If you’re giving birth in a hospital, your partner or support person is allowed to be in the delivery room. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order March 28th stating that all people can have a support person with them in the labor and delivery room. This order responded to an earlier ban on support people by a handful of New York City hospitals.
However, the support person cannot have symptoms of COVID-19 and must not be suspected or recently confirmed to have the virus, according to the New York State Department of Health. If you’re a support person, expect to be screened by hospitals for symptoms as a precaution.
Authorities including the World Health Organization (WHO), agree that having support during labor and delivery is important to families and can improve the experience for those giving birth and their babies. Doctors have to balance these benefits against the risk that people are exposed to and contract COVID-19. Visitor policies in other states are being set on a hospital-by-hospital basis, with some limits on who can be present. University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, for example, will permit one birth partner (like a doula) and one support person, provided visitors do not have symptoms.
As your due date approaches, call your doctor to get up-to-date information on hospital policies.
Last Updated: March 31, 2020 at 9:51am ET
Science Reviewers: ERS, GSN