With the current coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, you’re likely experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety and fear than usual. Particularly when it comes to your upcoming due date. This is completely understandable. The coronavirus pandemic has proven to be one of the most challenging times in America, and has left many questions unanswered. Much is still unknown about the virus and the potential impact it has.
But Adoption Choices of Oklahoma promises to provide you with the most up-to-date information as often as we can. Your health and safety are our top priority, and we want to ensure that you are equipped with accurate details regarding birth mothers and hospitals during the coronavirus. To help out, our own Natalie Turner, Executive Director of Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, has shed some light on the current state of affairs in hospitals regarding birth mothers during this trying time.
JM: How can birth mothers prepare for giving birth in the hospital during the coronavirus pandemic?
NT: Caseworkers work closely with each birth parent throughout their pregnancy to discuss their desired hospital plans. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that there are some changes to a birth parent’s hospital plan that hospital staff may have to adjust for the safety and well-being of everyone.
JM: What if a birth mother tests positive for COVID-19? Is her baby at risk? Is she still able to give birth at the hospital?
NT: During admittance and throughout their stay at the hospital, birth mothers can expect their temperature to be checked multiple times by hospital staff. Birth mothers demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms will still be admitted to the hospital for delivery; yet, for the safety of all patients, they will be moved to a separate part of the maternity ward. This lowers the risk of additional infection spreading.
Many hospitals have reported that the virus does not appear to transmit during childbirth if safety precautions are taken. So, the risk of the baby being exposed or becoming sick with the coronavirus is very low. After delivery, any birth mothers who test positive for COVID-19 may be asked to separate from their newborns as an additional measure of protection for their babies.
JM: What restrictions have hospitals put in place to help during the coronavirus pandemic?
NT: Some restrictions that many Oklahoma hospitals have put into place for maternity wards to help during COVID-19 pandemic include:
- Restricting/limiting the number of people allowed in the room with the birth mother during labor and delivery
- Reducing/limiting visitors at the hospital during the recovery time at the hospital
- Ensuring a consistent monitoring of temperatures of the birth mother and baby during their time at the hospital
JM: Will a birth mother be able to have her birthing partner with her? What about visitors after the birth?
NT: Each hospital has its own policies and procedures regarding visitors during the coronavirus pandemic. While some will allow one person of the birth mother’s choice to be in the room for labor and delivery, others will not. This includes her birthing partner. So, it’s important for a birth mother to call ahead and speak with the hospital staff at the specific hospital she will be giving birth at to learn the most accurate information.
Birth mothers can also always speak to their caseworkers through telecommunication such as: ZOOM, FaceTime or Skype. Our caseworkers will do their best to have those individuals our birth mothers desire present during and after birth. But, as of right now, hospitals are being restrictive with visitors to reduce the spread of the virus.
JM: How will the baby be delivered safely to the adoptive parents after birth?
NT: This, again, varies from hospital to hospital. Many hospitals will work with the adoptive parents as much as possible. Staff members will do their best to provide the adoptive parents time with the baby after delivery if that is part of the birth mother’s hospital plan. Because the hospital’s top priority is everyone’s health and safety during this time, the adoptive parents’ temperature will be checked, and they will be monitored for symptoms of COVID-19. It is important for birth mothers and adoptive parents alike to know that, due to unforeseen circumstances, there may be times the hospital simply does not have extra rooms available for postpartum visits.
For the hospitals who do not allow adoptive parents into the hospital at all, the baby will be safely delivered to them once he or she is discharged. This will be coordinated between the hospital staff and adoption caseworker.
JM: What extra precautions should a birth mother take during this trying time?
NT: Per the current CDC guidelines, here are five best practices for birth mothers – and everyone else – to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:
- Hands: Wash them often
- Elbows: Cough into them
- Face: Don’t touch it
- Feet: Put 6 feet between you and others
- Feeling sick? Stay home
Birth mothers can also check with their prenatal doctors, as they are often able to conduct prenatal appointments over the phone or with other telecommunications.
JM: Should the birth mother have a contingency plan for delivery?
NT: Birth mothers should consider a contingency plan for delivery as circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic may change. They may be asked by hospital staff to make adjustments to their existing hospital plan for safety and health reasons. The birth mother’s caseworker can help her create an alternate hospital plan.
JM: What else should a birth mother know to help her prepare her hospital plan during the coronavirus pandemic?
NT: Birth mothers should know that our agency caseworkers are there for them throughout this process. We are available to answer any questions along the way and help communicate with hospital staff regarding a birth mother’s hospital plan for labor and delivery.
Birth Mothers and Hospitals during the Coronavirus
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma understands that the coronavirus has caused a lot of challenges and complications for birth mothers and hospitals. We want to encourage you to take precautions regarding your health and safety. Though this is a trying time, we will get through it together.
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is a private adoption agency, licensed by the state of Oklahoma and leader in the adoption community. We have been assisting birth parents, children, and adoptive families in Oklahoma for over 19 years. Our staff members are committed to providing an ethical, empowering, and personalized adoption experience to all involved in the adoption process. If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Jadzia Miller is currently in the final stretches of pursuing an English degree at Colorado Christian University. She has lived in the beautiful state of Colorado for the 22 years she has been on this earth, and loves exploring the beauty that is constantly surrounding her.
She aspires to pursue a career in publishing or library science; either way, Jadzia wants to be encompassed by books and stories. Living near Denver, she is surrounded by artistic pursuits and wants to continue exploring these as often as possible. Jadzia has a passion for encouraging people to read and finding joy in reading books.