COVID-19 Pregnancy and Delivery FAQs
COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not been previously seen in humans, which was first identified in China in 2019. Please know, we regularly treat patients with infectious diseases and have comprehensive protocols and resources to ensure we are able to do so with the highest regard to health and safety. The information compiled below is regularly updated based on new guidelines and safety measures. Read our general FAQs about COVID-19 or learn more about our new temporary visitor policy.
Pregnancy Health and Safety
Q: Am I at a higher risk from COVID-19 because of my pregnancy?
A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that based on current information, pregnant women are higher risk than non-pregnant women for severe illness caused by COVID-19. It is important to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19.
How do I protect myself and my unborn baby from COVID-19?
Please visit the CDC website for recommendations on how to protect yourself.
Q: Is it safe to attend my OB appointments?
A: To ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery, it is very important to continue attending your OB appointments. Please remember to wear a mask for your visits and wash/sanitize your hands.
For further concerns and questions related to visits, please reach out to your OB provider.
Q: How can I access tours and classes during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We recognize the importance of classes, tours, and education to our patients, especially during this time. We are offering live classes via Zoom including Childbirth Express, Baby Care, Infant Safety, and Breastfeeding Basics. Virtual tours of our birth center are also available.
Planning Your Delivery
Q: Is it safe to deliver a baby the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Our hospitals are the safest place to have your baby. We have all the medical services to support you and your baby's needs, including highly trained staff and infectious disease experts.
We have implemented the highest level of precautions to ensure every mom and baby can have a safe and high-quality delivery.
Both hospitals have health screeners stationed at entrances who ensure all who enter are provided a mask. All health care providers also undergo health screening each day. Our Mountain View campus has a separate Women’s Hospital and parking garage. Our Los Gatos campus has a separate, secure wing dedicated to mother-baby health.
If you have not yet registered, you can register online now.
Q: Should I be tested for COVID-19 before my labor?
- If you are worried you may have COVID-19, please contact your primary doctor and OB provider for guidance.
- We are no longer testing fully vaccinated, asymptomatic OB patients prior to delivery. Vaccinated patients need to bring their vaccination card to the hospital for verification by hospital staff.
- Patients who are not fully vaccinated, lack documentation of vaccination, and/or have symptoms will have a rapid COVID-19 test on admission to ensure safety of patients, visitors, and staff.
Q: Who can be with me during labor and delivery?
A: We understand this is a special time for you and your family. For the safety of our patients and staff, you may have (1) support person at a time, up to (2) two per day. Professional doulas may also attend your delivery per California Department of Health guidelines.
Below are some guidelines for your partner/support person:
- Ensure your birth partner/support person is a healthy adult.
- Birth partners/support persons will wear a mask in the hospital and should limit the number of times they leave the room. Food may be ordered from the room, or from local food delivery services.
- We are happy to support virtual visits with friends and family.
El Camino Health has developed the following guidelines to support our patients who have Doulas in attendance during their labor and delivery. Please note that this guidance may change due to evolving local and state guidelines.
To ensure the safety of patients, visitors, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, all Doulas will follow the guidelines below that reflect many of the same requirements of our staff and visitors.
- Not attend labor and delivery of patients who are COVID-19 positive.
- Be fully vaccinated (2 weeks since final dose) OR have a negative COVID-19 test within the last 7 days.
- Bring vaccination card and/or documentation of a negative test within the last 7 days to the hospital. We will record your information in a log as required by the county.
- Be screened at hospital entry for risk factors and symptoms of COVID-19. To enter the hospital, all visitors and staff must be asymptomatic and have not been exposed to any persons in the last 14 days who have had a positive COVID-19 test result.
- Wear appropriate PPE per hospital guidelines.
- Follow guidelines for attending a patient on labor and delivery:
- Shelter in place within the patient room/unit and minimize leaving and returning as much as possible.
- One person can accompany the patient walking in the hall during labor.
Q: Will I be able to have lactation support?
A: Our experienced nurses and lactation consultants continue to be available to support your breastfeeding needs.
Q: Are there changes to how labor is managed due to COVID-19?
- Pain medications and epidurals continue to be readily available, but Nitrous Oxide is not available at this time.
- Walking during labor is limited to one patient/partner at a time in the hall. Both you and your partner/support person will need to wear a mask.
- Your delivery team will wear gowns, gloves, masks, and eye protection to ensure the good health of all present.
What if I am COVID-19 Positive?
Our Mother-Baby services are ready to support you and your baby. We have specially prepared isolation rooms and services to provide excellent care to moms with respiratory symptoms.
Q: What should I do before I arrive at the hospital?
Make sure you notify your OB provider as soon as you receive a positive COVID-19 test so they may advise you and ensure appropriate monitoring and pregnancy care.
Q: What should I do when I arrive at the hospital?
Please call Labor & Delivery from your car when you arrive and wear a mask or face covering. Labor and Delivery staff will ensure you safely arrive at the unit. You will be given a hospital mask and admitted to a prepared isolation room. Staff and providers will wear gowns, gloves, masks, and eye protection when providing your care.
Will I be able to have a support person present if I have COVID-19?
Yes, you will be able to have one support person during your hospital stay as well. The support person should be healthy and not have an active COVID-19 infection, will wear a mask, and stay in your room during your hospital stay.
Will I be asked to wear a mask if I have COVID-19?
Like other patients, you will be given a mask when you arrive. You will be asked to wear a mask when staff and support person are present.
Q: Will I be able to stay in the same room as my baby if I have COVID-19?
A: It is uncommon for newborn babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers to become infected. The risk of a newborn becoming infected is low if a mother takes preventative steps including wearing a mask and washing their hands regularly. Because of this, and a very low risk of severe illness in newborns, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends mother and baby room-in together.
Our provider and staff team will work with the mother and support person to determine how to provide a safe environment for newborn care within the mother's room. If either mother or baby requires a higher level of care, they would be temporarily separated.
Q: Can I breastfeed my baby if I have tested positive for COVID-19?
A: Our experienced nurses have advanced training to support all your lactation needs. COVID-19 does not appear to transfer to the baby through breastmilk. The decision to breastfeed when you test positive for COVID-19 is a personal decision. You and your family will have to weigh the benefits of breastfeeding versus the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to your newborn. If a mother prefers to breastfeed, we will assist her with proper masking and hand washing. We encourage discussing this decision with your pediatrician.
For additional information please visit the CDC website Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Breastfeeding.
Q: Will my baby be tested for COVID-19 if I have a positive COVID-19 test?
A: The AAP recommends that babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers are tested 24 hours after birth, followed by another test at 48 hours after birth (if you are still admitted in the hospital). Your pediatrician will guide your baby's care.
Maternal Mental Health Support and Resources
Q: What can I do for my mental wellness during pregnancy?
- Ensure you stay informed with the latest COVID health information.
- Ensure you get enough sleep: Maintain a regular sleep routine, time to bed, and time to wake up each day.
- Spend some time outside. For example, take walk outside, maintain social distancing and wear a mask.
- Reduce your screen time and manage time spent looking at media.
- Focus on self-care. Doing things you enjoy can be helpful.
- Stay connected with your support system such as friends and family, virtually or over the phone. Keeping regular phone calls can be very helpful.
- If you have been prescribed medication, continue to take it as prescribed by your physician.
Q: I am worrying a lot about things and I am anxious, who can I talk to?
- Postpartum Support International
- Other local options with support groups:
- Contact El Camino Health Mental Health Services for a free mental health assessment specifically for moms at 866-789-6089.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)