OhioHealth announces changes to labor and delivery amid coronavirus precautions

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Having a baby changes things — especially in a global pandemic.

COVID-19 is creating concern, fear and difficulty for many expectant moms and forcing hospital systems to change standard operating procedures.

Dr. Stuart Jones, who is Chair of the OhioHealth Women and Infant Guidance Council, said they are working to keep everyone involved safe and changing some rules.

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While hospitals in many communities nationwide are prohibiting anyone in the delivery room with mom and medical staff, OhioHealth will allow one support in with the laboring mother.

Dr. Jones said the support person must remain at the facility.

“They are there from the time she delivers to the time we leave the hospital with the baby," he said.

Expectant parents should now be sure to bring the baby's car seat with them upon arrival at the hospital.

Additionally, mom and her support person will be evaluated for any concern about coronavirus symptoms.

There will be one nurse assigned to each laboring patient if the laboring patient is COVID-19 positive.

In keeping with universal precautions to avoid respiratory droplets or aerosol, everyone in the delivery room will have to wear a mask.

"I know it's a terrible thing because it's hard. Pushing a baby out is hard enough,” Dr. Jones said, “You put a mask on and try to breathe with a mask on, it's even harder, but we're going to ask her to try to do that for us.”

Babies will stay in the room with mothers instead of being in the nursery.

“This is a difficult time and we are working to do what is best for the patients and staff members. Each mother and infant is evaluated individually and decisions about newborn exam, and decisions about newborn exams, circumcisions and timing of safe discharge are made on a case-by-case basis. Circumcisions, if done on a healthy infant without exposure or concerns for COVID19, will not be taking place in the patient room," Dr. Allison Vasileff, Neonatologist and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, said.

The length of time in the hospital will also be shorter, if mother and baby are healthy, the stay is 24 hours. In cases where a Cesarean section (c-section) is necessary, patient and baby remain for 48 hours.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

There are now 31,625 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio; 1,888 people have died from the virus and 5,773 were hospitalized, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Breakdown of Ohio cases by county >>

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

10TV is committed to bringing you a FACTS NOT FEAR approach to our coronavirus reporting. You can count on 10TV to give you the latest developments and the impacts on you and your family. For complete coverage, visit: 10TV.com/coronavirus.

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