Pregnancy always comes with its share of anxiety and fear, but the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer of concerns for expecting families.

If you will be delivering a baby during the pandemic, you likely have many questions about how delivery in the hospital may be different right now and how you can keep yourself and your baby healthy.

Starr Regional Medical Center has always taken great pride in caring for expecting mothers and their babies and making sure that our community has access to great OB care. This dedication to our region’s growing families has continued throughout the pandemic and will go on long after this health crisis has passed.

We are committed to making sure that all moms and babies have the safest birthing experience possible. We are taking every necessary precaution to protect our families in labor and delivery from exposure to COVID-19 and ensure the risk of infection for expecting mothers and new babies is extremely low.

Our extra precautions mean that some aspects of delivery will be as expected, but some may be a little different. The two main changes most families will experience are visitor restrictions and limited entry points to the hospital.

As part of our COVID-19 preparedness efforts, Starr Regional Medical Center has a limited visitation policy. However, laboring and postpartum mothers may have one healthy adult with them for their delivery and the duration of their hospital stay.

This means that every woman will be able to have a support person for as long as they are in the hospital, but visits with the new baby and siblings and other loved ones will have to wait until mom and baby leave the hospital.

Our COVID-19 preparedness efforts also have limited entry to the hospital, closing some of our typical entrances. This means that expecting mothers and their support person should plan to access the facility through the main entrance of the hospital or the emergency department if arriving to the hospital before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

Additional measures Starr Regional Medical Center is taking to support and ensure the safety of our expecting mothers and newborns include:

• Postponing Childbirth & Parenting Education Classes and Breastfeeding Classes.

• Screening all patients and visitors prior to entry into the hospital.

• Ordering COVID-19 testing for OB patients if appropriate.

• Treating patients who are under investigation for COVID-19 or are known to be COVID-19 positive in an isolated area with negative pressure, away from expecting mothers.

• Providing masks for laboring and postpartum mothers, as well as the mother’s support person.

• Limiting access to food services; patients are encouraged to bring their own food and snacks.

• Requiring all outside items for patients — including food, car seats or other items needed for the patient’s stay — to be dropped off at the main entrance in a bag, with the patient’s name on it, and left with the attendant at the front desk. Nursing staff will be notified to collect the items and take them to the patient.

• Allowing early discharges from the hospital, when possible, as long as mom and baby are doing well.

These measures have been implemented with great care and we will continue to update them with the health and safety of our expecting mothers and families in mind.

In a time of uncertainty, the one thing all of our expecting families can be sure of is that our experienced OB staff members stand ready to help you on your journey to bring new life into the world.

We are here to support you and keep you safe — today and every day the future holds.

You can find more information about COVID-19 and how Starr Regional Medical Center is responding at StarrRegional.com or by contacting your care provider.

Lisa Kinard, RN, is the director of Women’s Services at Starr Regional Medical Center

Lisa Kinard, RN, is the director of Women’s Services at Starr Regional Medical Center

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