Answers to commonly asked questions about prenatal visits during the COVID-19 crisis

We know as an expectant mom, you may have questions about your health and safety during prenatal visits. Given COVID-19, we have made some changes which are intended to help keep our patients, staff and communities safe and reduce the possible spread of COVID-19. To help you learn how we are protecting you and your baby, we’ve included answers to commonly asked questions below.

Is it safe for me to come into the OB/GYN clinic for prenatal appointments?

Your prenatal appointments are an important part of your care during pregnancy. We plan to continue to safely deliver that care despite the current COVID-19 crisis.

To help protect you and other patients, Adventist Health providers may schedule some appointments as virtual visits via video using video on your phone or desktop computer. Video visits are great for routine, non-urgent medical visits such as prenatal visits.

Your care team will contact you prior to your appointment to discuss if you should come in person or do a virtual visit via phone or video. This decision will be based on the stage of your pregnancy and your health. If a virtual visit is recommended but you’d like to be seen in person due to a health concern, we’ll be happy to schedule an in-person visit.

If you do require an in-person visit, we have taken steps to ensure your safety. We screen every patient prior to entry to the clinic. All patients and staff are required to wear a mask during the entire visit unless a clinician asks that it be removed. We’ve also staggered our patient schedules to minimize the number of patients waiting in our lobby areas, which have been reconfigured to allow for safe physical distancing.

You’ll also be called the day before an in-person appointment to see if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. If you have any symptoms, we’ll have to reschedule, and we may recommend you get tested depending on your symptoms.

Between in person-visits, your provider may ask you to take additional steps to monitor yourself at home, such as checking your weight or blood pressure. Your provider will guide you on symptoms that you should come in for immediately.
If I need to come in for my appointment, can I bring someone with me?
We kindly ask that you don’t bring anyone with you to your prenatal appointments, unless you have a physical disability or need authorized caregiver support. In order to protect our staff and patients, we are restricting visitors in our hospital and clinics during the pandemic.

If I need to come in for my appointment, what can I do to stay safe?

When you come in for appointments, we ask that you wear a mask or cloth face covering over your mouth and nose prior to and during the entire visit unless a clinician asks you remove it.

Are education classes canceled?

All of our in-person prenatal education classes have been canceled. To learn more about how you can access educational resources, call 323-265-5050.

Can I tour the hospital where I plan to deliver my baby?

To limit the spread of COVID-19, we’re not offering in-person tours of our hospital or labor and delivery unit. We encourage you to call 323-265-5050 to learn about virtual tour options.

Should I make any changes to my labor and delivery plans?

No. We have taken every precaution to ensure your safety and that of your newborn baby while in the hospital. The timing and method of your delivery (vaginal or cesarean) don’t need to be changed and should be discussed with your physician. We’re here to take care of you throughout your labor and delivery.

What will happen when I go into labor?

If you’re having labor pains, your water breaks or you can’t feel the baby move, please call your provider or come to the hospital.

When you arrive at the hospital, someone will ask you about COVID-19 symptoms and take your temperature. If you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell, let them know.

If you have an uncomplicated delivery, we’ll try to take care of you and get you back to your home as quickly as possible.

Should I bring my baby in for a well-child visit during the COVID-19 crisis?

Yes, in most cases, you should bring your baby in for a scheduled well-child visit. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you continue well-child visits and immunizations for your baby. These infant preventive visits generally take place in the following order after delivery: 2 to 3 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months and 18 months.

To help keep you and your child safe, we have dedicated areas for pediatric care to limit your exposure to the virus. Before your appointment, you’ll be screened over the phone for COVID-19 symptoms. If you and your child aren’t showing any symptoms, you’ll most likely be scheduled for an in-person visit. However, if any symptoms develop between the time you set up the appointment and the visit, you must reschedule. Also, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, only one parent or caregiver may come with the child to the visit.

Am I at increased risk for COVID-19 during pregnancy?

COVID-19 is a new disease, so information on how the virus affects women who are pregnant is limited. Based on the most current information, pregnant women don’t appear to be more likely to get infected with COVID-19 than other people. Current reports also show that pregnant women who get the virus don’t have more severe symptoms than others.

We do know that pregnant women experience changes in their bodies and immune systems that make them more likely to get viral respiratory infections, like the flu, with more serious complications.

While we don't yet know about possible pregnancy loss related to COVID-19, miscarriage and stillbirth have occurred in some pregnant women infected with other viral respiratory infections. High fevers during the first trimester can also increase the risk of certain birth defects.

What should I do if I have COVID-19?

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, follow the advice from the CDC and your OB/GYN provider or other health care professional. The current CDC guidelines for those with COVID-19 includes the following:

  • Stay home except to get medical care. Avoid public transportation.
  • Speak with your healthcare team over the phone before going to their office. Get medical care right away if you feel worse or think it’s an emergency.
  • Separate yourself from other people in your home.
  • Wear a face mask when you are around other people and when you go to get medical care.

How do I protect myself from COVID-19 during my pregnancy?

Stay at home and use physical distancing. If possible, self-isolate in your home. This means spending all or most of your time in a separate area.

  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water and wash for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Wear eyeglasses instead of contact lenses to avoid touching your eyes.
  • Wear a mask when you are near people. If you must go out of your home for an essential reason, be sure to stay six feet away from others.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, is it safe for me to go to work if I’m pregnant?

If possible, you should try to work from home or request to work in a physical space that lets you stay six feet away from others.

You can email your provider for a note that says you’re pregnant. Your employer will have to decide if they can accommodate the restrictions needed for proper physical distancing. If not, your employer may offer you temporary disability. Please note, your provider can’t make your employer offer you remote work opportunities or disability.
For jobs that are considered essential services, pregnant employees may be asked to continue working. A few examples include law enforcement, healthcare, pharmacy, firefighting and caregiving at residential nursing facilities.

Can I travel if I’m pregnant?

Due to the current risk of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continually updating its travel recommendations for all citizens. We recommend you review and consider these recommendations before traveling. Please see the CDC’s coronavirus travel recommendations for the latest updates.

How do I keep my newborn safe once we get home from the hospital?

While you’re eager to introduce your newborn to your friends and family, it’s more important to keep your baby safe and healthy. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Ensure that you wash your hands with soap and water before providing general care and feeding to your baby.
  • It’s best to limit the number of people who touch or hold your baby. Instead of in-person visits, consider video calls or sharing pictures online with friends and family.
  • When visitors do come, make them wash their hands with soap and water, use hand sanitizer often and maintain at least six feet of distance.
  • No one with a cough, cold or fever should visit the baby.
  • Your friends and family can still help by dropping off diapers, bags of groceries and prepared meals. All items should be left at your front door to avoid infection.

Can COVID-19 pass to a baby through breast milk?

Researchers are still learning if COVID-19 can pass through breast milk and cause infection in the baby. Most information shows that it is safe to feed breast milk to your baby when you have COVID-19.

Remember that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most babies. Breast milk also helps protect babies from infections, including infections of the ears, lungs, and digestive system. For these reasons, having COVID-19 should not stop you from giving your baby breast milk.

We encourage you to discuss the decision about whether to breastfeed your baby with your provider. If you have COVID-19, or you’re waiting for test results, take extra care to avoid spreading it to your baby:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before touching the baby.
  • Wear a face mask while breastfeeding.
  • If using a breast pump, wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use.

By taking these important safety precautions, you’ll help keep your baby healthy and still bond during this special time.

What should I do if my child has COVID-19 symptoms?

The most important thing you can do is keep your child home and away from others. Because COVID-19 can have the same symptoms as many viruses, including the flu, you should keep your child away from any high-risk adults (even if you don’t know for sure your child has COVID-19) until they’re symptom-free for 72 hours. This includes keeping your child away from anyone over 65, anyone with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women, if possible.

Care for your child as you would for someone with any typical cough or cold. Cold and cough medications aren’t recommended for children under six. If you’re worried about your child’s illness, or if their symptoms are moderate, severe or not going away, please call your provider for advice.