When fears of hospitals running out of space and increased coronavirus infections were first expressed, mothers who were giving birth starting feeling the effect immediately.
Some hospitals (like the New York Presbyterian and Mount Sinai systems) actually banned mothers from having partners with them during the birthing process. Though Governor Cuomo did later sign an executive order that stated they would be allowed to have at least one partner or “support person” with them, mothers were still encountering support issues during the birthing experience.
A COVID-19 Maternity Task Force was launched around April 21, led by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, and yesterday they put out a report with additional recommendations. The Governor followed through with an executive order yesterday, April 29, agreeing to all them.
They include (as copied from the press release):
- Diversifying birthing site options and supporting patient choice
- Extending the period of time a healthy support person can accompany a mother post delivery
- Mandating testing of all pregnant New Yorkers
- Ensuring equity in birthing options
- Creating an educational campaign
- Reviewing the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and newborns with special emphasis on reducing racial disparities in maternal mortality.
You can read more details of what each recommendation entails here, but perhaps one of the most applicable takeaways is the extended period of time that a partner or “support person” can stay with the mother.
His initial executive order on the matter from March 30 stated “at least one support person [can] accompany a pregnant individual for the duration of their stay in any hospital, birthing facility or postpartum unit, as medically appropriate.” He has now updated it to read that the “duration of stay” includes “labor, delivery and the postpartum period, including recovery.” It will also now state that doulas are to be considered an “essential part of the support care team.”
“In the midst of this pandemic many women are struggling with additional stress and anxiety caused by the uncertainty of this virus and how it might affect their pregnancy or birthing plan,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m grateful to the task force for their quick work, and I am accepting all their recommendations which will help tackle the problems that so many women are facing and ensure safer, healthier pregnancies for all.”
featured image source: Photo by Luma Pimentel on Unsplash