What if I do develop COVID-19 while pregnant or in hospital?

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How will my baby be protected and how will my birth experience and care look different?

With COVID-19 being a new virus we are still always learning but fortunately we have learned a lot from countries who have already lived through these challenges.  At LHSC we are carefully reviewing the research that has so far been completed and being updated almost daily.  With this information our doctors, nurses and leaders have been making very detailed plans for how we will manage any patient
that has COVID and is having a baby.  These plans include ways of keeping the newborn baby as safe as possible while trying to keep the birth experience as normal as possible.  

Your options will be discussed with you if this were to occur.   It is currently recommended that a baby born to a mother with COVID be separated by 6 feet or 2 metres with careful precautions in place before contact with the baby, if this is what you decide.  We are still not sure how likely it is that a newborn will get COVID from their infected mother.  All babies born to COVID-positive moms will be tested soon after birth and monitored very carefully. 

Breastfeeding is still recommended but it is highly suggested that Mom wear a mask while feeding baby and practice careful hand hygiene before having the baby come within 2 metres.  This does seem scary to many but there are still many benefits to breastfeeding and this may actually help your baby develop immunity to the COVID-19 virus.  Your partner or support person would stay with the baby in a separate room or in a semi-private room with distance and a curtain between you and the baby.  They will be required to wear a mask & gown in that space and gloves for any contact with the baby.  There is also the option of having you express your breastmilk with a pump, or using formula, and having your partner feed the baby in a completely separate room. 

Just remember that if this scenario were to happen, our healthcare team will explore all options with you and help you make the best decisions for you and your new baby.

One thing to keep in mind is that if your partner is staying with you, and you are COVID-positive, they will not be allowed to leave the room without a mask on and cannot leave the unit to go to the cafeteria or other common areas.  We will help to ensure food is provided and support everyone involved.