What happens if I go into labour during the lockdown?

Husband checking if labor pain has subsided

Dr Anchen Laubscher, medical director of the Netcare Group, says that birth services will go ahead at all Netcare hospitals but with restrictions.

Now that the world is going through this unprecedented pandemic, suddenly normal things that we have done as parents seem complicated. One of these is how pregnant women safely navigate the experience of having to give birth in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pregnant moms in New York City, which is one of the states most impacted by the coronavirus in the US, are certainly not having it easy.

Childbirth practices seem to be affected as a network of hospitals in New York announced a new set of precautionary measures, including banning visitors while admitted patients are in labour.

Dr Dena Goffman, chief of obstetrics at Columbia University Medical Center says: “For the time being, we really do need to exclude all visitors, including partners, for women admitted in labour.”

The new directive was a “very difficult decision and not one taken lightly”.

In South Africa, on a media release on their operations during the coronavirus pandemic local hospital group Netcare said: “As of this morning 25 March, 2020, visiting hours at Netcare hospitals have been suspended, except in specific special circumstances, as a further precaution against the spread of Covid-19.

“In light of the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, we needed to take extraordinary measures to protect all healthcare teams and our patients who cannot be discharged,” said Dr Richard Friedland, Netcare chief executive officer.

The restriction of visits therefore also affects maternity patients. Dr Anchen Laubscher, medical director of the Netcare Group, says that birth services will go ahead at all Netcare hospitals with maternity units.

“One birthing partner will be allowed to support the mother giving birth. No external birth photographers/videographers will be allowed into the hospital to record the birth. This is in line with our efforts to restrict the number of people entering our hospitals, in order to limit the risk to patients and healthcare staff. You may have noted from a Netcare statement issued this morning that visiting hours at Netcare hospitals have been suspended, except in specific special circumstances where restricted visiting applies, as a further precaution against the spread of Covid-19.

“Restricted visiting applies to nurseries and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs): Only ONE parent at a time is allowed to visit their newborn in a nursery or NICU. This is on condition that the parent visiting has had no Covid-19 exposure and accepts that very strict infection prevention controls will be in place to minimise the risks to their baby and other babies being cared for in these facilities. No grandparents and siblings will be allowed to visit,” added Dr Laubscher.

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