COVID-19 and Pregnancy

Last Updated: 2020-07-13

Below you will find information about COVID-19 that is specific to those visiting for prenatal appointments, expectant mothers scheduled to give birth at Mount Sinai, postpartum patients or those who have an infant in the NICU.

General Information

What should I do if I think I may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus?

  • Visit the Ontario Ministry of Health website and complete the self-assessment tool prior to calling Telehealth Ontario or visiting your Local COVID-19 Assessment Centre.
  • Local COVID-19 Assessment Centres are intended to educate & provide medical guidance. Find more information about these centres here.
  • Toronto Public Health Hotline should be contacted for questions about COVID-19
    Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    Telephone: 416-338-7600
    TTY: 416-392-0658
    Email: [email protected]
  • Telehealth Ontario should be contacted if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms
    Telephone: 1-866-797-0000
    TTY: 1-866-797-0007

How will I be tested?

A COVID-19 test will be done and if you are positive, you will receive further direction from your local public health unit.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

Contact your physician or midwife so they are aware of your diagnosis.

What effect does COVID-19 have on pregnant women?

Based on the information we know to date:

  • Pregnant women are NOT more likely than the general population to get COVID-19.
  • Pregnant women are NOT more likely to get severely sick if they get COVID-19.
  • It is expected most pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu-like symptoms.

How can I reduce my risk of getting COVID-19?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry with a paper towel or reusable dry and clean towel.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as an alternative.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands.
  • Maintain physical distancing and wear a mask when in public spaces, especially if you are unable to maintain a two-metre distance from others

Hospital Visitor Restrictions

What are the visiting restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Please note that our visiting policies are subject to change at any time. We will endeavour to keep you informed and rest assured your health care team will take good care of you and your baby.

  • All patients/visitors are to wear a mask when in the hospital.
  • NO children under 16 years of age will be permitted unless they are the patient.
  • Antenatal patients are permitted  two scheduled visits per week for a 3 hour duration.
  • Hospitality patients are permitted two scheduled visits per week for a 3 hour duration.
  • NICU patients are permitted two parents or one parent and one alternate caregiver each day with NO in-and-out privileges.
  • Patients experiencing the loss of a fetus will be supported with a visitor.
  • NO partner/visitors to the ambulatory clinics (some exceptions apply).
  • If you are returning for a PNAC appointment with baby, please arrive with baby in a stroller as a partner/visitor will not be permitted.

If I am COVID-19 positive or have symptoms, can I have a support person/partner during labour?

If you are COVID-19 positive, or have symptoms, a support person/partner will not be permitted to enter the hospital. We will ensure you receive exceptional support and care during your stay with us and will provide further details on admission.

Please be honest with us about your COVID-19 status so that we can safely prepare for the birth of your baby.

If I am scheduled to give birth at Mount Sinai and do not have COVID-19 or symptoms, can I have a support person/partner during labour?

Women’s and Infants’ does view birth as a major life event and at this time we are allowing the following exceptions:

  • ONE support person is permitted during your stay, who is NOT symptomatic and NOT COVID-19 positive. This also means the partner/support person must not have been in isolation with a COVID-19 person, or have any symptoms (a fever and/or cough, runny nose, sore throat, or any other COVID-19 symptoms).
    • The ONE support person must remain in the patient’s room and maintain physical distancing, for the entire duration.
    • The ONE support person must wear a mask at all times when in the hospital.
    • In-andout privileges are limited at this time, please ask your nurse for direction and bring anything you may need during your stay which includes food, reading materials, additional clothes, phone charger, etc.

What is the visiting policy in the NICU?

For those visiting their infant in the NICU, we can permit TWO parents or ONE parent and ONE alternate caregiver into the NICU every 24 hours. No in-and-out privileges.

  • The parents/alternate caregiver MUST NOT be COVID-19 positive or have any symptoms (a fever and/or cough, runny nose, sore throat, or any other COVID-19 symptoms).

We recognize how stressful this can be for new parents, and we will maintain frequent communication with you if you are not permitted to visit.

Prenatal Information, Classes and Webinars

Can I still attend prenatal education classes?

  • All our classes are now available as real-time, online sessions and you can register here.
  • For those who are patients at / scheduled to deliver at Mount Sinai Hospital, a weekly virtual update with a perinatal psychiatrist and obstetrician is available. Registration details can be found here.

Can I still attend my antenatal (prenatal) appointments?

  • You will be contacted the day before your appointment, screened over the phone, and given direction at that time.
  • Regardless of whether you have symptoms, it is possible you will have fewer appointments, and that you may have a remote appointment scheduled via teleconferencing.
  • You will also be screened at the entrance to the outpatient clinic offices at 700 University Ave.
  • You can be assured that each pregnancy will be reviewed individually and that the safety of all of our patients is our priority.
  • At this time, no one can accompany you during your appointment visit. The size of our waiting areas make social distancing challenging.
  • If you require a support person, they will be asked to wait in their car or go home and come back. They will be contacted by cell phone during your appointment if needed.
  • If you need your support person to help with accessibility, it MUST be approved by your doctor in advance.
  • NO children under 16 years of age will be permitted unless they are the patient.
  • If you are having a fetal procedure, please discuss support person/partner access with your physician.
  • Staff will speak to your doctor for extenuating circumstances related to your reason for visiting.

What effect will COVID-19 have on my baby if I am diagnosed?

Based on the information we know to date:

  • Based on information we have from other respiratory viral infections (influenza, SARS, MERS), there may be an association with low-birth weight babies & preterm birth, which may be due to severe maternal illness.
  • As a precaution, patients who have been diagnosed and have safely recovered from COVID-19 will have an ultrasound to assess fetal growth and wellbeing.

Birthing and Postpartum Information

What happens when I come into the hospital for any obstetrical care?

  • Please bring a mask with you. You and your approved visitor will be required to wear it at all times while in common spaces of the hospital (e.g. lobby, hallways, elevators, etc.) Your partner will also have to keep the mask on while in your room. 
  • When entering the main hospital at 600 University Avenue, and then again when you arrive on the 15th floor, you will be screened for symptoms.
    • If you are coming for a booked procedure, such as a Cesarean Section, you will receive a prescreening phone call and further directions.
    • If you are arriving in labour, or have concerns such as bleeding or reduced fetal movement, you will also be screened at the hospital entrance and then proceed directly to triage on the 15th floor.
  • If you have symptoms of, or are confirmed for COVID-19:
    • You will be asked to wash your hands and put on a hospital provided mask. Your partner will not be permitted into the hospital, you will be directed to the appropriate location for further assessment.
    • You will need to have a COVID-19 test done.
      • Your booked procedure will NOT be cancelled but delayed until we have the test result so that we can care for you safely.
    • Your caregiving team will wear gloves, gowns and face masks while providing your care.

How will my baby be cared for in the hospital if I have suspected or confirmed COVID-19?

  • Your baby will be tested during your stay using a nasal swab, umbilical cord blood and placental swab.
  • If you are well, your baby will stay in the room in with you.
  • Ensure you wash your hands frequently, but also before and after touching your baby.
  • You will also be asked to wear a mask for all infant contact.
  • If you are unwell, and unable to care for your baby, your baby will be cared for by our excellent team of health care providers.
  • If your baby is admitted to the NICU and you are COVID-19 positive, you and your partner will not be allowed to enter the NICU, in an effort to protect your baby as well as the other infants there.

Can I breastfeed and do “skin to skin” with my baby if I am COVID-19 positive?

  • Keeping your baby “skin to skin” and breastfeeding is encouraged, but you will be asked to wear a mask at these times and during any infant care activities.
  • If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, you should wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use.
    • If possible, consider having someone who is well, care for and feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

Going Home with your Baby

Ensure you have arranged a doctor’s appointment close to home for your baby after discharge. All newborns must be seen within 1-3 days after discharge. 

  • You will be provided with a list of community and online resources upon discharge (this includes information on breastfeeding).
  • Our Postnatal Ambulatory Clinic (PNAC) is located on the 17th floor at Mount Sinai Hospital and is for essential pre-booked visits only. Please be advised there are no partners/visitors permitted at this time. Your health care provider will explain the process for booking a visit and for passing our hospital entrance screening should you have an essential visit booked, have symptoms, or are COVID-19 positive. Please ensure you are wearing a mask if you return to the hospital for a follow-up appointment.
  • Family members or friends with any COVID-19 symptoms should NOT visit at your home.
  • If there are children at home, instruct them about good hand hygiene and keep sick children away from the baby.
  • If your baby becomes sick do NOT bring them back to Mount Sinai Hospital, go to your closest hospital that has paediatric services.
  • Recommendations for the well-baby:
    • Rooming-in, “skin to skin” contact and breastfeeding as above
    • Hand washing and good hygiene is always recommended for any baby contact
    • A parent who is COVID-19 positive or under investigation should:
      • Put on a clean mask and wash their hands thoroughly before each contact with baby.
      • Keep the bassinette more than 6 feet from mom at other times.

Limited Mount Sinai Hospital Services

  • The food court and Second Cup are open but there are limited hours and seating.
  • All in-patient breastfeeding classes have been replaced with individualized breastfeeding support supplemented by videos and written materials.  
  • Our Baby Shop is open, but has restricted hours, you can also shop online at sinaishop.ca/collections/baby-and-maternity and have items delivered to your hospital room.
  • All in-person ambulatory services, including our Post Natal Ambulatory Clinic and breastfeeding services, have been REDUCED to prioritize essential services. Virtual breastfeeding appointments are available at this time.

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