In 2018, 3.79 million women gave birth across the United States and 3.67 million of these births occurred in a hospital. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, many women are starting to question the safety of hospital births and some are choosing to give birth at home instead.
When you are expecting a child, you want to do everything in your power to keep your baby healthy and safe. Giving birth in a hospital typically reduces the risk of serious birth complications for mothers and their babies. Nevertheless, during COVID-19, a hospital birth may seem like an unnecessary risk.
The American Academy of Pediatrics still reports that giving birth in the hospital is the best way to protect your baby’s health. However, this recommendation may not calm the anxiety you are feeling as an expecting mother. The attorneys at Finz & Finz P.C. have provided the following information about pregnancy and hospital births during the coronavirus pandemic, so you can keep yourself and your child healthy during this unprecedented time.
Are Pregnant Women at High Risk for COVID-19?
Current research indicates that pregnancy does not increase your risk of contracting COVID-19. However, pregnant women may experience more severe COVID-19 symptoms, which could significantly impact your health. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that COVID-19 may increase your risk for preterm birth.
You should limit your COVID-19 exposure as much as possible during pregnancy, by following the current health and safety guidelines such as:
- Wearing a mask anytime you are in public
- Keeping at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and others
- Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer whenever you cough, sneeze, or go to the bathroom
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth in public
- Reducing non-essential activities and travel
- Sanitizing your home, car, and workspaces more frequently
These precautions are essential to reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19 during pregnancy. However, even with increased caution, you may still be exposed to COVID-19, and you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you develop symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- High fever and chills
- Body aches
- Loss of taste or smell
You will need to work closely with your OB-GYN to monitor your health and your baby’s health if you contract COVID-19 during pregnancy. However, current data suggests that you still can have a healthy pregnancy and birth if you are COVID-19 positive.
Researchers have found that babies do not contract COVID-19 in-utero, but they may become infected after birth. For this reason, hospitals around the country have adopted advanced infection control protocols to keep mothers and their babies safe, despite increased risks from COVID-19.
COVID-19 Precautions in Hospitals
Although hospitals may seem like COVID-19 hot-spots, when staff and medical professionals follow infection control protocol, the risk of contracting COVID-19 at a hospital is incredibly low. Hospitals have introduced a variety of new protocols to prevent the virus from spreading throughout the building, and these measures are particularly strict in the birth and labor unit.
Hospitals typically keep COVID-19 patients and their doctors quarantined in a specific area of the hospital, to reduce the spread of the virus as much as possible. Most people with COVID-19 enter the hospital through the emergency room. From there, doctors may transfer patients to the intensive care unit, respiratory care center, or another area designated to treat coronavirus. The hospital’s maternity unit is entirely separated from these COVID-19 treatment areas, which reduces your chance of exposure.
Furthermore, hospitals have implemented extensive COVID-19 testing protocols, to quickly identify staff, patients, or visitors who are carrying the virus. All hospital staff and medical personnel undergo routine COVID-19 testing, to ensure they will not spread the virus to you or your baby.
When you check-in to the hospital, you and your birth support partner may also be tested for COVID-19. Visitors who test positive for COVID-19 cannot enter the labor and delivery unit. Additionally, mothers with COVID-19 will give birth in a separate area of the hospital, to reduce the likelihood of healthy mothers contracting the virus.
By implementing these new protocols as well as increasing hygiene and sanitation procedures, hospitals are doing everything possible to reduce your exposure to COVID-19, while helping you have a safe and healthy birth.
How Can You Protect Yourself from COVID-19 During Birth?
Even when a hospital implements the correct infection control protocols, it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19. Although your chances of exposure during a hospital birth are incredibly low, you can still take additional preventative measures to keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible.
Some of the most important precautions you can take while at the hospital include:
- Avoiding the emergency room. Talk to your OB-GYN before you go into labor about where to check-in and wait before you are admitted.
- Wearing a mask whenever you are outside of your hospital room. Do not leave your room or the maternity unit unless absolutely necessary.
- Using wipes to sanitize hard surfaces you may touch during labor and delivery
- Asking your partner or birth support person to wear a mask and maintain strict hand cleaning hygiene.
Combining the hospital’s COVID-19 protocols with your own health and safety practices will greatly reduce your chances of COVID-19 exposure during birth at a hospital.
Contact a New York COVID-19 Attorney
The attorneys at Finz & Finz P.C. have proudly served our clients for more than 35 years, and our dedication has not wavered during COVID-19. We are committed to providing New York residents the information they need to stay healthy during this time of crisis. Furthermore, we are ready to fight for you if another person’s reckless or negligent behavior put your health at risk.
If you contracted COVID-19 at a hospital, you need to contact the New York COVID-19 attorneys at Finz & Finz P.C. today. Schedule a free consultation on your case right now by calling 855-TOP-FIRM or filling out our online contact form.