New York Hospitals Ban Birthing Partners from Delivery Rooms during Coronavirus: Here is a List of Hospitals

New York Hospitals Banning Birthing Partners COVID-19

Update: Cuomo Orders New York Hospitals to Allow Partners in the Delivery Room

New York Hospitals Ban Birthing Partners

New York hospitals ban birthing partners in the delivery room. Here is what we know: Two of New York’s top hospitals, New York Presbyterian and Mount Sinai, are denying spouses and partners access to the delivery rooms while women are giving birth. Checking into a hospital amidst the COVID-19 outbreak is already a scary and uncomfortable experience. Now, on top of that, women across the city are preparing to give birth without the emotional support of a single family member in the delivery room. 

New York Presbyterian, which includes 13 locations around New York City and Westchester, issued a statement saying: “No visitors including birthing partners and support persons are permitted for obstetric patients. We understand that this will be difficult for our patients and their loved ones, but we believe that this is a necessary step to promote the safety of our new mothers and children.

However, critics of the policy have been quick to point out that if a pregnant woman and her partner are already living together, then they’re likely to either both be infected or both not be infected; therefore excluding a spouse from the delivery room is relatively futile. Others have called for hospitals to do on-the-spot testing for husbands, so they can be clear to enter.

The new policy goes against the New York State Department of Health’s advice for managing pregnancy and COVID, which states, “For labor and delivery, the Department considers one support person essential to patient care throughout labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period.” The World Health Organization agrees that even in light of COVID-19, “A safe and positive childbirth experience includes having a companion of choice present during delivery.”

There are medical as well as emotional reasons for this. Samantha Huggins, Co-founder of Carriage House Birth and a full spectrum doula explains that there are “things that partners might notice that wouldn’t come up on a screen for an OB or a nurse.” Further, there are times when nurses and doctors aren’t necessarily in the room. In those cases, a partner can be helpful in noticing any complications.

However, it’s the emotional support that most new mothers will really be missing. Huggins explains, that having “someone you trust and you love and you feel loved by and that makes you feel safe — whether it’s your wife or your husband or your best friend or your boyfriend or your girlfriend or your mom or just your doula — that person is like your beacon, that thing that you can open your eyes and look to and everything is okay.” Now expectant mothers are losing that at a moment when the increased stresses of COVID-19 mean they need it more than ever.

One Twitter user wrote, “From a 2nd time mother about to deliver I can’t even begin to tell you the importance of having someone by your side not only emotionally but physically … This is horrendous and tremendously scary for the mothers.” Another said, “I am due to give birth in May and have extreme anxiety about the hospital’s decision … I beg you to reconsider.”

A chorus of voices has called for responses from Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. At the frontline of the fight is Jessica Pournaras, a local doula, who created a change.org petition aimed at protecting the rights of birthing mothers. She writes, “We know the hospital system is overwhelmed in this crisis. However, the burden will only be increased by banning support people from Labor & Delivery. We must ensure no one gives birth alone.” As of March 26th, 2020, the petition had over 500,000 signatures.

Petrified soon-to-be mothers have quickly started exploring other options. Many have considered leaving the state or even doing a home birth. Samantha Huggins explains why making a rash decision amidst the COVID-19 outbreak is not a good idea: “We’ve been sitting in this phase of anticipatory grief and really high adrenaline and that’s not conducive to good decision making.”

Further, she explains that if you haven’t been planning for a home birth, you shouldn’t suddenly decide to have one at the last minute. “It is such a deep commitment to choose to have a baby at home and it’s a very specific person … If they didn’t already think it was the safest choice for them, then it’s not.”

So what can you do if you’re preparing to give birth alone?

Invest in an online childbirth education class or hire a doula. Many organizations, including Carriage House Birth, will be flexible on price in light of COVID-19. Now is not the time to panic. Now is not the time to throw out the support systems you do have in place. Just because you won’t be able to have a doula in the delivery room with you, doesn’t mean they can’t be an invaluable piece of support. Some hospitals are even allowing patients to FaceTime their doulas during labor. 

It makes sense if spouses and partners feel out of control and unable to support the mothers. But Huggins explains that the best thing they can do right now is research. Pick up some of those childbirth books their partners have been reading. Remember that they are still a part of this.

Finally, Huggins recommends remembering that although “this is a tough time, there is still joy in this.” If you are about to give birth, “recognize and honor the grief and also make space for the celebration.”

Current New York Hospital Policies on Birthing Partners

New York Hospitals currently banning partners in the delivery room:

New York-Presbyterian:

“At this time, no visitors including birthing partners and support persons are permitted for obstetric patients.”

Mount Sinai:

“We are prohibiting all visitors in maternity and postpartum units across the system, including partners or guests of patients in labor and allowing mothers only in NICU units.”

New York Hospitals currently allowing one support person in the delivery room:

NYU Langone:

“Labor and delivery patients are permitted one visitor throughout the labor, delivery, and postpartum period, which can include a partner, family member, doula, or other support person. The visitor cannot be rotated.”

New York City Health and Hospitals: 

“All patient visitation is suspended except for a visitor of a woman in labor, an infant in the neonatal ICU….”

Lenox Hill Hospital:

“One designated support person can accompany patients admitted for labor and may remain with the patient in the postpartum unit. There will be no return visitation once leaving the building.”

 

Click here for more advice on navigating pregnancy during the Coronavirus outbreak.  

Relevant Directory Listings

See More

Westchester School for Special Children

<p><span style="color: #000000;"><span style="font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; background-color: #ffffff;">The </span><span style="font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; background-color: #ffffff;">Westchester School</span><span style="font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; background-color: #ffffff;"> is a New York State approved, non-public </span><span style="font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; background-color: #ffffff;">school</span><span style="font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; background-color: #ffffff;"> that provides educational and therapeutic services to students from New York City, </span><span style="font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; background-color: #ffffff;">Westchester</span><span style="font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; background-color: #ffffff;"> County, Long Island, and Connecticut.  </span><span style="font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="font-family: Lato, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">The school views all children, regardless of functioning level or handicapping condition, as children with potential for growth and development. Historically, educational programming, particularly for the severely handicapped was primarily concerned for easing the burden of those who cared for these children. Changes in legal standards and socio-philosophical perspectives made this an excessively limited and limiting approach. The rational for program and selection of educational objectives is based upon the developmental needs of the individual child.</span></span></span></p>

Camp Huntington

<p class="MsoNormal">A co-ed, residential program for children and young adults with special learning and developmental needs.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">  </span>Our summer camp and weekend camp programs are designed to maximize a child’s potential, locate and develop strengths and hidden abilities. Your child will enjoy the fun-filled days of summer camp while learning practical social and life skills. We offer a unique program approach of adaptive therapeutic recreation, which combines key elements that encourage progress: structured programming, nurturing care, a positive setting, and academic instruction to meet IEP goals. Our campus is located in the beautiful hamlet of High Falls, New York within the Catskill Mountain region.</p>

EBL Coaching

<div> <p>One-on-one HOME, CENTER, and ONLINE tutoring for grades preK-12 in reading, writing, math, study skills, executive functioning skills, and homework help. EBL offers specialized instruction for students with dyslexia, learning disabilities, and ADHD, including tutoring using the Orton Gillingham method and other research-based, multi-sensory techniques. Under the direction of their director, Dr. Emily Levy, each student is evaluated to determine his or her specific needs and is then matched with one of EBL's highly trained learning specialists.</p> <p><strong>Individualized Learning Plan</strong></p> <div> <div> <p>An individualized learning plan using research-based, multi-sensory techniques is created for each student. Sessions can be held either at EBL's learning center or at the child's home, or online.</p> </div> <p><strong>Students build skills in:</strong></p> </div> <div> <div> <p style="padding-left: 40px;">-Decoding & Spelling<br /><br />-Sentence, Paragraph, & Essay Writing<br /><br />-Multi-sensory Math<br /><br />-Reading Comprehension<br /><br />-Study & Executive Functioning Skills<br /><br />-Test preparation<br /><br />-Time Management & Organizational Skills<br /><br />-Early Childhood Learning Skills</p> </div> <p><strong>One-on-one instructional sessions</strong></p> </div> <div> <div> <p>Students receive one-on-one instructional sessions to teach them the fundamental skills that are essential for academic success. They are initially assessed to determine their strengths and weaknesses and academic levels, and are matched with one of EBL's highly trained learning specialists. Students develop core skills in reading, writing, reading comprehension, math, study skills, organization, test taking, note taking, and other executive functioning skills. As the academic demands of school rise, these skills become increasingly essential for academic success.</p> </div> </div> <div> <div> <h3>Dr. Emily Levy</h3> </div> </div> <p> </p> </div>