Yes, it is very safe to have your baby at MMMC now. Despite the pandemic, the hospital is safer than ever. There have been many protocols and processes put into place to protect moms and babies.
MMMC has a hospital-wide limited visitor policy that helps protect all staff and patients from any unnecessary traffic/visitors to the hospital. There are few exceptions, including expectant moms who may have one support person. MMMC also has screening at the entrance to hospital (business hours) or ED entrance (after hours), for all employees, physicians and patients, and this includes temperature checks for mom and support person and masking for all patients and their support person. Everyone who enters the hospital must wear a mask and masks are provided at screening stations to all patients and their support person. The hospital has also started universal COVID-19 testing for all inpatients, including laboring mothers.
Universal COVID testing is testing given to all patients admitted to MMMC. This includes those admitted through the ER, direct admissions, and laboring mothers. It’s a “catch-all” testing for all inpatients, regardless of symptoms. Universal testing helps to identify positive patients from the moment they enter our doors, even if they don’t have any symptoms, and allows us to isolate them and take other precautions to protect other patients, providers, and staff from possible exposure. If a laboring mother is suspected positive or positive for COVID-19, she will be taken to one of MMMC’s three special laboring suites for isolation from other mothers to receive specialized care for her delivery.
First, it’s important to remember that Labor and Delivery is in a separate unit that’s isolated from other parts of the hospital. OB staff rarely visit other floors unless necessary for OB patient care which reduces exposure risk. We also provide additional screening of patient and support person before they enter the OB unit, and they are both continually monitored for symptoms throughout their stay. We have limited our visitor policy and ask that only one support person be allowed to stay with the laboring mom and that support person is screened and provided a mask upon entry. Additionally, all OB patients are COVID-19 tested before they are admitted, all OB nurses wear appropriate PPE for safe delivery, babies stay in the room with moms and we work to quickly discharge OB patients, as appropriate – usually within 24 hours after vaginal birth and 48 hours after a C-section.
Yes, the support person is screened for symptoms and fevers each day and they are only allowed to stay with the mom and baby and not wander through the hospital. Additionally, we strongly encourage the support partner to stay at hospital for the duration of the patient’s stay. If they need to leave for any reason, they must be screened again at hospital entrance and at OB unit when they return. If they are found to have symptoms, they will not be allowed to re-enter hospital or unit.
The delivering of a baby is considered an aerosolizing procedure, meaning it is required for the nurses and other providers to wear N95 masks, eye protection and other appropriate PPE.
Once the OB patient arrives, they have a nasopharyngeal swab done by a nurse and that result is back usually within about three hours. If they have a scheduled c-section or induction, they’re tested through their physician’s office before being admitted.
MMMC has a special isolated OB rooms for our OB patients who are suspected of being exposed to COVID-19. These rooms keep both mother and baby safe and are also separate from L&D rooms for non-COVID patients. If a support person is a PUI, they will not be allowed to access the hospital.
MMMC is prepared to help any laboring mother who happens to be COVID-positive with specialized isolation delivery and postpartum rooms. We have converted three of our postpartum rooms into COVID-safe rooms, separated from the rest of the floor, and equipped with HEPA air filters. These rooms are available for our suspected positive and positive COVID OB patients and are separate from our other non-COVID patient rooms. Full PPE would be used at all times, and not just during delivery. And only one nurse would be assigned to the room for their entire shift. We would not rotate nurses or staff into the room. If a C-section is warranted, patients will be taken to the operating room where the team is highly prepared to care for COVID patients.
The newborns are rooming in with the moms as much as possible. All of the procedures–whether it’s medication administration or baths - are done at the bedside with the mom in the room. The babies do need a hearing test before they leave the hospital and that is done in the nursery, which is only accessible by doctors and nurses to further protect any newborns in the nursery. In addition, all caregivers are always masked and wear appropriate PPE. We also do our best to discharge mom and baby home as soon as possible.
Because of our limited visitor policy, we have fewer family and friends able to visit mom and new baby. In lieu of an in-person visit, we encourage all families and friends to engage in virtual visits. If a patient does not have a phone or device, we have a tablet device that we can provide for virtual visits. Also, it’s a good idea to keep the virtual visits going even once you get home. Limiting home visitors is a good plan to protect mom, new baby and the rest of the family from unnecessary exposure. If you do have visitors, encourage masking, hand hygiene and limit their visiting time.
Unfortunately, the in-person virtual tours have been suspended for the health and safety of our patients and employees, but we are excited to provide a new, virtual tour! In addition, all childbirth classes are moving to a virtual platform (coming soon!). For more information and to watch the virtual tour, please visit mauihealth.org/maternity.
Childbirth is a highly personal decision that must be made based on your situation and circumstances. The most important thing you can do is speak up and share your concerns with your doctor. Ask questions to get all the information you need and ensure the information is accurate before you make any decisions. Please know MMMC is safe, clean and prepared to take care of you and your baby. If you’re concerned, speak with your doctor, discuss your concerns, and come up with a birth plan that’s right for you and your baby.
If you have any further questions that you do not see in the FAQs, please submit them here.