Updated December 18, 2020
We understand you may have concerns about your pregnancy, what your baby’s birth might be like, and how you’ll manage life with a newborn during COVID-19. This is an unprecedented time, and we want to acknowledge that having a baby right now may feel scary. We also want to assure you that we are prepared to care for you and your baby safely, each step of the way.
Childbirth if positive for COVID-19
Life with your newborn
Research is currently underway to understand the impacts of COVID-19 infection on pregnant women. Data is limited, but at present there is no evidence that pregnant women are at higher risk of severe illness than the general population.
However, due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some respiratory infections. It is therefore important that you take precautions to protect yourself against COVID-19, and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty breathing) to your primary care doctor or OB/GYN. Your OB/GYN is the best person to talk to about any specific concerns you may have about your health risks during pregnancy.
Each of the John Muir Health-affiliated OB/GYNs may have slightly different protocols put into place to help keep you safe during your prenatal and postpartum care. These could include things like doing some appointments via phone instead of in person, or having patients wait in their cars prior to appointments rather than in a waiting room. Please contact your OB/GYN to find out how they may be changing how they deliver prenatal and postpartum care.
Please continue to take the same precautions that are recommended for everyone:
At this time it is unknown if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. To date, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk. Please talk to your OB/GYN about any concerns that you have.
Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, all of our childbirth and newborn classes and groups are currently conducted virtually via Zoom until further notice. We also offer some self-paced eClasses that you and your partner can complete at your convenience.
Space is limited so be sure to sign up early as some classes and groups fill quickly.
In most cases, the timing and method of delivery (vaginal birth or cesarean birth) do not need to be changed. Please talk to your OB/GYN about your specific situation –he or she is ready to help you consider the best plan for you.
Along with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, we believe that the safest place to give birth is still at a hospital, hospital-based birth center or accredited freestanding birth center.
Even the healthiest, low-risk pregnancies can have life threatening problems arise with little or no warning during labor and delivery. In this case, hospitals such as ours are much better prepared to give you emergency care quickly, including immediate life-saving obstetric interventions. Studies have shown that babies born at home are more than twice as likely to die around the time of birth than those born in hospitals.
It’s important to not take any risks that might put you or your newborn’s health in danger. We have the appropriate clinicians, staff, supplies and protective equipment to care for you and your baby safely, even during COVID-19. Please talk to your OB/GYN if you are considering changing your plans to a home birth. He or she can discuss the relative risks of home births and hospital births with you.
No. Both the World Health Organization and John Muir Health advise that caesarean sections should only be performed when medically justified. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also do not recommend a caesarean section solely because a woman is sick. Please talk to your OB/GYN about your specific situation and what is best for the health of you and your baby.
We are prepared to welcome you and care for you. Safety precautions that we have in place include:
Separate hospital entrance for laboring moms: Go to the Labor & Delivery entrance off Ygnacio Valley Road, next to the Emergency Department. This entrance is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is separate from our main entrance. You’ll see signs for short-term Labor & Delivery parking; your partner will need to move your car to our parking garage as soon as possible after checking in to create space for other patients.
Birth Center separated from other units: Our Labor and Delivery and Postpartum units are separate from other units in the hospital. They can only be accessed by staff and physicians who work in those units, and these staff don’t work in any other units.
We’ll also try to minimize your time in the hospital. When it’s appropriate for your health and your baby’s health, you may go home earlier than is typical.
We know that bringing your baby into the world during COVID-19 can be frightening. We are here to care for you and your family. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns by calling (925) 939-3000 and asking for Labor & Delivery.
Learn more about COVID-19 safety precautions in our Birth Center:
CHILDBIRTH IF POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
Rest assured, you’ll receive the same attentive care that we provide to all of our Birth Center patients. Additionally, we’ll do the following:
Before delivery: COVID-19 virus passing from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy or delivery has only been reported in rare cases. However, the good news is that the virus has not yet been found in samples of amniotic fluid.
After Delivery: We do know that there is some risk of passing the virus to your baby, particularly if your baby comes in contact with your respiratory secretions, such as the tiny droplets of fluid in your coughs and sneezes.
Breastmilk: To date, the virus fortunately has not been found in samples of breastmilk.
We’ll fully support you every step of the way through your labor and delivery, just like we do for all our patients. Our pediatric team will be ready to care for your baby once born. We’ll delay cord clamping to maximize your baby’s immunities and place baby with you skin-to-skin, so long as baby is stable and doing well. Your baby will be examined and given a bath shortly after birth.
No. Your baby will stay with you, unless a higher level of care is needed, such as oxygen or IV fluids. Your care team will discuss with you the best place for your baby to go after delivery.
We’ll only test your baby if you are confirmed to have COVID-19. If we test you but don’t have the results back at time of birth, we’ll use special isolation precautions and watch your baby for symptoms of the virus.
Right now, very few babies have tested positive for COVID-19. Not much is yet known about symptoms of COVID-19 in babies. However, it’s possible that babies with the virus may have symptoms such as breathing problems, fever, difficulty waking up, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Yes, but your doctor or nurse will first discuss the risks of your baby getting COVID-19. 4 If you decide for baby to stay in your room, we’ll put your baby in a crib or warmer that is at least six feet from your bed to reduce exposure. We’ll also recommend that you and your support person wear a mask and protective covering at all times.
We recommend the following:
LIFE WITH YOUR NEWBORN
Join a virtual support group for parents with newborns such as our Best Beginnings (0-3 months) Parent & Baby Groups, 8-Week Session where you can connect with other parents who have babies close to your baby’s age.
Join one or more local moms groups and become part of a community of moms who are all going through this journey together. Find a local moms group. There are also many mom, parent and family groups on Facebook.
Connect with family and friends virtually using online video conferencing or by phone. Be sure to share how you’re feeling. It helps to talk to trusted friends and family members, especially those who have gone through this themselves.
Call your doctor if you feel symptoms of depression. Feeling sad and overwhelmed at times can be common for new moms, and this may be even harder during COVID-19. It’s important that any feelings of depression are addressed right away. Please call your primary care doctor, OB/GYN or pediatrician to help find the right solution for you.
Join an online support group for Postpartum Depression such as the Free Postpartum Depression online support group offered by Postpartum Support International (not affiliated with John Muir Health). You can also call them at (800) 944-4773 for help finding local resources.
Yes. Many John Muir Health-affiliated pediatricians are doing in-person visits for well-baby checkups up to 15 months, including for vaccinations. Your doctor may schedule a phone visit in addition to your in-person visit, to go over some of the well-baby checkup questions and limit the time you’ll spend in the doctor’s office. Please contact your pediatrician to find out how they may be changing how they deliver newborn care.