A COVID-19 Update for Expectant Mothers

 

You've done your best to make healthy choices throughout your pregnancy – including choosing Munson Healthcare for safe, high-quality maternity care.

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has added a unique set of challenges for you and your family as you prepare to welcome your new baby. However, we remain fully committed to providing you with the best, most compassionate prenatal, labor, and delivery experience in the safest environment. To protect you, your baby, and your family during this continued COVID-19 pandemic, we have instituted several proactive measures.

Please Note: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold around us in ways that are difficult to predict, we are continuously evaluating our policies and following best practices established by the World Health Organization in accordance with executive orders from the State of Michigan. Our current policies are subject to change in order to keep you and your baby safe.

Blog: What to Expect
Why COVID-19 Testing Matters

Safety Measures Now in Place for Expectant Mothers and Their Families

Visitors and Your Support Person

 

Prenatal appointments and testing

One birthing partner or support person may accompany patients to office or outpatient appointments, including ultrasounds.

 

Labor, Delivery, and Recovery

Our current visitation restrictions allow for one support person (your partner or a loved one, for example) to be present during labor, delivery, and recovery. To ensure safety, your support person must pass a COVID-19 screening upon entry and cannot exhibit any symptoms or signs of illness. Your support person must also be the same person throughout the entire stay (no switching). We are asking that your support person stays with you in the hospital room once you are admitted.

We will provide meals (or a meal ticket) to your support person. However, please note that hospital cafeteria hours are currently limited, so we recommend asking your support person to pack some favorite snacks for his/her stay to keep on hand.

 

Can a Doula Be My Support Person?

Yes, doulas are welcome in addition to your support person. Your doula will need to pass a COVID-19 screening.

 

Health screenings during admittance for labor and delivery

Monitoring your health status before your baby's birth is critical to ensuring the safest delivery experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because a person can have the virus without knowing it and still spread the disease to other people, we screen all patients for COVID-19 prior to entry to the OB department. The screening will include questions about your health. It is extremely important to answer these questions truthfully, even if your symptoms seem minor.

In addition, all delivering moms will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival. If you have a scheduled delivery, such as a cesarean section or induction, you will be tested approximately 4 days prior to your scheduled delivery and then asked to quarantine until your delivery.

We believe universal testing is the best way to keep you, your family, and our community safe. We encourage you to call your OB/GYN or Primary Care Provider with any specific questions or concerns you might have.


For patients who are not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19

If you test NEGATIVE, no further testing is required unless you show new symptoms during your hospital stay.

Maternity patients will be admitted to their chosen maternity unit at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital, Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital, Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, Munson Medical Center, or Otsego Memorial Hospital. 

 


For maternity patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19

 

Ensuring Safe Delivery

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, Munson Medical Center now has a special isolation unit dedicated to labor, delivery, and recovery for maternity patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. This special unit is on a separate floor from the existing maternity unit and includes a specially trained nursing team.

Suspected or confirmed COVID-19 maternity patients admitted to Cadillac Hospital, Charlevoix Hospital, Grayling Hospital, and Otsego Memorial Hospital will be transferred to Munson Medical Center’s special isolation unit for labor and delivery if it is safe to do so. Our OB nurses have been trained to help stabilize and safely transfer COVID-19 maternity patients requiring delivery or extended care during their illness. If our specially trained staff determines that you have reached a point in the labor process where you cannot be transferred to Munson Medical Center, they are prepared to support and care for you through your labor and delivery.


Caring for Your Newborn Following Delivery

To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to your baby, we support a variety of options, including rooming with your baby as well as temporary separation. To help you make the most informed decision, we’ll explain the risks and benefits of these options before you begin delivery.

If you choose to room with your newborn, your care team will work with you to ensure the safest way to care for him/her. We recommend distancing yourself at least six feet from the baby, with a curtain in between when possible. However, we still encourage you to touch, hold, and breastfeed your baby, as this helps him/her to thrive. In addition, to help keep your baby safe, handwashing before and after touching, holding, or breastfeeding him/her (while wearing a mask), and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing is strongly encouraged.

We also offer temporary separation from your baby following delivery. To ensure that your baby receives the same level of attention, he or she will be placed in an individual room with one-on-one care as opposed to staying in the nursery. Your support person is also highly encouraged to stay with the baby. When your baby is ready to be discharged, he/she will be able to go home with you or your chosen support person.


Keep Your Newborn Safe

Once you begin taking care of your newborn, it is not necessary to place a mask on him/her. In fact, it could be dangerous to do so. Tips for keeping your baby safe:

  • Once you are back home, continue to stay home, where your baby is most safe.

  • Practice social distancing and limit visitors until it is safer to introduce your new little one

  • Keep your baby separated from any household members who are suspected or confirmed to be COVID-19 positive. A household member(s) with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should stay confined to one room of the house so both you and the baby are not exposed.

  • Continue to practice frequent handwashing, cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow if possible, and wear a mask while handling your baby if you suspect you may have been exposed to the virus.


Planning Ahead and More Information

Planning ahead really gives you and your family the opportunity to minimize risk. Here are some tips to consider as you form or update your birthing plan:

  • In this complex environment, consider who will care for pets and other children while you are delivering and recovering in the hospital.

  • We strongly encourage you to stay home in order to decrease your risk of contracting COVID-19 prior to your delivery.

  • If you are near term, please be in close contact with your provider, updating him/her on your health and any symptoms you may have. Together, you can make a plan and coordinate with your hospital when it’s time for labor and delivery.


Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Wash your hands. Washing your hands frequently is one of the best ways to prevent COVID-19. Click here for some great hand-washing tips.

Keep your distance. Give careful consideration to situations such as shopping or socializing that can increase your exposure to the virus. Remember to honor a six-foot or more distance with others (excluding those you live with). Learn more about the importance of social distancing here.

Eat well. Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins. You can learn more about healthy habits at all stages of pregnancy from our friends at Healthy Futures.

Get rest. Rest is incredibly important throughout your pregnancy. However, you may find your sleep patterns more disturbed during your final trimester. Give yourself permission to rest or nap throughout the day when you feel fatigued.


 

For more tips and answers to commonly asked questions, we encourage you to visit The World Health Organization's (WHO) Q&A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. 

 

For more information, contact your OB provider and visit Munson Healthcare’s COVID-19 information hub at munsonhealthcare.org/coronavirusupdates. If you have general health-related questions about COVID-19, call 231-935-0951 to access our Munson Healthcare COVID-19 Hotline, which includes an ask-a-nurse option.

 


World Health Organization Recommendations

Learn more about what the World Health Organization recommends for expectant mothers during COVID-19.

Pregnancy and COVID-19