SAN ANTONIO - – During the peaks of COVID-19 in San Antonio, all main hospital systems limited visitors to one person during labor and delivery. That one person could not swap out with others at any point.
However, as positivity rates dropped, local hospitals systems began relaxing those guidelines for pregnant women who have tested negative for COVID-19.
Pregnant women who test positive as they go in for labor and delivery will still be allowed only one support person who once inside, will be asked to stay in the delivery room for the whole hospital stay. The purpose of that rule is to not pose further exposure to other staff and visitors at the hospital.
For moms without COVID-19, each hospital now has different policies. The following are the policies as of May 17.
CHRISTUS SANTA ROSA
Christus Santa Rosa was the first hospital system to change its labor and delivery visitor policy, in March.
Two visitors are allowed with the mom at a time. One needs to be the same designated support person, but the other can rotate.
Back on April 15, University Health adopted the most lenient local policy so far.
“For a non-COVID patient we are back to normal operations, meaning you can have two visitors in labor and delivery. They can switch, but during the delivery it has to be two individuals, whoever the mom chooses,” said Cynthia Ledesma, executive director for University Hospital Women’s Health Services.
The biggest difference is the postpartum policy, after the baby is born.
“They can have as many people as they’d like to come and visit at one time. We do allow children to come visit so that’s new,” Ledesma said.
Baptist Hospital System made changes less than two weeks ago on May 4, also allowing two visitors.
“Those two are going to have wrist bands that show they are the designated visitors. You cannot swap out during that period,” said Kris Baxter, perinatal navigator for North Central Baptist Hospital’s Women’s Service Department.
Once the baby is born, that main support person stays the same, but the second visitor can swap out.
Methodist Hospital System policies remain the most strict. On April 26, they began allowing the mother to choose two designated visitors, but only one is allowed in with the her at a time.
“It’s a designated second person because we still do not know who is vaccinated, not vaccinated,” said Negar Johnson, Chief Nursing Officer Methodist Children and Human Services. “Our goal is to make sure the moms are safe, the staff is safe.”
There is one exception. If the mom chooses to have a doula, the doula can be in the room with the visitor.
At all local hospitals, if the COVID-19 negative mom goes into an emergency C-section, only one support person is allowed in with her.
Masks are still mandatory for all hospitals nationwide. Recent CDC guidelines allowed vaccinated individuals to take off masks at a list of locations, but continued to mandate masks at hospitals and healthcare settings.
Every hospital except for Baptist is also continuing to do temperature checks and screenings for everyone who enters the front doors. Baptist will only conduct temperature checks for those with symptoms.