Doctors Talk About the New Protocols of Birthing

Photo provided by USC Verdugo Hills Hospital
Staff members at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital are working hard to make their patients feel comfortable and safe while at their facility.


Having a baby has always been a time when reality hits full force. It can be a time of great joy mixed with concern and worry never felt before. In this pandemic world reality has added a whole new level of “what ifs” that expectant moms and their birth partners have to prepare for.
“Every day is changing the status of [labor/delivery],” said Dr. Evelyn Nicole Mitchell, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital obstetrics and gynecology.
Glendale Adventist, Dignity Health-Glendale Memorial, Huntington Memorial Hospital and USC-VHH have all adjusted their labor delivery experience to make certain that moms-to-be feel comfortable with coming to the hospital while offering a variety of support.
Part of the new world of impending parenthood includes making preparations prior to coming to the hospital.
“We strongly advise expectant parents to take part in social distancing and self-isolation measures,” said Dorey Huston, spokeswoman for Huntington.
As of April 29, one visitor, or birth partner, will be allowed at the hospital with the mom-to-be. Both mom and partner will be asked a series of questions and have their temperatures taken before entering the hospital.
“If the designated visitor has any of the following they will not be allowed to stay: fever of 100 Fahrenheit or higher, coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, sore throat, body aches/soreness in the muscles of the body and other flu-like symptoms,” stated Grace H. Kwasman, MBA-HCA, BSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM at Adventist.
“We have also temporarily restricted visitors to our campus, including any person who has tested positive or who is in the process of being tested for the [corona] virus,” added Huston.
This means no more than the one visitor or birth partner and mom-to-be will be allowed in the hospital.
“In addition, all patients and patient partners are [to] wear a regular type of mask [not necessarily N95] during the entire time they are in the hospital,” Mitchell said.
It is suggested for the birth mother and partner to visit their hospital’s website and speak to their OB/GYN to get the latest updates on protocols.
For those planning to go to Adventist, if the woman is less than 20 weeks into her pregnancy she and her birth partner will go through the emergency department. After 20 weeks, they can go to the labor department where they will check in with the security officer and be screened via phone prior to entering the unit.
For Huntington patients, if they arrive between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. they can self park or valet and enter through the main hospital entrance where someone in reception will direct them to labor and delivery. If they arrive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. they should call hospital security at (626) 397-5282 and let the officer know their estimated time of arrival. They can self park in the north parking lot. The main entrance is closed after 10 p.m.; therefore a security officer will meet them and unlock the door.
Hospitals are limiting the number of visitors to one to further reduce the spread of COVID-19. This means the same person who enters the hospital with the mom-to-be must remain with the patient throughout her stay in the hospital; s/he cannot leave and another person come in.
“There is always a risk of being an asymptomatic carrier,” Mitchell said.
Hospitals have plans for moms-to-be who test positive including putting her isolation without a partner. If the mom does not test positive for COVID 19 the baby can stay with her in her room.
The length of stay for moms after the birth of their child will still be medically determined but there is a preference toward getting patients out of the hospital and back home with their child as soon as possible.
“The recommendation is to shorten their stay after delivery; the less time they are in the hospital the better off they are,” said Kwasman. “For vaginal delivery, 24 hours if stable, C-section is 48 hours to 72 hours.”
Moms and their birth partners should reach out to their doctors and hospitals to follow any changes to the protocols. They may be seeing their doctor’s faces behind masks and may only have one visitor, but COVID-19 or not: the miracle of birth will still be a magical thing … and their baby will have one very interesting story to share when they get older about their birth.
Next week an expecting mom and a mom who recently gave birth will share their stories.