COVID-19, labor, and delivery: Your questions answered

Here, the Ovia Health Clinical Team answers your questions about COVID-19, labor, and birth. Note that every health system has its own policies, and ultimately it’s best to ask your provider to learn more about your local hospital’s policies.

What will my labor and birth experience be like if I have COVID-19 or have been exposed?

It is extremely important that you call your healthcare provider before you go to the hospital if you think you have COVID-19 or think you might have been exposed. Once at the hospital, your provider knows what to do to reduce the risk that your baby (and the healthcare professionals who care for you) will become infected: health care providers are checked for symptoms before they come to work, wear masks, and put on additional protective clothing when they are around anyone even suspected of having the virus. They wash their hands routinely and completely sanitize any areas thought to have been contaminated. And, at this point, most healthcare workers have received a COVID-19 vaccine. You can verify if your hospital requires healthcare worker vaccination by checking out their website or calling.

Anyone thought to have COVID-19 is kept away from people considered to be healthy. If you do not have COVID-19, then except for the precautions related to COVID-19 (like mask requirements), and the limitations on visitors (see below), your experience is likely to be similar to what it would have been like before this crisis.

Should I consider a home birth, given the risk of COVID-19 infection during my labor and birth experience?

Your healthcare team is taking extraordinary precautions to prevent COVID-19 transmission in Labor and Delivery, as well as to take care of people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Birthing at home is a complex decision, and you deserve information and support as you navigate what is best for your family. This article describes some initial steps if you’re considering home birth

Will my partner be able to come with me when I’m in labor and after birth?

Most likely. Some hospitals temporarily banned all visitors, including partners, in the spring of 2020, but this decision was reversed. Almost all hospitals allow one support person to accompany you when you are in labor, although there may be increased restrictions on their movement while they are in the hospital with you. Visitors will likely be required to wear masks and may be tested along with you when you are admitted. When in doubt, ask your healthcare provider about the hospital’s rules.

What about other visitors besides my primary support person?

Visitors, including siblings, extended family members, and even doulas, are increasingly being allowed. Check in with your healthcare provider to find out your facility’s policy, and be aware that these policies can change at any time to be more or less restrictive.

Will I be able to go home early?

Most likely. Many hospitals are encouraging discharge one day after a vaginal birth and two days after a cesarean for parents without health issues or complicated deliveries who are safely able to go home at that time. Of course, hospitals are recommending longer stays for those patients who have a clinical reason to need a few more days in the hospital. This is a shared decision, so it’s a good idea to think ahead to what you may want postpartum.

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
Updated December 2023

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