Everything You Need to Know to Prepare for Birth During Covid-19


This birth article is brought to you in partnership with Wesley Healthcare.

Expectant moms always have many questions as they plan for the birth of their child. But these questions have recently become more urgent, given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, as they want to know how current conditions might impact their experience.

At Wesley Healthcare, we believe in giving our patients the information they need to make informed decisions about their care – and the care of their child. That’s why we have assembled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received.

Prepare for Birth During Covid19

With current Covid-19 concerns, how many people are able to come to the delivery room? Can I have visitors?

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, mothers are allowed to have one designated support person (spouse, significant other) join them for the birth. Only one visitor is allowed at any given time. To help limit potential exposure, we ask that the designated support person be the only visitor while you are with us.

If you have hired a Doula, she may also be present for the duration of your labor and delivery. Please have your Doula contact Morgan Tracy in advance so that all necessary documentation can be completed prior to your arrival.

What precautions is the hospital taking to protect moms and newborns from COVID-19?

Labor and delivery rooms, ORs and postpartum care departments are contained units housed in a single building that is isolated from other patient care areas at Wesley Medical Center. Currently, COVID-19 patients are housed in tightly controlled units in other areas of the facility for maximum containment.

We have protocols in place to protect other patients and staff, including separate pathways and rooms that are designed to contain potential spread of the virus, should a mother-to-be test positive for COVID-19 or be a person under investigation (PUI).

How will my birth experience be different if I have tested positive for COVID-19?

If you are (or potentially could be) COVID-19 positive when you deliver, Wesley will implement the latest CDC guidance to ensure you and your baby are safe.  Know that the hospital is still the safest place for you to deliver your baby.

If I am scheduled for an elective induction and have a fever, can I still have my baby?  

 Your safety is our top priority, so we would encourage you to discuss the matter with your physician as soon as possible.

Are there currently special restrictions on NICU and special care visitation?

At the moment, only one parent may spend time with the newborn during the daytime and only one will be able to stay at night. Parents may arrange an alternating schedule to allow both to visit regularly, if desired. Our top priority is to protect our most vulnerable patients, as well as our colleagues and physicians, from potential COVID-19 infection, so we are limiting visitation as much as possible.

Can I FaceTime during my labor or use another App?

 We know this is an important experience to share with family.  We encourage you to use your personal device and connect with loved ones not able to be with you in the hospital. If your support person is feeling under-the weather or you want a 2nd support person, you can FaceTime with them through your own device.

I have other kids—what do I do about them when I am in the hospital?

Children are not allowed in the hospital at this time.  It is important for you to make safe childcare plans for your children, as well as backup plans in case the person you had planned to watch your children gets sick.

Is the lactation clinic still open?

The lactation clinic is currently closed. The Lactation Consultants are seeing all breastfeeding mothers while they are in-house and calling mothers who have been discharged to ensure they are successful with breastfeeding. Also, individual appointments are available, but must be arranged by your infant’s physician.

Should I stop breastfeeding in case I am infected with COVID-19?

Based on the data available, there is no evidence to support the spread of COVID-19 from mother to child through breast milk. We recommend that you discuss breastfeeding with your care provider. Once your baby is born, he/she will be taken to a separate private room to be cared for. If you intend to breastfeed, you will be taught how to express your breast milk to establish and maintain milk supply after appropriate hand hygiene. A dedicated breast pump will be provided for your use and disinfection of the pump after each use will be demonstrated to you. Your expressed breast milk will be fed to your newborn when your baby starts to eat.

I have a sonogram appointment coming up. Can I have anyone with me?

We encourage you to discuss your needs with your physician or OB office to determine if additional persons may accompany you.

How can I determine whether I should choose the main hospital or the Wesley Birth Care Suites?

 It really comes down to your individual circumstances, and your physician’s preference.

Always discuss your options with your OB/GYN first so they can provide input.

To be eligible for delivery at Wesley Birth Care Suites, you must meet the following criteria:

37 weeks gestational age
No previous c-sections or uterine incisions
No multiples (twins, triplets, etc.)
A BMI of 40 or less at their first prenatal visit
Low or no risk factors.

If you do not meet these criteria, your birth should take place in the labor and delivery unit at Wesley Medical Center. Always talk to your infant’s physician before making a final decision.

What can I do for my physical and mental wellness during pregnancy?

 As information about Coronavirus unfolds, there can be a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions. We suggest that you:

 Get the facts. Stay informed with the latest health information per the CDC:  https://www.cdc.gov/.  COVID-19 and pregnancy specific information may be found here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html.

Keep things in perspective. Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you spend watching or listening to upsetting media coverage.  Remember to take a break from watching the news and focus on the things that are positive in your life and things you have control over.

 Be mindful of your assumptions about others. Someone who has a cough or a fever does not necessarily have coronavirus. Self-awareness is important in not stigmatizing others in our community.

Stay healthy. Adopting healthy hygienic habits such as frequently washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, and certainly after sneezing or before/after touching your face or a sick person. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.  Avoid contact with others who are sick and stay home when you are sick.

Maintain a healthy daily routine.  Take a shower, eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water and get a good night’s sleep.  Here are some ways to improve your perinatal mental health:  https://www.wholemamasclub.com/nutrition-perinatal-mental-health/.

Keep connected. Talk to your partner, family and/or friends about how you’re feeling.  Maintaining social networks can help maintain a sense of normalcy and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress.

I’m anxious about COVID-19, who can I talk to?

Know you are not alone. Staying connected with friends and family in a virtual way is important. Reach out, share your story and talk to other expecting and new moms online.  Use PSI Support Groups(https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/psi-online-support-meetings/) and/or seek additional help.  Individuals who feel overwhelming worry or anxiety are encouraged to talk to their obstetrician and may seek additional professional mental health support. You can also contact me with your questions by calling or texting (316) 347-1785.

If you have additional questions, feel free to call or text me at (316) 347-1785. I’m here to help, and would be happy to provide any information you need.

Morgan Tracy is the Maternity Nurse Navigator at Wesley Medical Center. Born and raised in Wichita, she received her RN and BSN degrees from Wichita State University in 2009. Morgan has been a Wesley employee for 10 years, nine of which were spent on the Labor, Delivery, and Recovery Unit. In that time, she has come to understand that every pregnancy and delivery is different. She knows this, not only from a nurse’s perspective, but also as a patient, having delivered her own children at Wesley and experiencing everything from a normal pregnancies to an emergency C-section and a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). So she understands the amazing care our expertly trained nurses, physicians, delivery team, lactation, and NICU teams can provide. She has also experienced the more difficult part of pregnancies that end in miscarriage. Many of her family members have also utilized Labor and Delivery services at Wesley Medical Center, including her grandmother, mother and sister-in-law. Morgan says she would not want them to go anywhere else, as Wesley has the best care and support services available. Morgan is married to an amazing and supportive husband, Loren, and has 4 children, including three fantastic boys (Loren IV, Boaz, and Valor) and a sweet little girl (Isla) born in November 2019.