COVID-19 has changed protocols at hospitals and doctor’s offices. For expectant mothers, it means nine months of OB visits that are anything but the same, and that includes labor and delivery.
Doctors know so much more about the virus so protocols continue to change, and NBC 6 anchor Sheli Muñiz brought us along to her weekly appointment as she approaches her due date to talk about what expectant mothers are experiencing these days.
At Serene Health OB/GYN and Wellness at Broward Health Medical Center, only a limited number of patients are allowed in the waiting room. A partner cannot come to the appointment unless it’s the occasional ultrasound visit.
This is a big adjustment for second-time mothers. Masks are required, as well as temperature checks, and patients fill out a COVID-19 screening form each time.
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As you approach your due date, your tour of the maternity ward is virtual, and during labor and delivery, only your birth partner and a certified birth assistant/doula are allowed.
Sheli is working from home for the last two weeks of her pregnancy to quarantine -- something her doctor, Dr. Delisa Skeete-Henry, spoke about.
“We’re testing all moms that come in for COVID. If they are positive, we’re having to do some follow-up testing with their partner to find a negative test to be the primary caregiver for baby," Dr. Skeete-Henry said. "We now know that we don’t necessarily have to separate mom and baby, we just need to take some precautions."
Dr. Skeete-Henry’s office is now recommending the COVID-19 vaccine, however, it is a personal choice and some moms are choosing to get it postpartum.
“If you can quarantine about 10-14 days before your due dates, but babies come when they want to so we may not have it perfect, you may decide to quarantine 10 days before and baby comes seven days early, but you’re doing the best you can to just eliminate potential risk for exposure,” she said.
Expectant mothers who aren’t first-timers say pregnancy during a pandemic has led to a very different experience from their previous pregnancies.