Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s ExperienceYou have just found out that you are pregnant. A joyous moment to celebrate but with a COVID-19 pandemic going on, what were the thoughts that arose in your mind? Let me guess…

– How will I make it through this?

Questions – How do you manage Pregnancy and Childbirth among COVID-19 Lockdowns?

With the COVID-19 lockdowns in place, and people thinking twice to venture out, the idea of:

  • having to go for regular doctor check-ups
  • and the various tests
  • and then the thought of the final day of delivery approaching…
  • the visit to the hospital

How do you manage it all?

What Protocols do you Follow?

  • What adjustments would you have to make in your lifestyle to get through this?
  • How do you change your expectations or standards during a pandemic, of what an ideal birth scenario would be?
  • You might be pausing at every step wondering…

– What would be the right thing to do in these circumstances?

Childbirth in Non – COVID-19 Time

Having supported women during their labor and births at the hospitals, I wondered what new protocols were now put in place for the procedures.

My mind went restlessly on the images of women:

  • entering through the doors of the hospital, checking in
  • and then proceeding to their assigned rooms where they would soon deliver their baby

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

As the labor progresses you would see them:

  • walking through the corridors
  • leaning sometimes on the husband or a partner
  • leaning on a rail
  • sitting on a birthing ball
  • rocking back and forth or side to side
  • having a massage
  • they may be moaning in pain
  • they may be fully focused
  • trying out breathing exercises
  • and coping techniques they have learned in prenatal classes
  • sipping water or sucking on ice chips

You might see them:

  • leaning onto the walls or kneeling beside the bed or on all fours
  • changing positions continually
  • swinging side to side
  • or rocking back and forth while standing

You might see:

  • some mothers holding onto the IV stand on wheels while walking
  • their husband or partner supporting them
  • their partner advocating for them in every way they can with the hospital staff
  • a perinatal support person with them
  • a midwife or a doula with them
  • their mother or sister with them

In the third stage of labor, when pushing begins:

  • the laboring mother would stay restricted to the room
  • one may notice a flurry of activity with nurses going in and out
  • with the obstetrician coming in now and then to assess and perform an internal exam to see if the cervix has dilated

And as the time of the delivery approaches, you see much more activity around you. After the birth of the baby and that of the placenta,

  • there might be blood and amniotic fluid and wet sheets to take care of, all of which would be handled swiftly by the nurses
  • the baby would be wiped cleaned and handed over to the mother
  • soon after, they would run routine hospital procedures checking to see that the baby is doing alright
  • you might soon see other family members trickling in with huge smiles on their faces and celebratory voices welcoming the new addition to the family

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

My vision faded as I considered the reality, that the current day mother would face, having a child during the time of a pandemic. Considering the contagiousness and the ability of COVID -19 to cause harm, the precautions which would be taken by both the parents and the hospital staff might have to be significant.

Questions for the Current Time 

For parents, what is the experience of Pregnancy and Childbirth during the time of COVID-19 like?

  • What the visits to the doctor’s office for regular prenatal checkups are like?
  • In the time of the Pandemic, can mothers feel safe going to the doctor for these checkups?
  • Is there an option for virtual calls if preferred?
  • What do the medical staff do to assure pregnant mothers about the maternity ward being free of COVID-19?
  • Are they able to labor freely in the room or were there any restrictions?
  • Who is allowed to be with the mother during labor?
  • What facilities and tools necessary for laboring mothers are accessible?
  • Does the laboring mother have to wear a mask at all times?
  • How was the care at the hospital?
  • Are professional care and any interventions readily available as it would be during non-COVID times?
  • Are family members allowed to visit them in the hospital?
  • How long can you stay in the hospital before you are discharged?

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An Interview with a New Mom during COVID-19

To get a better understanding of how the process of childbirth is in these trying times of the Coronavirus pandemic, I decided to interview Lauren S, a Canadian mother who lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Lauren and her husband Rahmiel parents to a lovely three-year-old daughter, decided that it was time for them to add to their family of three, and nothing was going to stop them from welcoming a little baby into their home.

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

A Baby is Born!

Much to the happiness and excitement of the proud parents, grandparents, great grandmother, uncles, and aunts, and to the thrill and amazement of a big sister and her cousins, on Apr 9th, 2021, amidst all the excitement, arrived a baby girl – Whitney, a beautiful, healthy, bundle of joy.

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

Blessed to have a Loving Family!

Lauren and Rahmiel are blessed to be a part of a loving extended family where births are usually a big event involving gatherings and celebrations. Lauren’s mother and father flew in from Calgary to be with their daughter.

Of course, they had to quarantine first before they could unite with their daughter and her family. Rahmiel’s parents who live around the corner were ready to offer any help at a moment’s notice.

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

Took it all in their Stride…

With the lockdowns in place all over Toronto, and with some people in the family having been already vaccinated with their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Lauren and Rahmiel took it all in their stride as they proceeded to observe the COVID -19 protocols set in place for safe and healthy labor and subsequent delivery.

All the while, the couple was determined mentally and emotionally, to have a birth that is as normal as possible, given the circumstances.

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

Sharing of an Experience

When I contacted Lauren and Rahmiel about sharing their experience so that other expectant moms could know what to expect, they readily agreed. Lauren promptly gave me an interview which put my doubts and fears to rest.

I hoped it would ease the worries of any readers who are interested in learning how to proceed and what to expect during their own or their loved one’s journey towards healthy childbirth, in the time of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Interview with Lauren – A Canadian mom during the time of COVID-19. 

The Visits to the Doctor’s Office?

Q.M. Sami: Lauren, what were visits to the doctor for checkups like? Did you feel safe going to the doctor?

Lauren: Doctor visits were similar to pre-pandemic check-ups. The main difference was that I had to go alone, so Rahmiel never was part of the conversations or able to be part of the ultrasounds.

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

Of course, I and the doctor wore masks and there was COVID-19 screening at the hospital, but the actual visits themselves were similar and I always felt safe going to the doctor.

Virtual calls?

Q.M. Sami: Did you have to arrange for virtual calls when necessary?

Lauren: My very first OB appointment was virtual (over the phone) and my 6-week postpartum visit is scheduled to be virtual (over the phone). Other visits were in person but if I ever had a question or concern between visits, the OB would call me, as necessary.

Assurance from Hospital Staff?

Q.M. Sami: What did the medical staff do to assure you about the maternity ward being free of COVID-19?

Lauren: Unfortunately, there were no assurances, and the COVID-19 procedures were always subject to change depending on the status of the lock-down or other protocols.


Q.M. Sami: Were you able to labor freely in the room or were there any restrictions?

Lauren: The only restriction was that I was tested for COVID-19 and that I and everyone else had to be masked during labor.

Q.M. Sami: Were you able to walk through the corridors during labor or did you have to stay in the room?

Lauren: We had to stay in the room. The nursing staff was wonderful in helping us get ice and water and Rahmiel was able to go to the cafeteria/front of the hospital for food/delivery.


Q.M. Sami: At what point in labor was it recommended that you arrive at the hospital?

Lauren: The standard criteria were recommended for our arrival at the hospital, but they always indicated that if you had any concerns, to come into maternity triage for assessment.

Who was allowed in the Delivery room?

Q.M. Sami: Who was allowed to be with you during labor? How many people?

Lauren: Just Rahmiel. I didn’t have a midwife or doula so not 100% sure if they would be allowed.

Access to Facilities?

Q.M. Sami: Were you allowed to bring any food in?

Lauren: Yes, we brought in food, but we were also allowed to access food from the cafeteria or order food (i.e. via Uber Eats) and pick it up at the front doors of the hospital.

Q.M. Sami: Were ice chips supplied?

Lauren: Yes, upon request and the nurses were also quick to offer. We weren’t allowed to access this ourselves like we were pre-pandemic.

Q.M. Sami: Were you encouraged to use the shower/ bathtub during labor, or did you need to use it?

Lauren: It was available, but my labour progressed so quickly that there wasn’t time or need to use it.

What can you bring with you into the Delivery Room?

Q.M. Sami: Were you advised not to bring anything with you in particular from home?

Lauren: Nothing in particular, but we knew that there were no in/out privileges, so we ensured we brought enough clothes and necessities for us and the baby and brought the car seat into the hospital.

Use of Tools for Labor?

Q.M. Sami: Did you have a birthing ball or any other tools?

Lauren: A birthing ball was available in the room but I didn’t use it.

Is a Mask Required at All Times during Labor and Childbirth?

Q.M. Sami: Were you advised to wear a mask during childbirth or during skin-to-skin contact with the baby or during breastfeeding?

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

Lauren: We both needed to wear a mask during labour and anytime someone else was in the room with us. So, for the initial skin-to-skin breastfeeding we wore masks but once we were recovering in our post-partum room on our own, we could remove the masks until a nurse or someone else came in.

Care at the Hospital?

Q.M. Sami: How was the care at the hospital? Availability of Obstetrician, other professionals, and nurses?

Lauren: The care was exceptional by everyone.

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

Are Interventions Available?

Q.M. Sami: Did you need an induction, pain killers, epidural, or any other interventions? Were they readily available?

Lauren: Yes, anything needed was readily available. I was originally on the induction list and because I wasn’t a priority, we weren’t called in for an induction. Instead, my contractions started naturally.

Family Allowed to Visit?

Q.M. Sami: Was the family able to visit you in the hospital or were they advised not to?

Lauren: No one was allowed to visit.

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

Hospital Stay- How Long?

Q.M. Sami: How long did you stay in the hospital before you were discharged?

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

Lauren: We stayed 24 hours and were eager to go home. We weren’t rushed out of the hospital by any of the staff.

Q.M. Sami: Thank you Lauren for answering my questions which I am sure are in the minds of many pregnant women and their loved ones in Canada and all around the world.

I am happy that everything went well, and Rahmiel and you are back home with baby Whitney safe and sound. I wish you and your family all the best for a happy and healthy future.

In Conclusion,

Lauren and Rahmiel received no assurances as to how well-prepared the hospitals were in keeping maternity wards free of COVID-19, in the year 2021, amidst the great pandemic.

However, every precaution was taken by the hospital staff to make sure that the process of labor and delivery would go as smooth, safe, and above all as normal as possible.

Having to visit the doctor’s office and ultrasound imaging tests all by herself, without her husband by her side, was a precaution Lauren had to take.

In consequence, Rahmiel missed out on opportunities to be with his wife during her visits to the doctor.

At the hospital, being restricted to their room was an adjustment the couple had to make, an adjustment which might be hard for women who must go through longer labors.

Not having the family visit them in the hospital is also a sacrifice that the couple had to make.

However, in the current circumstances, the family waited at home with prayers on their lips and understood that it is better to be safe than sorry.

At the hospital, Lauren still had the option of using various tools such as the tub, the shower, and the birthing ball.

She had access to drinking water, ice chips, and the kitchen by having the nurses get her what she needed.

Lauren and Rahmiel still could bring in or order food.

Once the baby is born, and all the procedures were looked after, the parents of the baby were allowed to take off their masks (except when any hospital personnel needed to be there) and be comfortable in the room insofar as in their own home.

Lauren attested that the care at the hospital was exceptional.

Hats off to the frontline workers, the doctors, the obstetricians, and caregivers…

Childbirth in the Time of COVID-19: One Canadian Mom’s Memorable Experience

…who are making it possible for pregnant women to have a safe and healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

A Sneak Peek…

An ecstatic, jubilant family consisting of a doting doe-eyed sister, grandparents, great grandmother, uncles, aunts, and curious cousins welcomed baby Whitney into their fold, some in person and some virtually.

Q.M. Sami

Childbirth Educator

Humsa Prenatals

Make the best of your pregnancy Enroll now in Humsa Prenatals’s

Self-Paced All-in-one Labor, Delivery, Newborn care and Breast feeding course

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