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Hospitals taking extra precautions to protect pregnant women amid COVID-19 outbreak

A Charlotte doctor says expecting moms who tested positive for coronavirus have experienced severe symptoms. Their babies have mostly been unaffected by the virus.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As cases of COVID-19 coronavirus continue to rise across the United States, hospitals are taking extra steps to protect pregnant women and their babies against the virus­—before and after delivery. 

Dr. Lorene Temming with Atrium Health says expecting mothers who tested positive have experienced severe symptoms.

“There have been pregnant women who have experienced some more complications like pneumonia,” said Dr. Temming. “For the most part the babies are not affected by the virus in the utero.”

Still, hospitals are not taking any risks. In New York, two major hospitals have announced one of the most restrictive visitor policies, banning spouses and family members from the delivery room, leaving the mother to give birth alone.

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In Charlotte, hospitals like Atrium Health are not allowing more than two visitors in the delivery room at a time. As of last week, Atrium is now limiting the number of times pregnant women come into the office for an appointment.

“The plan right now is to do telephone calls, said Dr. Temming.” We are working on virtual visits. Depending where you are in your pregnancy, this may result in only coming in to see the doctor every 4 to 6 weeks, toward the end of the pregnancy we want to see you in the office more regularly.

Doulas are also having to make changes in the way they assist their clientele. While doulas are not medically trained to deliver babies, they do provide guidance to mothers during the birthing experience.

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“We’re doing a lot more virtual visits and we’re having to navigate and provide more emotional support during a time of uncertainty,” said Kira Kimble, a doula in Charlotte.

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic , Kimble has noticed more women are concerned about delivering in the hospital.

“They’re calling up and saying they’re wanting doula services and home births.