NOTE: In our continued efforts to keep our patients and staff as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, effective Monday, March 23, we are suspending respite nursery service and will instead require that newborns stay in the room with the mother until the time of discharge. All well newborn care will be provided at the bedside with the exception of some procedures, such as circumcision. Respite nursery service during evening hours allows new parents time to rest and recover before they return home and we hope to resume this valuable service in the future. However, as COVID-19 continues to spread in our community, it is important to take every step possible to minimize any potential risk of exposure to newborns. We understand that this can be a stressful and confusing time for our expectant parents. Please do not hesitate to call your OB/GYN provider with questions or concerns.
We understand that being pregnant during this coronavirus outbreak can heighten your concerns about health and safety during this time. While this is much that is not yet known and understood about COVID-19 strain of coronavirus and its effect on pregnancy, we hope that the following information will be helpful to you as we navigate this challenging time.
COVID-19 and pregnancy
During pregnancy, physical and hormonal changes can increase the risk or severity of some infections. This is the case with viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, which is why Main Line Health continues to enact visitor restrictions during peak flu season to protect our parents and newborns. We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of contracting the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus or developing more severe complications as a result of COVID-19. At this time, there does not seem to be passage of the virus from mother to baby during pregnancy or during delivery. Additionally, the virus has not been detected in breast milk, but babies who are born of mothers who have COVID-19 may need to be separated after delivery to prevent infection. If this is the case, expressed breast milk can safely be provided.
At this time, the number of cases we have to learn from are few. The knowledge of COVID-19 and its effect on pregnancy, labor, delivery and breastfeeding will continue to evolve rapidly. Please be assured that we will continue to communicate with you and keep you updated about any changes related to your care or the safety of you or your baby. At this time, our Main Line Health hospitals and health centers have implemented a number of precautionary measures to keep our maternity patients safe, including:
- Instituting visitor restrictions – For outpatient areas, support persons are not permitted unless clinically necessary. Maternity patients are allowed one support person during the duration of their visit, with the following exceptions:
- The support person exhibits COVID symptoms and/or does not pass the entrance and/or unit.
- The mom tests positive during their admission swab test
- The mom refuses their admission swab test
- If support person is permitted, they cannot be changed or substituted for someone else during the stay.
Support person is restricted to the patient room for the duration of the stay. Complimentary meals will be provided. For detailed visitor information please review our updated guidelines and procedures.
- Restricting visits by third-party vendors – This includes visits from newborn photographers as well as patient deliveries of outside food, flowers, etc.
- Postponing non-urgent office visits and procedures – You may have been contacted to reschedule an office visit. We hope to be able to utilize telemedicine in the near future so as not to delay timely conversations about important topics.
- Providing virtual learning for maternity patients – In lieu of inpatient tours, we are conducting webinars and virtual learning sessions, including virtual maternity tours, Q&A webinars and a discussion on prenatal breastfeeding. If you have questions about childbirth education classes, email Mary Gentleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preventive measures for pregnant women
We continue to follow and adhere to international and organizational standards and recommendations, and we appreciate your patience as we work to ensure the safety and health of our patients, visitors and staff. In addition to these measures, it is incredibly important for pregnant women and their families to exercise the same precautions that we urge to the public at this time:
- Clean your hands often. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then discard the tissue.
- Clean and disinfect frequently used items
- Practice social distancing—avoid unnecessary contact with groups of people, avoid person-to-person contact (hugs, kisses, handshakes, etc.) and work remotely, if possible.
- Stay home, unless you must leave for medical care.
- Avoid people who are sick.
Taking preventive steps like these remains the best way to protect yourself from respiratory disease. You can find more information and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including current findings about COVID-19's effect on pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you have specific questions related to your health, Main Line Health is here for you. Please do not hesitate to call your OB/GYN provider with questions or concerns. We understand that this can be a stressful and confusing time for our expectant parents. Our team is committed to answering your questions and offering you the guidance and resources you need to prepare for your new arrival.