Frisco resident and expectant mother Ashley Miller said she has seen firsthand how fast hospital rules change during weekly visits to her doctor located in Texas Health Presbyterian in Plano.
Three weeks ago, Miller said her husband came with her to a doctor’s appointment. Two weeks ago, coronavirus restrictions would not allow for anyone to join her, she said. For her last ultrasound a week later, Miller said her husband was allowed to come, but their 2-year-old daughter could not.
“Unfortunately that’s the situation we were put in,” she said. “We had to bring in outside help to watch our daughter, which is putting everyone at risk, including the babysitter.”
Safety measures such as guest restrictions can vary between hospital systems, said Heather Bartos, an OB-GYN at Texas Health Frisco.
At Texas Health Frisco, as long as mothers do not have any symptoms of illness, they can have both their spouse and a birth partner such as a doula or midwife present, Bartos said.
Other general safety measures include requiring all healthcare workers to wear a mask and screening every patient who enters the facility, she said.
While there is not a lot of information on COVID-19 since it is a novel coronavirus, Bartos said the risk to pregnant women does not appear to be as significant as swine flu, SARS or MERS.
“Pregnant women don’t seem to be at any higher risk of infection like the general population,” she said. “And we also have not seen any fetus transmission through the womb.”
However, Bartos said pregnant women generally have suppressed immune systems. She urges extra caution along with following all of the general guidelines. She said parents should not let anyone outside the family visit newborns until at least the next month.
“You don’t know who’s carrying something and can come into your house and give it to your baby,” Bartos said.
Miller scheduled her induction on April 10 at Texas Health Presbyterian to secure a space for when her son arrives, she said.
“We’ve had [induction] dates scheduled from April 3rd, and thus far it’s been pushed to the 10th,” Miller said. “That just goes to show how full these labor and delivery rooms are. I think it’s women wanting to deliver as safely and as quickly as possible before hospitals reach their limit.”
As of this week, Bartos said there is “more than enough” room for expectant mothers at Texas Health Frisco. The hospital along Dallas Parkway has 12 labor-and-delivery rooms and an entire postpartum floor for overflow, she said.
“They’re not on the same floor as other patients,” Bartos said. “There’s a dedicated floor.”
Pregnant women nearing their due date should check with their OB-GYN and hospital as new rules constantly come in from state and federal governments, Bartos said. Some area hospitals are not offering circumcisions as that hospital may consider the procedure elective, she said.
Bartos said Texas Health Frisco is still allowing circumcisions.
While Miller said she feels anxious with her induction date nearing, she said her doctors have been a source of reassurance and empathy.
“I get a sense from the hospital nurses, especially my doctor, [that] they mourn with me because it’s supposed to be such an exciting time in your life,” Miller said.
With much up in the air regarding coronavirus, Bartos said she is trying to keep her patients as informed as possible.
“We’re very protective of our pregnant patients because these moms have entrusted their lives with us,” Bartos said. “The truth is, I just don’t know what’s happening every day. There’s not a lot of guidance out there.”