Jul 23, 2020 • 3 min read

COVID Birth Planning: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Give Birth

  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter
  • Message

Coronavirus has upended women’s birth plans all over the world. Between hospitals restricting partners from attending the delivery and the very real anxiety parents have about keeping their baby safe- it seems like nobody is really sure how to handle this new situation. 

At this point, you may have decided to change your birth plan or you may just starting to plan it now. Whether you decide to give birth in a hospital, birthing center or at home, here are 5 questions you should be asking in order for you to feel prepared: 

1. What corona-related visitor policies should I expect at my birthing facility?

Even if you’re allowed to have your partner there during childbirth, you still might want to have extra support from your sister, doula, or a best friend. Because of Coronavirus, hospitals may limit the number of visitors to the hospital to minimize exposure risks. Call up your birthing facility beforehand and ask their options for virtual birth support. Will you have access to Wifi? Do you have to bring your own iPad/laptop or will they provide a virtual device for you? Providers have been fairly flexible with virtual support attendance, but this is a question you should ask beforehand, so you’re not worrying about it last minute in the hospital.

2. What do the arrival and discharge look like?

Since it’s been a few months since the onset of COVID-19, most hospitals and birthing centers already have a general protocol for the arrival and discharge of patients and support persons. Here is a general breakdown, it will be different in each facility but this is the most standard practice: when arriving at your birthing place, you and your support person will be screened for Coronavirus and given a mask if you don’t already have one. If your support person does not pass the symptom screening (including their body temperature), they will not be able to enter.  Most centers ask birthing persons to wear a mask if they leave their room, but most times she/he/they will not have to deliver with it on. Your support person will most likely have to stay in the room with you at all times and may not leave the hospital prior to discharge. Additionally, the same support person must remain the same throughout your stay and cannot be rotated with another person. These protocols look different for every birth, so talk to your providers beforehand. 

3. Do you want your baby with you at all times after birth?

In many hospitals, unless you specify, your baby will be cleaned and evaluated immediately after delivery. If you prefer to hold your baby for an extended period of time and get skin-to-skin contact, you should request this from your providers. Depending on your birthing facility, the nursery may or not be available due to COVID. If it is, are you ok with your baby spends time in it? Remember, you can always change your mind in the moment, but it’s helpful to have a good sense of what you’re comfortable with and not comfortable with beforehand. 

4. If I’m not permitted to have a support person present, how will your staff support me and help manage my emotional and physical needs during labor and delivery?

Ask yourself what you need for support during childbirth. Are there certain words you would like staff to not use? Would you like to know beforehand who will come into the room? Especially if your doula or support person is not allowed to be in the delivery room with you to help support everything else behind the scenes, this might look a little different. You might think about making a list of wishes, or verbally letting your providers know what you’re comfortable with when you arrive at the birthing place. There is no “right” and “wrong” way to navigate birth. It is completely up to you on how you would like to experience childbirth. 

5. What’s important to you?

Birth can be unpredictable. Sometimes, even though you have a birth plan all set up, it might not go exactly as planned. While you can’t control your birth experience, you can influence it. Ask yourself what the most important part is for you: is it that you have an unmedicated birth? That you have direct skin-to-skin contact post-delivery? Or maybe it’s that your partner is super involved. Whatever it is, try to communicate this to your support team. Medical providers are there to help you safely and happily bring your baby into the world, and will always try and do their best to support your needs and hopes. 

Looking for care? Book online with in-network specialists including acupuncturists, lactation consultants, nutritionists, physical therapists, mental health therapists, and more.