Women’s Health Concerns During the COVID-19 Outbreak
You may be hearing in the news that you should stay home and avoid going to the clinic or hospital unless you have an emergency. And that’s great advice when it comes to many common medical problems. However, women’s health concerns often require urgent attention. It’s important that you speak with your doctor before deciding to delay healthcare. The following conditions and procedures are considered essential and urgent during the COVID-19 outbreak:
- Prenatal care. Contact your doctor before canceling or postponing any visits. It’s important for your doctor to assess your health and the baby’s health during pregnancy.
- Abortion. It’s critical that you don’t delay abortion care during the outbreak. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and several other organizations just released a joint statement that abortion care should continue at hospitals and outpatient clinics during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Contraception. Some methods of contraception (birth control) can be safely prescribed after a phone call with your doctor. However, some methods, such as the intrauterine device (IUD), implant or injection (shot), require an in-person visit. Don’t delay contraceptive care – this could lead to an unexpected pregnancy.
- Heavy bleeding. Call your doctor if you experience bleeding that is heavier than a period, especially if you develop symptoms such as dizziness when you stand up or walk.
- Abdominal or pelvic pain. Pain can indicate a serious condition, such as an ovarian cyst, ectopic pregnancy or appendicitis. Call your doctor if this occurs and she can help assess whether you need to come into clinic or the emergency department.
Visitation Policy for Childbirth (C-section or Vaginal Birth)
As of April 2, 2020, UW Medicine Montlake and Northwest campuses will restrict to ONE healthy support person to stay during labor, delivery, and the postpartum stay. The support person and mom will stay together until the family is discharged home together. Support people will not be able to leave and come back to the hospital; your support person must be at least 16 years old.
To maintain social distancing for your safety and that of others, we will not be able to permit walking in the hallways. However, you can continue to move around in your room and call out for food and drinks. Our staff will bring these items directly to your room.
We ask that you plan in advanced to arrange care of other children, family members, and pets, etc. so that you and your support person can stay together and focus on your birth and new baby. Please bring everything you will need for your stay, including an infant car seat and favorite food items.
This was a difficult decision for the leadership team to make. We previously allowed 2 support individuals (partner and doula) during labor as we recognized the support and crucial role that doulas play in the care of our birthing parents. However, the data has become compelling that part of the fight against this pandemic is limiting exposure in order to decrease the number of new cases. Doing so will help keep our current healthy families healthy and allow us to focus on providing all the resources available to our most critically ill patients.
We will continue to screen EVERYONE coming to the hospital for symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms may include fever, body aches, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, sudden loss of taste and/or smell.
We appreciate that these policies may present some hardships for you, but we trust that you understand that our sole intent is to keep you, your baby, family, and community as safe as possible. We are incredibly inspired by the hard work of our colleagues in the healthcare field right now and the outpouring of support from the whole community. We are all in this together, and we will get through this together. Please talk to your provider about your questions and concerns so you can address them together.
To see all of UW Medicine’s information related to COVID-19 please check out uwmedicine.org/coronavirus.