March of Dimes position on support during labor and delivery during COVID-19

April 2, 2020

You may have seen some news reports about changes hospitals in the U.S. have made to their labor and delivery policies, in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes who can be with a woman while she gives birth and visitor policies after delivery of her baby.

Support during labor and delivery

March of Dimes supports the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) to allow one birthing partner to support women in labor. Experts agree that having a support person during labor leads to better health outcomes. To ensure a safe and positive birth experience the birthing partner should be a companion of choice. This can include a spouse, significant other, doula, family member, or friend. March of Dimes believes all women must feel properly supported during such an important life-event.

Your birth plan

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many women’s birth plan. We have updated our birth plan template to meet the new needs pregnant women may have during this pandemic. If you are pregnant, we encourage you to contact your health care provider and hospital you planned to deliver in to learn about any changes to their policies. If you are considering a change to your birth plan, like having a home birth instead of having your baby at a hospital or accredited birth center, discuss the risks and benefits with your health care provider.

Prevention of COVID-19 in medical facilities

March of Dimes recognizes that hospital system administrators in certain parts of the country have to make decisions that ensure the safety and well-being of pregnant women, babies, hospital staff and other patients. However, it is crucial that hospital systems monitor and assess how COVID-19 is affecting the health of their community to avoid unnecessary restrictions. If hospitals have unnecessary restrictions this could be seen as discriminatory against a laboring woman.

March of Dimes continues to encourage that all people, businesses and health care organizations follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines related to preventing the spread of COVID-19.  At this time, we have limited information on how COVID-19 may affect a pregnant woman or her baby. What we do know is that slowing the spread through social distancing can help our health care system and prevent at-risk individuals from getting the critical care they need – especially pregnant women, new moms and babies.

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