March of Dimes Statement on Hospital Visitation and Support Policy for Laboring Women During Covid-19

April 1, 2020

March of Dimes encourages all people, businesses and health care institutions to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines related to preventing the spread of COVID-19.  At this time, limited information exists on how this novel virus impacts pregnant women, their unborn babies and infants. By slowing the spread through social distancing, we can prevent a sudden spike in cases that will overburden the healthcare system and prevent at-risk individuals from getting the critical care they need – particularly pregnant women, new moms and babies.

March of Dimes supports the recommendations of the World Health Organization to allow one birthing partner to support a laboring woman, which has shown to lead to better health outcomes. To ensure a safe and positive birth experience; a companion of choice should accompany laboring women during delivery. A companion of choice can include a spouse, significant other, doula, family member, or friend.

Concurrently, we recognize that hospital system administrators in certain jurisdictions must take the necessary steps to prioritize the health and well-being of a laboring woman, her baby, hospital staff and other patients.  It is imperative, however, that hospitals systems continuously assess the situation in their communities and avoid an overreaction that unnecessarily restricts birthing partners and could be seen as discriminatory against a laboring woman.  Women who may be considering a home birth in lieu of a hospital or accredited birth center at this time should discuss the risks and benefits with their health care provider.

Additional Resources:

Inpatient Obstetrics Healthcare Settings