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While a lot about COVID-19 and its effects on pregnant women and newborn children are still unknown, Lafayette General Health has enacted new policies and restrictions in an effort to keep all of our patients and staff as safe as possible and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.

For new and expecting mothers, rest assured that staff are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of both you and your newborn child from possible infection at all times and, during this new concern, are working around the clock to keep you and your new little one as safe as possible. 

Who Can Visit Me? 

At this time, Lafayette General Health has enacted a Restricted Visitor policy in an effort to control access to our hospitals, their patients and our staff. Please visit our Restricted Visitor Policy page for the most up-to-date information. For all those allowed, including spouses, masks must be worn at all times.

In an effort to not compromise the immune systems of delivering mothers and newborn babies, during instances of a Restricted Visitor policy being in effect, new and expecting mothers are not able to have additional support staff (i.e., doulas and birth coaches) with them in the delivery room. Additionally, this policy extends to not allow services such as newborn photography and/or gift deliveries of any kind into the hospital at this time. All visitors who will be allowed to visit will be appropriately screened to minimize infection. 

Parents with Newborns in NICU

For parents with children who have been admitted into our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), 24/7 access will still be allowed for skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding and all other available services. In an effort to not further compromise the immune systems of newborns in our NICU, the visitor policy further restricts visitor access, and parents will still be subject to all screening protocol upon entry of the hospital.

Please also note that, during a Restricted Visitor policy being in effect, many of our entrances and exits are restricted both during regular business hours and after. All of our facilities have been equipped with signage directing visitors and patients to the appropriate entrances. 

Will Lafayette General Health Still Hold Any of Its Childbirth/Parenting Classes?

At this time, all classes for the remainder of March and through April have been cancelled in an effort to assist with social distancing and safe practices. 

Answers to Common Questions (via the Centers for Disease Control)

What is the risk to pregnant women of getting COVID-19? Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease? If they become infected, will they be more sick than other people?

We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?

Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:

  • Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique)
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Practice social distancing

You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 disease at CDC’s (Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus).

Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?

We do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.

During Pregnancy or Delivery

Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?

We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. 

Infants

If a pregnant woman has COVID-19 during pregnancy, will it hurt the baby?

We do not know at this time what if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19. There have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery (e.g. preterm birth) in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal infection.

Breastfeeding

Interim Guidance on Breastfeeding for a Mother Confirmed or Under Investigation For COVID-19

This interim guidance is intended for women who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are persons-under-investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 and are currently breastfeeding. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and the transmission of other viral respiratory infections. CDC will update this interim guidance as needed as additional information becomes available. For breastfeeding guidance in the immediate postpartum setting, refer to Interim Considerations for Infection Prevention and Control of 2019 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Inpatient Obstetric Healthcare Settings.

Transmission of COVID-19 through breast milk

Much is unknown about how COVID-19 is spread. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza (flu) and other respiratory pathogens spread. In limited studies on women with COVID-19 and another coronavirus infection, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus has not been detected in breast milk; however we do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk.

CDC breastfeeding guidance for other infectious illnesses

Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses. There are rare exceptions when breastfeeding or  feeding expressed breast milk is not recommended. CDC has no specific guidance for breastfeeding during infection with similar viruses like SARS-CoV or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

Outside of the immediate postpartum setting, CDC recommends that a mother with flu continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk to her infant while taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant.

Guidance on breastfeeding for mothers with confirmed COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. However, much is unknown about COVID-19. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers.  A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is a symptomatic PUI should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast.  If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

COVID-19 Resources for New and Expecting Mothers 

The Louisiana Department of Health

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

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