Policy Brief: How Georgia Hospitals are Serving Pregnant Patients During COVID-19
Author: HMHBGA Staff
In an effort to protect patients and slow the spread of the COVID-19, many hospitals across the country are limiting the number of support people birthing persons can have in the delivery room. In Georgia, hospital policies are being updated as the pandemic continues to unfold. Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia reached out to 76 Georgia hospitals (from 3/27/20 to 4/9/20) with labor & delivery units regarding their current delivery room visitor policy and prenatal education class offerings in response to COVID-19.
We were able to reach 73 hospitals willing to share their current policies. Overall, 90.4% (n= 66) of hospitals had a strict one visitor limit and 87.7% (n= 64) did not allow swapping of visitors. There were some exceptions for doulas and a few hospitals allowed two visitors (see details below). Only nine hospitals were offering online prenatal education in some format at the time of call. An additional eight were considering adding online prenatal education in the near future.
As a note, these policies may have changed since we contacted these labor & delivery hospitals. Data on prenatal education offerings were not available for all hospitals. We encourage expectant families to call their hospital or provider directly and ask about their current visitor or doula policies as well as prenatal education classes.
Below are the known policies of the 73 hospitals that provided data:
Delivery room visitor policy (N = 73)
- Sixty-six (90.4%) hospitals had a one visitor limit, and defined doulas as visitors
- Six hospitals had exceptions to the one visitor policy
- Two hospitals allowed 1 visitor plus a doula if they could provide proof of certification
- Two hospitals allowed 2 visitors throughout labor and delivery (doulas defined as visitors)
- Two hospitals allowed 2 visitors but 1 visitor must leave when the baby is born (doulas defined as visitors)
- One hospital only allowed a father/significant other in the delivery room, unless the birthing person is a minor, in which case a parent is allowed
- Sixty-four (87.7%) hospitals do not allow swapping of visitors. The visitor that arrives at the start of delivery is the only one that allowed in the room.
- Four hospitals allowed swapping of visitors
Prenatal Education Classes (N = 73)
- Seventeen hospitals (23.3%) hospitals currently provide or are planning to provide prenatal education courses online
- Twenty-seven (37%) hospitals stated that they do not have plans to offer prenatal education classes online
- Of the hospitals that stated they currently have online prenatal classes available, they can be accessed below. Please note that not all locations within the following hospital systems offer online courses. It may be helpful to check with your provider before registering.
- Emory Healthcare (includes all Emory locations)
- Northside Hospital System (includes all Northside locations)
- Piedmont Hospital System (includes all Piedmont locations)
- Well Star Health System (includes all Well Star locations)
- If your hospital offers online courses and you would like it listed here, please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
HMHBGA shared our online course offerings with labor & delivery hospitals across the State to ensure that families can access critical education and support during the shelter-in-place order.