MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Hospitals across the country have postponed non-emergency procedures in response to COVID-19. Even as the rest of the country starts shutting down to respond to surges of COVID-19 cases, that doesn’t stop babies from arriving.
The United Nations estimates that about 116 million babies will be born worldwide before the pandemic ends. Hospitals like Ruby Memorial in Morgantown are trying to find a balance between protecting staff from potential infection, and providing the best care possible for expecting parents and newborns.
“As a wife, and mother, and high risk pregnancy specialist, even in these times, the safest place to have a baby in these times is in the hospital,” said Dr. Annelee Boyle, the Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Labor and Delivery Services at J.W Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Maternity wards across the country are putting safety measures in place such as limiting the amount of people present in the delivery room to prevent infection, which left some concerned about whether or not their partner would be able to attend the birth. Dr. Boyle said that Ruby Memorial Hospital will allow, and has always allowed, partners to be present at births during the pandemic.
There are also procedures that Ruby’s doctors are asking pregnant individuals to do to prevent contracting the virus.
“For women who are able to, we ask them to stay in their home from 37 weeks on, and take their temperature two times a day,” said Dr. Boyle. “We work with women from all walks of life and would also work with their employers to really try to advocate for our patients as much as possible.”