May 19, 2020
The arrival of COVID-19 has affected many services at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), but soon-to-be-parents can rest reassured that their new arrival will be welcomed into the world safely as a result of precautions in place to protect mom and baby.
“LHSC has worked hard to ensure that our expectant parents and their babies remain safe from the time they walk through our doors, until they’re discharged home,” says Dr. Tracey Crumley, Interim Chair/Chief, Obstetrics and Gynecology at LHSC. “Not only have we continued to provide care throughout this time, but we have also practiced simulations and scenarios surrounding COVID-19 so that we can be prepared for anything. We know the experience may be different than pre-COVID-19, but our goal is to make things as safe, normal and comfortable as possible.”
To limit potential exposure to or transmission of COVID19, the hospital has implemented some restrictions and changes including:
- In the weeks leading up to birth, women may experience ‘virtual’ prenatal check-ups with their Obstetrician, or an altered visit schedule to minimize visits to hospital. If coming to the hospital, women will not be able to bring their partner or support person with them for appointments or triage visits.
- Only one essential visitor is allowed to accompany women once they have been determined to be in active labour, and that person is not allowed to leave or spell off with someone else for the duration of the hospital stay.
- Women giving birth via C-section will not be able to have their essential visitor in the operating suite with them, however the visitor can remain in the hospital, and visit once mom and baby are in the recovery room.
- If a baby needs to be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), partners will not be able to stay with the new mom on the Mother Baby Care Unit after birth. However, he or she is able to visit and assist with care for the baby in NICU, since they are considered essential as a parent to an ill child. Mothers who are still patients in hospital will also be able to visit their baby in NICU.
- Midwives are still providing care in the hospital, however doulas are not permitted at this time.
Through a series of videos and online resources, parents-to-be can learn more about what to expect, how to prepare for labour and delivery, and what essential items to bring to hospital. This website will be updated if and when changes are made to the maternal care process in the coming weeks and months.
“The birth of a child is an exciting time, and we will do everything we can to help parents navigate the complexities of these new COVID-19 protocols so that their birth experience can be as joyful and positive as possible. This is still the safest place to have your baby”, says Dr. Crumley.