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Dignity Health Central Coast Hospitals Safe for Expectant Moms during COVID-19

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National labor and delivery guidelines have been created by Dignity Health Central Coast physician and adopted across the nation

SANTA MARIA, CA – April 29, 2020 – During the COVID-19 pandemic, CommonSpirit Health, Dignity Health’s parent company, has implemented measures nationally to ensure expectant mothers and new babies are cared for with extra precaution. Medical Director of Maternal/ Fetal Medicine for Dignity Health Central Coast, Laurence Shields, MD, was tasked to create national workflows utilized at French Hospital Medical Center, Marian Regional Medical Center, and all CommonSpirit Health and Dignity Health hospitals to reduce exposure to mom, baby, and health care staff as we move through the pandemic. 

Safety procedures have been implemented for the flow of the expectant mother as she is admitted for labor. For all expectant mothers preparing for delivery, the following procedures have been applied:

  • As testing availability has increased, we are currently testing everyone for COVID-19 when they are admitted to the hospital.
  • Additional precautions and hygiene measures are being taken, including additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce risk of infecting health care staff and the baby, when born.
  • Visitation is limited to one care partner per expectant mother, per day.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have ensured that we have the safest and best practices in place to protect expectant mothers and their babies,” says Dr. Shields. “We are responding to questions from pregnant women asking about home births due to concerns of exposure to coronavirus, which puts both mom and baby at a significantly higher risk a for poor outcomes. We want to reassure the public that our hospitals are safe and prepared, and expectant moms are in the best hands to deliver at our hospital throughout this pandemic, as they always have been.”

Overwhelming data has shown that pregnant women are not at an increased risk if they acquire COVID-19. Also, transmission of coronavirus from mom to baby prior to birth is thought to be either very rare or does not occur. 

For expectant mothers experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, be sure to call your OB/GYN to create a plan of care. If you are expecting, and experiencing shortness of breath or a medical emergency, please visit the Emergency Department immediately.

[Photo: Dr. Laurence Shields]


About Dignity Health Central Coast 
Dignity Health Central Coast is comprised of five award-winning hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services, and comprehensive home health services. For more information, visit



Publish date: 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020