UVA hospital? Is it safe?
Yes and yes. We continue to have healthy, normal births on our labor and delivery unit. We’re providing all the usual support, plus numerous safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Talk with your care team about any specific concerns you have. You can also check out advice from the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists.
What is the current visiting policy when a mother gives birth?
See the updated visitor restrictions.
What is the eating and food policy right now?
The cafeteria currently limits access to help prevent infection. We’ll supply, for you and your labor support person, one free meal, with an entree, side, and drink. We encourage you to bring snacks/food from your home.
How do I get to the labor and delivery unit?
Park in the Lee Street garage, directly across from the hospital.
You can enter the hospital through the main entrance on Lee Street. From the lobby, take the East elevators to the 8th floor. Labor and delivery is 8 East.
After 7:00 p.m., you’ll need to enter the hospital entrance through the Emergency Department. You won’t have to enter the waiting room in the ER. Hospital staff will direct you to labor and delivery on the 8th floor.
Who will come in my room? Who will take care of me and my baby?
We continue to offer complete care during your labor and delivery and in the mother and baby unit after.
To protect against exposure, we have limited:
- The number of staff who enter rooms
- The number of times staff come in and out of your room
Your nurse will show you how to call out to the nursing desk if you have questions or need anything.
Can I have a doula when I give birth? Does a doula count as a visitor?
Yes. If you choose a doula for labor support, they count as one of your visitors.
This is part of our overall efforts to reduce the risk of infection and make your birth the safest it can be.
What are you doing to protect me and my baby?
Your care team will wear masks at all times and take other steps to prevent spreading the infection during and after delivery. UVA Health has taken several steps to protect all of our patients and team members. See what we’re doing.
For pregnant women, we’re spacing out prenatal visits to allow you to stay at home more. You can also have a virtual visit. Call your provider for details.
Can I leave the hospital early, after 24 hours, if I want to?
Your and your baby’s health is our highest concern. We’ll discuss requests for early discharge with you on a case-by-case basis.
What should I do to stay healthy?
You can stay healthy by following the usual pregnancy recommendations, stopping the spread of germs, and managing your stress and anxiety. Steps you can take include:
- Washing your hands with soap and water often
- Wearing a mask when you leave the house
- Staying away from anyone who is sick
- Staying home as much as possible
- Maintaining social distancing when out
- Eating healthy meals
- Exercising regularly
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Staying connected with friends and family
- Taking breaks from coronavirus news and social media
- Telling your provider if you are feeling sad or anxious
The final weeks before your delivery are an important time to continue social distancing. This means limiting contact with people outside your immediate family. This will lower your risk of getting COVID-19 just before you have your baby.
What if I think I have coronavirus? What will happen?
If you have symptoms, call your provider. Follow the general guidelines for taking care of yourself if you’re sick.
How does COVID-19 affect pregnant women, fetuses and newborns?
Very little is known about COVID-19’s potential to cause problems during pregnancy. We don’t know how an infection affects the health of the baby before and after birth. Recent studies have suggested that the coronavirus can cause pregnant women to become very ill very quickly. Ask your care team for the latest information.
If I may have it, or am diagnosed, will I be separated from my baby?
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or we suspect you’re infected, we’ll talk with you about separating you from your baby to prevent neonatal infection. Talk with your care team about this possibility.
Will I be able to breastfeed my newborn?
Most likely. See our breastfeeding FAQs.
Who should I call if I have questions? Who should I call if I think I am in labor?
You can call your usual OB clinic. After hours, call our labor and delivery unit. We have nurses and doctors who will answer your questions 24/7.