Pregnancy can be such an exciting time! You’re bringing a life into the world and that’s joyful and something to celebrate. Unfortunately, there is also a side of pregnancy that can be scary and stressful – particularly in this time of COVID-19. If you’re pregnant or are trying to become pregnant and not already under the care of an Inspira Health OB/GYN you may have questions about pregnancy and COVID-19.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Inspira Medical Centers we wanted to help women get their questions about pregnancy, childbirth, and COVID-19 answered.
I’m sharing my experiences and information about Inspira Health maternity services as part of an ongoing partnership between Jersey Family Fun and Inspira. This is the sixth in a series of posts. We’d love for you to read my stories from the beginning, 10 Reasons to Deliver your Baby at Inspira Medical Centers in South Jersey.
Pregnancy And Covid-19, Important Information You Need to Know
COVID-19 has impacted normal life for people across the world. For expecting mothers, the pandemic has induced an unexpected stressor during their pregnancy journey. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few things you should know about pregnancy and COVID-19 from a panel of Inspira Health providers: Waverly Lutz, Certified Nurse Midwife, Inspira Gentle Beginnings, Michael Geria, D.O., board-certified obstetrician, Dawn Goffredo, RN-C, MSN, administrative director for Maternal Child Health.
Giving birth can not be postponed
Unlike elective surgeries, the delivery of a child can not be postponed a few weeks or months. It’s imperative that a mom-to-be feels confident that she can give birth safely.
“Expecting mothers have a heightened sense of concern for the well-being of their newborns with coronavirus being as contagious as it is. However, we do know some things that can help you to feel prepared and lessen these concerns.”Michael Geria, D.O., a board-certified obstetrician who delivers babies at Inspira’s Medical Centers in Vineland and Elmer
At Inspira Health, extra precautions and steps are being taken to protect all patients coming through their hospital doors – including mothers to be.
Does pregnancy cause COVID-19 to be more severe?
Women who are pregnant may be more susceptible to catching COVID –19 or any virus while pregnant but the bigger reason for pregnant women to be cautious is the fact that COVID-19 appears to be somewhat more severe in a pregnant woman.
Research suggests that pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized than women who and are not pregnant. Also, pregnant women have an increased risk for an intensive care unit (ICU) admission.
“When it comes to increased risk for hospitalizations, I am generally most concerned about pregnant women with health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure,“ says Waverly Lutz, a Certified Nurse Midwife, with Inspira Gentle Beginnings who delivers babies at Inspira’s Medical Centers in Vineland and Elmer “Still, I think each pregnant women should take precautions to protect herself from COVID-19 and talk to her doctor or midwife about her individual risk.”
It’s best to be careful if you’re expecting. As we learn more about COVID-19, new information about its impact on all individuals including pregnant women is being released all the time. Overall, if you are expecting, you want to take extra precautions to prevent contracting the disease. COVID-19 can be a difficult disease for any one.
Are Inspira Medical Centers testing pregnant women for COVID-19?
Inspira is testing women prior to scheduled inductions and c-sections. COVID testing is also done on admission to labor and delivery – regardless of symptoms – for women who arrive in spontaneous labor. For women who develop symptoms of COVID 19 during their pregnancies, they are referred to their PCPs or Urgent Care for testing and follow up.
How is COVID impacting prenatal care for women during their pregnancy?
Early on in the Pandemic, Inspira Health looked very carefully at how to limit in person visits to maximize the health and safety of moms, while they learned more about COVID19. Now that they have more information and know that measures such as social distancing, wearing masks, good hand hygiene, and careful screening for symptoms keep women safe, they have returned to a much more standard prenatal care schedule.
Additionally, Inspira is utilizing telehealth as needed, depending on the needs of their patients, and are taking care to follow strict guidelines in the office to make sure everyone who comes for inperson care is safe. As a result, fewer women are reporting delays in prenatal care due to concerns about COVID 19.
Is it safe to give birth at an Inspira hospital?
Yes. Hospitals and health care systems have implemented strict precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus within health care facilities.
All patients and employees entering Inspira Health locations under go a health screening before entering the buildings. Anybody who is suspected of having the virus, or needs to otherwise be evaluated for the virus, is being isolated from non-COVID-19 patients.
How is delivering a baby at Inspira Medical Centers different?
While your quality of care will not change at Inspira Medical Centers, it will look a little different. Inspira Health has a strict mask policy for all employees and visitors. To keep you and your baby safe, doctors, nurses, and medical team members will be wearing masks and personal protective equipment.
“If you go into labor now, expect to see your doctors and nurses in more protective equipment than you are used to. While this may be scary at first, understand that these practices will help keep you and your baby safe.”Michael Geria, D.O., a board-certified obstetrician who delivers babies at Inspira’s Medical Centers in Vineland and Elmer
Does the mom-to-be need to wear a mask during delivery?
Women can try to wear a mask during labor to prevent the spread of unwanted germs. If the masks become a problem or health concern during labor, Inspira will not mandate moms to wear them.
How are the Inspira Medical Center nurseries being kept safe for newborns?
Most newborns room with mom throughout their hospital stay and are discharged at the same time, but some babies need additional care in the NICU at Inspira Medical Center Vineland or the Neonatal Intermediate Care Nursery at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill. Both offer around the clock care from certified neonatal nurses and physician specialists from Nemours duPont Pediatrics.
Will I have to be alone at Inspira Medical Center when I deliver?
No, you do not have to be alone during childbirth or your delivery stay at Inspira hospitals.
Can my partner be with me during childbirth?
Yes. Maternity patients are allowed a single support partner during their hospital stay.
“Currently, a woman in labor at an Inspira maternity center can be accompanied by one support partner.”Dawn Goffredo, RN-C, MSN, administrative director for Maternal Child Health at Inspira
Please note that Inspira policies for women in labor may change over the course of the response to COVID-19. Inspira patients can learn more from their provider.
Will my doula be able to be part of my childbirth?
Yes. Moms are allowed to hire a doula for their birthing experience. One doula and one partner/support person can stay with a woman throughout labor and delivery to provide comfort.
Livestreaming and video chats….
You may not be able to have the whole family visit you while you’re in the hospital but they can be a part of your birth story. Your team at Inspira Health encourages – and can support – the use of video chat for moms to keep in touch with friends and loved ones who can’t be by their side in the hospital. It is a great way for family to provide support and encouragement and share in the celebration of the birth.
How can Inspira Gentle Beginnings play a role in my delivery?
Inspira Gentle Beginnings is a practice of certified nurse-midwives that deliver at Inspira Medical Center Elmer. These midwives believe care should include emotional, physical and spiritual support for every woman.
All of Inspira’s medical centers are designed to make patients feel more at-home while giving birth. The Gentle Beginnings midwives and nurses at Inspira Medical Center Elmer provide a special focus on optimal support and comfort for women choosing natural childbirth. The Maternity Center in Elmer is designed for this focus. There is a special entrance to the hospital for women in labor and spacious rooms with tranquil views of cornfields. You can stay in just one room throughout your stay. The room is planned for a natural childbirth experience and post-partum bonding. Learn more about having a baby at Inspira Medical Centers.
During this pandemic, Inspira’s maternity services at Inspira Medical Center Elmer, won yet another award. Newsweek recognized it as a Best Maternity Care Hospital. The distinction recognizes facilities that have excelled in providing care to mothers, newborns and their families.
The Elmer facility is designated a Baby-Friendly® birth facility for the Maternity care team’s optimal level of care for infant feeding. They were the first in New Jersey as well as the Delaware Valley to earn this prestigious award. Read more about the award.
Midwife, Waverly shares that midwives are used to focusing on intimate care and prepared to meet the emotional needs of women during the pandemic.
Can I nurse my child? Does COVID-19 pass through breastmilk?
Breastfeeding is safe. There is currently no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through breast milk. The virus is currently known to spread through respiratory droplets.
While breastfeeding is not a concern, if you are concerned, it may be wise to take other precautionary measures.
“Aside from feeding, infants spend great amounts of time in the presence of their parents, so it is important to consider how to protect them around the clock. Wearing a mask while holding a newborn, along with adequate hand-washing, will minimize risks for the infant, according to the CDC.”Dr. Michael Geria, D.O.
If a mom tests positive for COVID but isn’t showing any symptoms what are the recommendations concerning breastfeeding? Would the medications she might be taking for COVID pose any harm to her newborn?
According to the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) it is safe for moms who are positive for COVID-19 to breastfeed. The recommendations are for mom to wear a facemask and perform good hand hygiene prior to nursing.
Some COVID-positive mothers have felt more comfortable pumping breastmilk and having non-infected family members give the baby a bottle.
Treatment regimens can vary for COVID-positive women so it’s important that nursing moms reach out to their midwife or health care provider to confirm that the medications they are taking are safe.
Learn more about how Inspira Health supports breastfeeding moms in South Jersey.
Are you going through a pregnancy and have questions about COVID-19?
Your Inspira Health OB/GYN team encourages YOU to ask lots of questions. Any health practitioner working with an expecting mom should do the same. Every day health professionals learn more. Protocols and recommendations change to reflect that. Your concerns and questions are valid. Your providers can give you accurate guidance based on the most up-to-date information.
As always Inspira Health wants expecting moms to OWN THEIR PREGNANCY.
Honor your pregnancy and birth! It may look or feel a little different than you imagined, but know this special time is one to be celebrated. They are there to protect the birthing spaces so that you can feel safe and supported during your birth.
Inspira patients can learn more from their provider or by calling Inspira at (888) 312-4784.
For those not under the care of Inspira Health, any concerns that you may have about your pregnancy and COVID-19 should be brought to the attention of your obstetrician or midwife, who can offer you guidance and information specific to your region and individual hospital as well.
Learn more about Inspira’s three maternity centers in southern New Jersey at https://www.inspirahealthnetwork.org/own-your-birth-experience.
More about Inspira Medical Centers
To read more about Inspira Medical Center and the services they offer in South Jersey, visit these articles:
- 10+ Ways Giving Birth Changes a Woman Physically & Psychologically
- 10 Reasons to Deliver your Baby at Inspira Medical Centers in South Jersey
- How Inspira Lactation Consultants in South Jersey Help Breastfeeding Moms
- The 10 Places in Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill that Every Mom Will Appreciate
- 5 Tips for Having a Baby at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill
- Inspira Health Postpartum Depression Services for South Jersey Moms