By: Dr. Clifton Wilkerson, OB-GYN, and Steve Hyde, CEO for Paris Regional Medical Center
Pregnancy always comes with its share of anxiety and fear, but the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer of concerns for expecting families. If you will be delivering a baby during the pandemic, you likely have many questions about how delivery in the hospital may be different right now and how you can keep yourself and your baby healthy.
Paris Regional Medical Center has always taken great pride in caring for expecting mothers and their babies and making sure that our community has access to great OB care. This dedication to our region’s growing families has continued throughout the pandemic and will go on long after this health crisis has passed.
We are committed to making sure that all moms and babies have the safest birthing experience possible, and we are taking every necessary precaution to protect our families in labor and delivery from exposure to COVID-19 and ensure the risk of infection expecting mothers and new babies is extremely low. Our extra precautions mean that some aspects of delivery will be as expected, but some may be a little different. The two main changes most families will experience are visitor restrictions and limited entry points to the hospital.
As part of our COVID-19 preparedness efforts, we have moved to a zero-visitor protocol hospital-wide; however, laboring and postpartum mothers are an exception to this rule. We realize childbirth is a unique situation; therefore, laboring moms may have one healthy adult with them for their delivery and the duration of their hospital stay. This means that every woman will be able to have a companion for as long as they are in the hospital, but visits with the new baby and siblings and other loved ones will need to take place once mom and baby have left the hospital.
Our COVID-19 preparedness efforts also have limited entry to the hospital, closing some of our typical entrances. This means that expecting mothers and their support person should plan to access the facility through the main hospital entrance, not the Woman and Baby’s Hospital entrance.
Additional measures PRMC is taking to support and ensure the safety of our expecting mothers and newborns include:
o Breastfeeding education classes via Zoom
o COVID testing and/or illness screening for all OB patients and visitors upon arrival
o Isolating any COVID-19-positive patients away from expecting mothers
o PPE available for laboring and postpartum mothers
o Early discharges (24 hours vaginal and 48 hours cesarean), as long as mom and baby are doing well
o Remote lactation support
o Limiting access to nursery/NICU
These measures have been implemented with great care, and we will continue to update them with the health and safety of our expecting mothers and families in mind.
Giving birth is one of the most miraculous and simultaneously overwhelming experiences under normal circumstances, and we realize our current situation is far from normal. In a time of uncertainty, the one thing all of our expecting families can be sure of is that our experienced OB staff members stand ready to help you on your journey to bring new life into the world. We might not be your family by technicality, but we are honored to have you be a part of ours for the short time we get to share with you. We are here to support you and keep you safe – today and every day the future holds.
You can find more information about COVID-19 and how PRMC is responding here or by contacting your care provider.