Frequently Asked Questions

Many pregnant women may have questions about planning the birth of their baby during the pandemic. We’re here to support you and help address some of your concerns. 

The following information is intended to provide general answers to some commonly asked questions. As situations may change, it is always best to confirm details with the hospital at which you plan to deliver.

If you are planning to deliver at one of our hospitals in Richmond, please read below and then see these additional Richmond FAQs

Are there online prenatal classes I can attend?

Yes, please contact your obstetrics department for information and the free link to online classes.

I’m worried about having my baby in a hospital during a pandemic. Is it safe?

Bon Secours/Mercy Health hospitals are always committed to providing safe care, and we are equipped to continue caring for mothers and babies.

Your care providers and hospital staff are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and doing everything they possibly can to provide safe, exceptional patient care. Read more about what we’re doing.

For more on this topic, you can read this COVID-19 blog article.

What are you doing to protect me and my baby? 

Your care team will take steps to prevent spreading the infection during and after delivery. Learn more about the safety precautions we are taking here

Will I be allowed to have a visitor during labor and delivery?

Yes, you may have a visitor to support you during your delivery. As the safety of you and your baby is our top priority, many of our facilities are limiting the number of visitors.

As the coronavirus pandemic evolves across our country, we are constantly evaluating and updating our practices to keep our communities safe. We recognize that having support is important for the well-being of our patients, and when it is deemed safe for our patients, health care workers and visitors, restrictions may be lifted.

We recommend you visit your hospital’s location page on our website or reach out to your hospital directly to learn about current visitor restrictions.

For mothers who have tested positive for COVID-19 with no symptoms in the past 10-14 days, they may have one visitor that has also been asymptomatic for the past 10-14 days.

Can I have my doula present during my delivery?

Yes, a doula is allowed as a support person during your delivery. However, please know that a doula counts as one visitor/support person, so please be aware of your hospital’s current visitor restrictions when deciding. We also encourage connecting with your doula via technology if it is not possible to be present.

We recommend you visit your hospital’s location page on our website or reach out to your hospital directly to learn about current visitor restrictions.

Will I have to wear a mask?

In accordance with CDC guidelines, masks are recommended, but no longer required, in our facilities.

However, visitors should not visit patients if they have recently experienced a high-risk exposure to someone with COVID-19, a respiratory illness or other symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Will I be tested for COVID-19 when I go in to deliver my baby?

We have begun testing pregnant patients prior to their scheduled C-sections and at approximately the 38th week of pregnancy.  We recommend you discuss testing with your care provider for further information/explanations to best provide care for you and your newborn or reach out to your hospital directly to learn about testing.

If I test positive for COVID-19, will I be separated from my baby? Will I be able to breastfeed?

Your care providers will discuss the options of remaining with your infant or being separated based on you and your newborn’s health status, and you will make a shared decision of what is best for both of you. You will be given the opportunity to breastfeed, and we will assist and encourage you.

How can COVID-19 affect pregnant women, fetuses and newborns? Can I pass COVID-19 to my baby during pregnancy?

Very little is known about COVID-19’s potential to cause problems during pregnancy. We don’t know how an infection affects the health of the baby before and after birth. Recent studies have suggested that the coronavirus can cause pregnant women to become very ill very quickly. Ask your care team for the latest information.

Mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 during pregnancy is unlikely. However, after birth, a newborn can be infected after being in close contact with an infected person, including the baby’s mother or other caregivers. 

What should I do to stay healthy? 

You can stay healthy by following the usual pregnancy recommendations, stopping the spread of germs, and managing your stress and anxiety. Steps you can take include:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water often
  • Wearing a mask when you leave the house
  • Staying away from anyone who is sick
  • Staying home as much as possible
  • Maintaining social distancing when out
  • Eating healthy meals 
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Staying connected with friends and family
  • Taking breaks from coronavirus news and social media
  • Telling your provider if you are feeling sad or anxious

The final weeks before your delivery are an important time to continue social distancing. This means limiting contact with people outside your immediate family. This will lower your risk of getting COVID-19 just before you have your baby.

Can I leave the hospital early (after 24 hours) if I want to?   

Your and your baby’s health is our highest concern. We’ll discuss requests for early discharge with you on a case-by-case basis.

Who should I call if I have questions? Who should I call if I think I am in labor?   

You can call your usual OB clinic or the OB provider on call.