SAN ANTONIO – Labor and delivery looks a whole lot different during the coronavirus pandemic, and KSAT viewers have sent in a lot of questions about protocols and recommendations that seem to be ever-changing.
Dr. Patrick Ramsey is helping clear up confusion. He’s the medical director for inpatient OB services at University Health and the Director of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship Program at UT Health San Antonio.
How many visitors are allowed in with a woman delivering a baby?
“For pregnancy at least, we allow one visitor to come with them during labor and delivery or during their admission,” Dr. Ramsey said.
Is that visitor still allowed in with a woman giving birth if she is COVID-19 positive?
“If mom would test positive, that person is still able to come into the hospital. They get screened with temperature checks, they do not get testing themselves, but they are required to stay in the room with the patient for the entire duration of their stay and if they leave they’re not able to come back,” Ramsey said. “And they have to wear masks and social distancing and all those type of things as well.”
If a woman is COVID-19 positive when she delivers, does she have to be separated from her baby?
“Early on when we didn’t know much about COVID-19, there were some early recommendations for separation. That was abandoned pretty quickly because we know how important it is for mom to be with baby and to start breastfeeding. So basically since May or June last year we have been fully supporting having mom with baby at the time after her deliver,” Ramsey said.
Are the protocols the same at all local hospitals?
Ramsey said the main hospital systems in San Antonio stay in contact and pretty much keep the same rules.
“We’ve gotten together over the past several months just to talk amongst the medical directors at those facilities and most facilities seem like they have that same type of policy,” he said. “Until the pandemic is over I’d say most facilities in the county probably are airing toward one support person in the room.”
What about visitors at doctors office visits to an OB-GYN?
“It’s a little bit variable. I’d say the norm is not to allow somebody with you for those visits. Obviously if there’s a really complicated pregnancy issue I’ll allow the spouse to come in with masks and social distancing and things,” Ramsey said.
He suggests calling ahead to any facility you visit beforehand, so you’re prepared and aware of the visitor policy.
If you missed KSAT’s hour-long town hall last week about pregnancy and infertility during the pandemic, you can watch the full discussion here.
If you have any questions about pregnancy or infertility during the pandemic, you can submit those questions below: