At Dominican Hospital, it is our highest priority to ensure your health and safety during this unprecedented time. To help support that, we have implemented changes in our normal protocols to make your birth experience as safe as possible. We know that some of these changes will require adjustments from all parties involved, but they are necessary to ensure you are receiving the highest quality of care.
We would also like to reiterate that the Birth Center is, and has always been, a locked unit and is in no way connected to the units where medical patients are admitted. As such, you will never be in proximity to non-pregnant COVID-19 patients. The best news? Your designated support person will be there by your side throughout your labor, birth and postpartum experience.
For all patients:
- Upon arrival, you and your support person will be screened for symptoms and have your temperature taken. You will also be given a mask, as will your support person:
- If you are arriving on a weekday between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m., or weekends between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., you may enter through the front/main hospital entrance. You can then gain access to the Birth Center by ringing the telecom outside the front doors.
- If you are arriving outside the above listed hours, you will check in at the tents outside of the ER, where you will be screened for symptoms and provided with masks. Then, you will be escorted inside the hospital through a separate entrance (you will not be walked through the ER), and directed to the Birth Center. You can then gain access to the Birth Center by ringing the telecom outside the front doors.
- Upon arrival, you will be further screened by nasopharyngeal swab. You will be asked to wear a mask until your screening results have returned (approximately one hour).
- You are allowed one dedicated support person in the room to be by your side throughout your labor, delivery and postpartum stay.
- For your safety and the safety of our staff, this person is to be designated at the beginning of your admission and cannot be switched out.
- While in the hospital, your chosen support person will need to stay in your room. They may visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and nursery, but otherwise cannot move about the hospital.
- If screening results reveal your support person to be positive for COVID-19, for your and your baby’s safety they will not be allowed in the hospital. In this case, you may choose a different support person to be with you during your stay. If your support person develops signs or symptoms of COVID-19 during your stay, they will be asked to leave.
- Pain management options:
- For your safety and in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some pain management options such as nitrous oxide are not available.
- Intravenous and epidural pain management options will still be available to you.
- To support you on your breastfeeding journey, inpatient and outpatient lactation services will still be available and will support you to their fullest capacity during this time.
- You will be discharged no earlier than 24 hours after delivery to allow for adequate time to observe the baby and complete the needed neonatal screens.
- If you have had a vaginal delivery and are cleared from an obstetric standpoint, you will then be discharged home.
- If you had a cesarean section and are cleared from a post-surgical standpoint, you will be discharged home.
For COVID-19 positive patients who have recovered from the infection:
- If you have been diagnosed or became symptomatic within the last 14 days, the COVID-19 positive guidelines (below) will be followed.
- If you have been diagnosed or became symptomatic more than 14 days ago but have had a fever or used medications to suppress your fever in the past 72 hours, or your symptoms are not improving, the COVID-19 positive guidelines (below) will be followed.
- If you have been diagnosed more than 14 days ago and have not had any fevers and/or have not used medications to suppress your fever in the past 72 hours AND your symptoms are improving, you will be treated as a non-infected patient.
For COVID-19 positive patients or for persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19:
- If you are well enough, your support person will be allowed in the room during labor and the postpartum period. They will be asked to take extra precautions and wear additional protective equipment (beyond a face mask).
- If you need a cesarean section, your support person will not be allowed into the operating room for their safety. Surgery is a high-risk event for transmission of the virus, and thus we must restrict the number of people in the operating room to limit exposure. The baby will be handed off to the pediatrician who will perform the standard initial screening and immediately take the baby to a safe and clean room. At this time, if cleared by the NICU, your support person may spend time bonding while your surgery is completed.
- Following delivery, the baby will also be considered a PUI until mom’s tests are negative, and anyone in contact with the baby will need to wear additional protective equipment.
- Following delivery, it is recommended that mother and baby be separated to prevent transmission of the virus to the baby. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends a separate room for mom and baby.
- If you are planning on breastfeeding, we encourage you to pump and allow your support person (wearing protective equipment) to feed your baby in a separate room. If you refuse the recommended separation, you will be asked to sign a refusal of treatment form indicating that you are aware of the risks involved with not isolating yourself from your infant.
- If the baby rooms in with you, we will request six feet of physical separation between mom and baby (except when feeding), as well as additional protective equipment on mom while feeding and on your support person when caring for the baby.