Moms giving birth face tough restrictions to prevent spread of COVID-19

Posted at 6:18 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 18:18:43-04

COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — In metro Detroit we have seen several cases of babies getting sick with COVID-19, one of them diagnosed at just 14-days-old in Oakland County.

To protect babies and moms from the virus, hospitals around the country are imposing new restrictions on visitors. Some hospitals in New York City hit hardest by the virus have banned all visitors, even for moms delivering babies. That means even dad is not allowed in the room. We are not at that point yet in Michigan.

One major change that most hospitals in Southeastern Michigan have made for right now is a new mom is only allowed one person by her side for support. Some also allow a doula.

Depending on the hospital, If your support person is over sixty-years-old or at-risk of COVID-19, they might not be allowed in the hospital for their own safety.

“Some people are very stressed out because sometimes their support people are their parents who are over the age of sixty. Or their parents who are flying from out of town and now can’t travel or can’t violate the shelter in place,” said Dr. Yuliya Malayev of Metro Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Dr. Malayev says another tough change is even dads to be are being asked not to come to routine appointments before delivery, to limit exposure to people for staff and patients. She says obstetrics is one field where telemedicine is limiting, so doctors are telling expecting moms they still need to see them in the office, but are working on limiting wait times.

“It is still very important to dip their urine, to check their protein, check their blood pressure,” explained Dr. Malayev. “It is very hard to screen for preeclampsia without seeing them in person.”

Dr. Malayev spoke to us from her home, because she is right now on maternity leave. Her baby girl was born just before the new rules were put in place. She empathizes with families who can’t bring their children to meet new siblings at the hospital.

She also worries that new moms will feel more isolated when they get home with their baby. She has missed having her parents or in-laws around due to the virus, like she did with her first child.

“It has been a little bit more difficult because when we needed a reprieve we could just call and one of the moms would come over and help us so we could get sleep, but now we can’t do that,” said Dr. Malayev.

Dr. Malayev says she has taken part in a virtual breastfeeding support group to connect with other new moms right now. She recommends it, especially in this time of extreme social isolation.

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