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What should you expect during your hospital birth at this point during COVID-19?

Written by: Alyssa Smith, Birth Doula

I know this has been a major concern for many who are delivering during the pandemic.  Concerns about mask-wearing, who will be allowed in the labor room, visitors after the birth, and many other questions are common.  Well, as you know, there is not a single answer to all of these questions across the board because every hospital has their own protocol. BUT, I do hope that I can ease a few fears by giving my experience after attending a few hospital births recently.   The first was at the main Wake-Med hospital.  All they required of me as the doula was a temperature screening and to answer the Coronavirus questionnaire quickly as I entered the hospital. During my time there, I was required to wear a mask except for the moments when hospital personnel were not in the room with us.  The same protocol was carried out for the father.  The birth moved quickly, so the mother simply needed to answer the typical COVID-19 questions as the father and I did.  They did not require the birthing mother to wear a mask.  The only visitors permitted at Wake-Med were one support partner at a time (visitors could swap out) and a doula. The second hospital birth was at REX.  When I arrived, they took my temperature and asked me the typical questions as they did at Wake-Med.  The difference here was that I was required to provide proof of certification in order to attend this birth.  The father and I were required to wear masks except for when hospital staff were not in the labor room.  The birthing mother was not required to wear a mask.  However, she was required to receive a COVID-19 test upon arrival.  The only visitors allowed were one support partner and a certified doula.  I do not believe they permitted support persons to swap out. While I realize this in no way answered all of the questions swirling in your mind, I hope my experiences provide you with some comfort in knowing that the protocols (at least locally) should not inhibit your ability to have a positive birthing experience wherever you choose to deliver.   Congratulations on your new miracle!

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