OB-GYN: Pregnant Women Should Still Visit Doctor, Hospital

Apr 30, 2020

An expert at Yale says pregnant women should still go to prenatal checkups — and even go to the hospital — during the pandemic.

Stay-at-home orders do not apply to pregnant women who need medical attention, says Joshua Copel, vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale Medicine. 

“It really scares us that some women are thinking they should deliver at home rather than a hospital because it might be safer.”

Copel says the risk of spreading COVID-19 to pregnant women and infants at the hospital is relatively low, compared to known risks of complications during home births. 

He says about 15% of planned home births result in the mother needing to go to the hospital. If that happens during the pandemic, it limits the time to get COVID-19 test results back for the mother. Copel says that delay could make it harder to take necessary precautions during delivery. 

Meanwhile, pregnant women in New York are now a priority for coronavirus testing under an executive order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The order included several recommendations from his COVID-19 Maternity Task Force and follows policies of many New York hospitals that were already screening pregnant women for COVID-19.

Pregnant women will also be allowed to bring in doulas and one healthy birthing partner for the duration of their hospital stay — from labor, to delivery and recovery.

Licensed community health centers will serve as birthing “surge sites.”

The state Department of Health will expedite licensing for midwife-led birthing centers, too. Midwives are specially trained registered nurses. 

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