Pregnancy & Birth
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted our lives in many ways, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for safe, high-quality care for moms and babies. OSF HealthCare is committed to making new and expecting mothers and their babies feel safe and supported while in our care.
We recognize this is an emotional time and due to the uncertainty in our world because of the COVID-19 outbreak, this may not be the experience you had planned for.
We are here to help. If you have concerns or experience a high level of stress during this time, please talk to your provider to connect with available resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
We are providing answers to some frequently asked questions below. If you have additional questions, your provider will be best equipped to address your concerns and help you decide what is best for you and your family.
Do I still need to come in for my prenatal appointments?
Yes, our offices are open and our providers are ready to safely give you the care you need before and after delivering your baby.
Please be aware that all OSF facilities are still enforcing increased safety measures. Please plan to bring a personal mask or face covering with you to your appointment. Patients and visitors can expect to be screened for a fever and other symptoms.
We continue to limit visitors to our facilities under most circumstances. Check with your provider’s office before your appointment to ask what they recommend.
How should I protect myself while I’m pregnant?
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. The data suggests that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death.
Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19. Get the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Labor & Delivery
How will COVID-19 affect my delivery experience?
When you arrive at the hospital, you and your support person will be asked a few questions and have your temperature taken to screen for symptoms of COVID-19. You’ll notice staff, patients and visitors are wearing masks in the hospital for everyone’s protection.
Those taking care of you may also wear face shields, gowns and gloves. Plan to wear a mask at all times. You can bring a mask with you from home, or we can provide one for you. Having COVID-19 does not affect the mode of delivery (vaginal versus cesarean) or your choice of pain control.
What precautions are in place to keep me and my baby safe?
At OSF, safety is always our top priority. During the current pandemic, we have made many changes to our hospitals and medical offices to keep our patients, their families and Mission Partners as safe as possible.
Our increased safety precautions include:
- Arranging waiting rooms to allow for physical distancing
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting
- Screening all patients, visitors and Mission Partners, and separating those who may be contagious from others
Can I have visitors?
For everyone’s safety, visitors are limited during this time. You should plan to designate one support person to stay with you before, during and after delivery.
We recognize the important role your loved ones play during this important time in your life. While we may not be able to welcome all of your family and close friends in our facility, we want to help you feel as connected to them as possible.
There are several free communication tools and technologies available to you to help you use your personal device to connect with those you love. Talk with your care team to discuss options to stay connected with friends and family.
Will I be tested for COVID-19 before delivering my baby?
If you are scheduled for a C-section or induction, it is recommended you be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the scheduled day. This allows for results returned in most cases before the delivery of your baby.
If you have not been tested within the past 72 hours, a COVID-19 test may be ordered upon your arrival for admission.
Knowing whether or not you are COVID-19 positive will allow you and your caregivers to take extra safety precautions, reducing the likelihood of spreading the virus to your newborn and others and reducing the possibility of complications from the virus.
What happens if I don’t want to be tested for COVID-19?
You and your provider will discuss the risks and benefits of being tested and any concerns you may have. Our goal is to provide the safest care for you, your baby and our health care providers.
What if I have COVID-19?
If you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection, your care team will explain the most up-to-date recommendations from the CDC and how we will protect you and your baby.
Anyone with a suspected or confirmed infection will be kept in isolation, which means you might be in a different area of the hospital and kept separate from other patients.
Will my baby and I be separated if I test positive?
If you are diagnosed with or test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, your care team will discuss the risks and benefits of having your newborn stay in the same room with you, to help you make this decision.
Early research suggests COVID-19 doesn’t appear to pass from mother to fetus in the womb and that your newborn is at low risk for contracting the virus if you take recommended precautions.
If you choose to have your baby in your room, our care team will work with you to take measures that minimize the risk of transmitting the virus to your baby, such as wearing a mask and practicing hand hygiene.
Is it ok to breastfeed if I’m COVID positive?
Absolutely. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. Limited data suggests that it is not likely that the virus is transmitted through breastmilk.
If you’re sick and choose to direct breastfeed, you’ll need to:
- Wear a facemask and wash your hands before each feeding.
If you’re sick and choose to pump breast milk, you should:
- Express breast milk to establish and maintain milk supply.
- Use the dedicated breast pump provided.
- Wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk.
Will my newborn be tested for COVID-19?
Your provider will discuss with you whether your baby should be tested. Your provider might recommend testing your baby for COVID-19 if you have tested positive, or if your newborn baby shows concerning symptoms.