Giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic must be every pregnant woman’s nightmare. Bearing a child is stressful enough, even without the threat of coronavirus. Now, expectant mothers all over the world must take even more precautions to keep themselves and their child healthy. While everyone deserves a certain standard of support during delivery, strict implementation of social distancing has changed the way hospitals operate. To help you prepare for your special day, we’ve gathered some information for you! 

The pandemic has affected labor and child delivery all over the world. While hospitals in the Philippines have yet to release official guides and statements about their protocols for expectant mothers, there have been reports that some hospitals have gone as far as banning spouses or birth partners in delivery rooms to reduce risk to the community, forcing pregnant women to give birth alone.

Mykka Belena, who gave birth last March 29 in a well-known hospital in the Philippines, shared her experience being affected by the newly-implemented protocols: “My husband was not allowed to accompany me in the labor and delivery room. He just saw me and the baby after being released from the recovery room.”

According to her, she, along with her husband and her newborn, did a 14-day quarantine at home after giving birth, where they distanced themselves from other family members including their 5-year-old son, to ensure that everybody in the household was safe.

She described that testing for COVID-19 as a pregnant woman was not a requirement during her time at the hospital, especially because she wasn’t experiencing any symptoms. But apparently, protocols have since changed for some hospitals: “Today, it is mandatory for pregnant women who are about to give birth to test for COVID,” claimed Belena.1 It’s also been reported that aside from undergoing mandatory swabbing for COVID-19 in certain hospitals, expectant mothers would then have to be confined for self-isolation after taking the test—even before results are out—until it’s time to give birth. The new mom will then be able to reunite with her husband and newborn after giving birth, assuming she has been cleared from the virus.

It’s important to note that all hospitals have varying policies, so it’s best to contact your OB-GYN or hospital about their protocols to make sure you’re ready for what’s to come. 

Strict policies may trigger additional stress and anxiety to some pregnant women, but don’t fret—the Philippines’ Department Of Health (DOH) assures it is safe to give birth in hospitals and other health facilities amid the coronavirus crisis.2 In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) also assures that cesarean section is not necessary, and should only be performed when medically justified.3

Nevertheless, no matter the hospital and its policies, it’s always best to follow proper practices inside the delivery room.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a very small number of newborns have been tested positive for the virus shortly after birth. However, mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy is said to be unlikely, but a newborn after birth is susceptible to person-to-person spread4—that is why it is advised that everyone in the delivery room must practice proper hygiene. Every individual needs to be temperature-tested before entering, and should wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well. It has been discussed in mommy group threads that this unfortunately could result in a slight increase in hospital fees since healthcare professionals must always wear fresh PPEs when entering the maternity area.

Although newborns are of low risk for COVID-19 infection, mothers still need to take extra precautions given that stepping into the outside world has been a challenging battle in this warfare of germs. In many cases, women have to face one of the most challenging days of their lives without their loved ones by their side, too. While all of this is a difficult compromise, complying to these new rules will not only keep you and your newborn safe, but the entire community as well. Albeit this burdensome time, we are with you every step of the way as you go through your journey to motherhood!

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1 Interview with Mykka Belena
2 CNN Philippines. April 9 2020. DOH tells pregnant women: Don't be afraid to give birth in hospitals
3 World Health Organization. 18 March 2020. Q&A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Do pregnant women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 need to give birth by caesarean section?
4 Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. April 15 2020. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding