Pregnant Mothers with Possible or Known Coronavirus/COVID-19 Infection

The health and safety of our patients is important to us. This handout will tell you about changes we have made for pregnant patients who have or may have the coronavirus infection known as COVID-19 .

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus. Some people are infected and have no symptoms at all. Other people have symptoms including:

  • high fever
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • stomach problems

What are the risks of giving COVID-19 to my baby?

Before delivery the risk of giving your baby the virus is very low.

During and After Delivery there is a risk of giving your baby the virus, but it is low. Risk can be lowered by wearing a mask and frequent hand washing. The virus might be transmitted if your baby comes in contact with respiratory fluids that come out of your nose or mouth. .

Breastmilk: Testing so far has not shown that the virus can be given to your baby through breast milk.

What symptoms will my baby have if they get COVID-19?

Information about COVID-19 is changing every day and infection of newborns has been uncommon. Newborn babies with the virus may have breathing problems, fever, or other symptoms such as poor feeding, throwing up and diarrhea. Some of these symptoms may also occur in newborns who don’t have COVID-19.

What can I expect during labor?

For everyone’s health and safety, we have made some changes to how we help you through labor. If you may have COVID-19, we will:

  • Test you for COVID-19 using a nasal or oral swab, if you have not already been tested.
  • Place you in a special room.
  • Ask you and your labor support person to remain in your room.
  • Limit the number of times people go in and out of your room.
  • Talk to you and answer your questions by phone in some situations.
  • Wear protective gear like a gown, mask, gloves, and eye protection when caring for you.
  • Ask you and your labor support person to wear a mask.

What can I expect at the time of delivery?

We will support you through every step of your labor. Many different people may be coming in and out of your room to help care for you and your baby during labor. Our pediatric team will be ready to care for your baby once they are born.

Will you test my baby for COVID-19?

We will only test your baby if you are confirmed to have the COVID-19 virus. This test would take place when the baby is between 24 and 48 hours of age. If your test results are unknown at the time of birth, we will use special isolation precautions and watch your baby for symptoms of the virus.

Where will my baby go after birth?

If your baby is healthy and you test negative for COVID-19:

Your baby will stay with you in your maternity room.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or if your test results are still unknown:

Our goal is to keep your baby safe and healthy after birth. There are many advantages to mothers and babies being together in the days right after birth.If you are able to care for your baby after birth, then your baby will stay with you in your maternity room

Keeping Your Baby in Your Room

If your baby is in your room, we will do the following things to keep your baby safe:

  • Keep your baby in an incubator.
  • Place your baby 6 feet from your bed to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • Ask you and your labor support person to wear a mask.

Separate Room

If you are too sick to care for your baby, your baby may be placed in a separate room. If this happens a nurse will take care of your baby at all times. Your labor support person may go with your baby and stay with them, but that person cannot go back and forth between your room and the baby’s room. The nurse will teach your support person how to safely help care for the baby.

Can I breastfeed my baby?

If your baby is staying in your room, you may breastfeed. You will need to wash your hands and put on a mask before coming close to your baby. You will need to wear the mask the entire time your baby is close to you.

How do I safely breastfeed?

To breast feed your baby, you must:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a facemask that covers both the nose and the mouth for the whole feeding.

How will I feed my baby if we are apart?

If you are separated from your baby, you can remove your milk with clean hands or a breast pump, and have a caregiver give the milk to the baby.

We will teach you how to express your milk and will provide you with a pump to use in the hospital. Your nurse can help you learn this process. We can also provide donor breast milk or formula if your supply is low.

How do I safely pump or hand express my milk?

  • Wash your hands: Before hand expressing or pumping, mothers should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash your hands and pump parts: After each pumping session, mothers should wash their hands and all pump parts.
  • To create and keep a good milk supply you must pump or hand express at least 8 times in a 24-hour period.

What happens if my baby needs to go the NICU?

Your baby may need admission to the NICU for reasons other than COVID-19, such as:

  • Prematurity
  • Unexpected breathing problems
  • Infection
  • Other concerns

If Your Baby is Having Breathing Problems

Your baby will be placed in an incubator and brought to a NICU isolation room.

If Your Baby is Not Having Breathing Problems

Your baby may be placed in an incubator and brought to a semi-private room in the NICU. The curtains drawn around the incubator to protect the room next door.

For the health and safety of all the NICU patients, we are limiting visitors. Your labor support person will need to wait until you receive your COVID-19 results before knowing if they can visit the baby.

We will update you often about how your baby is doing. If you have questions, please feel free to call the NICU where your baby is staying:

  • NICU 270: (650) 497-8800
  • NICU 260: (650) 721-5151

The NICU is located on the 2nd floor of the West building.

As soon as possible after delivery, we will ask you to pump your milk as described above in “How do I safely pump my milk?” section. If you are still waiting for your COVID-19 test results, your nurse can take your milk to the NICU. If you do not have enough breastmilk, we can provide donor milk for your baby.

What if I have more questions?

The health and safety of you and your family is important to us. We realize the birth of your child is a special time and that your birth experience may not be what you expected. Thank you for partnering with us during this difficult time and following the guidelines above.

Our providers are always here for our patients. If you have questions please ask. As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, these guidelines might change. Thank you for understanding.