UVM Medical Center pandemic protocols change for expecting families

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:45 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 7:00 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Babies are still being born in Vermont during the pandemic, but protocols at the University of Vermont Medical Center have changed a bit since 2020. Other protocols remain the same so far in 2021.

All pregnant mothers and their support person will be screened for symptoms and tested for COVID-19 sometime during check-in at the hospital.

A negative test is required to enter the NICU, which is one large room for sick or premature babies.

Masks are required while getting to the labor room, at which time the support person is asked to keep on their mask. The pregnant person is encouraged to wear one as long as they’re comfortable.

Doulas are allowed in for births, unlike this time last year, but everyone still has to stay in their room.

The support person is encouraged to stay at the hospital, but they are allowed to run home for something essential.

“I think the few things that are different is that you don’t have as many family members or support people present and some need to be there virtually over Facetime or laptop and that’s really sad for a lot of families,” said Marti Churchill, lead certified nurse-midwife. “Certainly siblings can’t come in and see their new babies in the hospital setting and there’s a little bit of a sadness for a lot of people. But the process of catching babies hasn’t changed a dramatic amount.”

Churchill says while they’ve had patients get COVID-19 while pregnant, none have been positive during labor and delivery at the medical center.

But it’s no longer recommended policy to separate positive mothers from their newborn babies.

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