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Your Maternity Care and COVID-19

Pregnancy and childbirth can be a time of great joy as well as apprehension, especially during this time of COVID-19. We want to assure you that we are taking every precaution to ensure your safety and well-being. We have implemented extra safeguards in our clinics and hospitals, including more frequent cleaning, entrance screenings and social distancing in our registration and waiting areas. The following steps are designed to keep you, your family and our providers healthy and safe.

  • Visitation may be restricted at clinic appointments and the hospital. See our updated visitor restrictions for the latest information.
  • To keep our patients and staff safe, everyone who enters the hospital or clinics has a health screening to make sure they do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. Those who have symptoms are not permitted to enter.
  • Everyone who enters the hospital or clinics is given a mask to wear. This mask is worn with every person-to-person interaction to ensure that even those who do not have symptoms will not spread the virus. Read our tips and FAQs on masks.
  • All pregnant women who are admitted to Labor & Delivery will undergo testing for COVID-19 to make sure they don't carry the virus and to prevent transmission to others.
  • If a hospital patient does have or is suspected to have the virus, we use rigorous protocols for infection control to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • All health care providers use appropriate protective equipment to keep everyone safe.

FAQs about Maternity Care and COVID-19

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What should I do if I have symptoms?

As a UC San Diego Health OB/GYN patient, if you think you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call our maternity COVID-19 team at 858-657-8222. Symptoms include fever, new cough, new shortness of breath or recent loss of taste or smell. For more information, read FAQs about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Will I be allowed to have a support person with me during my delivery?

Yes, you may have two visitors or support people during your hospital stay. 

Can I have a volunteer or a private doula?

Currently, UC San Diego Health is providing volunteer doulas. Volunteer doulas are considered staff and will not be counted as one of your visitors or support people. If you would like to bring a private doula, we recommend that you speak to your provider. For the safety of our patients and staff, private doulas may not be allowed.

Can my partner attend my ultrasound appointments?

Patients can now have 1 visitor or support person accompany them during appointments.

What should I do if I have tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms and think I am in labor?

  • If you are delivering at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, call 858-249-5900.
  • If you are delivering at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, call 619-543-6600.

Are you offering maternity tours or events?

We are suspending all in-person events until further notice. This includes:

  • Hospital tours
  • Meet the Maternity Team events
  • All in-person classes, including childbirth preparation, breastfeeding, newborn care, infant CPR and parenting classes

However, we are offering other resources. Visit us at health.ucsd.edu/childbirthclasses to learn more about our virtual options.

What are my options for childbirth classes?

UC San Diego Health has adapted its most popular classes to the virtual setting. Visit us at health.ucsd.edu/childbirthclasses to learn more about our class options and other resources.

Are you testing all pregnant patients for COVID-19?

We are testing all pregnant outpatients with COVID-19 symptoms as well as additional symptoms, including new fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, anosmia (loss of smell), ageuisa (loss of taste), sore throat, diarrhea, severe and unexplained fatigue or syncope (fainting). Scratchy throat or a runny nose may also be symptoms, but when they occur in isolation, they do not prompt testing. We are also testing all maternity patients who are admitted for delivery regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. Mothers scheduled for C-sections and inductions will be tested 48-72 hours before admission.

My COVID-19 test is positive — what should I do?

Our maternity COVID team will review directly with you information about self-isolation, next steps and when to come in for care. If you have more questions, call our team at 858-657-8222.

What are the risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy?

Fortunately, there aren't any reported cases of mothers transmitting the virus to the baby during birth. The virus has not been found in amniotic fluid or breast milk. The novel coronavirus spreads through coughing, sneezing and touching contaminated surfaces. Practice standard precautions to keep your risk as low as possible. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your maternity provider.

Can I continue to work as a health care provider if I am pregnant?

We recommend that pregnant health care providers limit, whenever possible, the direct care of patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. After 37 weeks of gestation, we recommend that pregnant providers avoid all in-person patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is it safe for me to have fewer prenatal visits?

Yes. Different care pathways are offered to patients based on the health and wellness of both mother and baby. These pathways are based on published guidelines and research. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your OB/GYN provider.

What should I do if a member of my household is exposed to COVID-19?

Sick family members should stay in different rooms from yourself and/or your baby. Avoid the sharing of items (cups, blankets, etc.) between sick and healthy family members. Practice good hand-washing techniques. Sick and recovering visitors need to wait to see the baby until they are cleared by their medical practitioner. For more information about precautions, see FAQs About COVID-19.

If I have (or am suspected to have) COVID-19, how will this affect my baby’s care?

We follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics to minimize the risk of viral transmission upon delivery. Your baby may initially be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for appropriate care. Our health care teams will work together to determine the safest plan for you and your family.

If I have (or am suspected to have) COVID-19, will I be able to breastfeed?

  • If you can manage your symptoms and feed your baby safely without sneezing or coughing: Continue feeding at the breast, with good hand-washing before touching your baby, and wear a mask during feeding.
  • If you cannot manage your symptoms: Pump breastmilk and have a healthy caretaker bottle-feed the milk to your baby. Make sure to wash your hands before touching the pump and to clean it well after use.

If my care provider is a midwife and I have (or am suspected to have) COVID-19, will they be caring for me during my hospitalization?

If you are a midwife patient who tests positive for COVID-19, your care will be transferred to our COVID-19 OB/GYN medical team to provide the best outcome possible.

Can I give birth in the Birth Center if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 during my pregnancy?

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough data yet to truly understand the effect the COVID-19 viral infection has on the pregnant person and their baby. There could be changes occurring to the placenta that could impact the baby during labor and delivery. Until there is more evidence, we recommend extra monitoring during the 3rd trimester. This may include labs, ultrasounds and/or antenatal testing as well as continuous monitoring of the fetus during labor. Because of this, a COVID-19 infection during pregnancy requires giving birth on our labor and delivery unit and not in the Birth Center.