Hospital is safest place to give birth amid COVID-19 fears, doctors say

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- If you're worried about going to the hospital to deliver during a pandemic, don't be. Doctors at Duke University Hospital said it's still the safest place to have your child.
"It has created a lot of anxiety," said Dr. Elizabeth Livingston, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine.

"I got a lot of patients asking questions in the clinic - having a baby is a very stressful time to start with and I hate hearing women are having more anxiety with what the COVID has brought to this process."

FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Labor and Delivery has put in new practices and procedures to keep moms safe given the pandemic to try and keep the experience of having a child as special as possible.

They've not let patients leave their rooms and walk into hallways. They've also reduced the number of people who need to be in the hospital and ensured everyone is wearing a mask at all times.

COVID-19 making you anxious? Here are some tips that may help

"I just feel so happy that she's here," said Olivia Bellido, who just delivered her daughter Hadley two weeks ago with Dr. Livingston's care. "I don't care if I leave my house. I feel so happy to be a mom and have her in this world. I'm perfectly content being here until this goes away."

Bellido is in remission from multiple sclerosis and went through three years of fertility up until now.

She said the hardest thing right now is not letting her parents interact with her daughter.
The Jordan High School drama teacher said they come in front of her Durham home with lawn chairs and see them for the time being.

Have a question about coronavirus? Send it to us here.

She's urging other moms to go to the hospital during this time and maintain social distancing as much as possible.

"Ask questions," she said. "As a patient, I've learned the more questions I ask, the better I feel so I'm probably that really annoying patient who spends way too much time with the doctor in the room."

Dr. Livingston said their unit has seen a handful of COVID-19 positive patients during this time but they're set up in a different area. She said the patients they've treated have only been mildly ill or even asymptomatic.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said not having your child in the hospital means a more than "twofold increased risk of perinatal death and a threefold increased risk of neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction."

"Unplanned home birth is especially unsafe and patients in need of critical support following a home birth may require emergency transfer, which does not benefit from the ongoing care afforded the labor and delivery unit," according to the ACOG.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.