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COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 FAQs, Mothers and Babies

Preparing for Childbirth at Howard County General Hospital
  • Since childbirth classes are canceled, where can I learn more before delivery?
    The breastfeeding classes and support group, infant care and childbirth classes, as well as birthing center tours are online only until further notice. To learn more, visit
  • Should my appointments with my OBGYN change?
    Many doctors are offering virtual visits where possible in order to minimize the risk of exposure. Pregnant women could be more vulnerable to serious illness if infected with COVID-19. The best thing you can do to prevent exposure is to stay at home and practice social and physical distancing and proper hand hygiene.
  • What symptoms could be a sign of COVID-19?

    COVID-19 symptoms include:

    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath
    • Muscle aches
    • Sore throat
    • Unexplained loss of taste or smell
    • Headache
    • Diarrhea

    All patients should call prior to coming to the hospital if they have symptoms, or if they have tested positive for COVID-19 by an outside facility.

  • What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

    If you have a fever or any kind of respiratory difficulty such as coughing or shortness of breath, call your doctor and explain your symptoms over the phone before going to the doctor’s office, urgent care facility or emergency room.

    If you have a medical emergency such as severe shortness of breath, call 911 and let them know about your symptoms.

  • If I have COVID-19, will I deliver my baby at HCGH?
    Where you will deliver will depend on a variety of factors. You should speak with your doctor about your specific situation. Our health care providers are trained and prepared to care for all obstetric patients.
  • What is the hospital doing to ensure it is clean for a safe delivery?

    The hospital uses cleaning materials that are government regulated in all public and private spaces. We follow the CDC guidelines for sterilizing all surfaces to ensure your health and safety.

  • Will I be tested for COVID-19 before delivery?

    Due to the potential for asymptomatic women in labor to be COVID-19-positive, each woman who is admitted for delivery will receive a rapid COVID-19 test. The care team will follow our COVID-19 protocol and will resume non-COVID-19 guidelines if the test comes back negative.

    Failure to identify COVID-19 in asymptomatic women in labor presents a high risk for transmitting the virus to others, including the newborn baby.

  • If I go into labor, where do I enter the hospital?
    OB patients should enter through the hospital’s main entrance and are required to check in with the Admitting Department in the hospital’s main lobby. OB patients may pre-register with their doctor or midwife’s office in advance of their due date.

    All patients and visitors will be given a mask upon entry to the hospital. All patients, visitors and staff are required to wear a face mask in the hospital. For extra precautions, on the Labor and Delivery Unit, providers will be masked with shields.
  • What is the visitor policy when I deliver?

    In order to protect our patients, visitors and staff from the spread of COVID-19, an updated visitor policy for the Johns Hopkins Health System was enacted March 30, 2020 and continues until further notice. One designated visitor is allowed for labor, delivery (no labor reentry if the visitor leaves the hospital) and the duration of the birth parent’s hospital stay and must be screened for flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath and will not be able to stay if symptomatic. One support person is allowed in the operating room during surgical delivery. No visitors are allowed for COVID-19 positive obstetric patients.

  • Can my family wait in the lobby or other area of the hospital during delivery?
    Other family members or friends will not be permitted to enter the facility or to wait in lobbies or common areas such as the cafeteria.
  • Can my partner stay with me after delivery?
    Yes, you may have one visitor stay with you and we recommend minimal reentry.
  • Are there plans to reduce recovery time for new moms if the hospital becomes full with other patients?
    Not at this time.
  • Will I be separated from my baby after birth?
    We encourage skin-to-skin and rooming in for patients. However, if a patient tests positive for COVID-19 prior to delivery, our hospital will follow current CDC guidelines related to separating mother and baby to prevent transmission of the virus.
  • How should I prepare when I return home?
    When you and your little one return home, stay home as much as possible. Instead of having visitors come to you, call friends and family or visit by video. If you have to go out, you should also practice physical distancing -- stay at least six feet away from others in public places. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Is it safe to breastfeed?
    View an article from Johns Hopkins Medicine about Breastfeeding with Coronavirus.

Additional FAQs

  • Are specific services available for women with high-risk pregnancies?
    The Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine at the Little Patuxent Specialty Care Center is equipped to manage any high-risk situation that may arise during your pregnancy and to provide you with comprehensive care. The center is staffed by Johns Hopkins specialists board-certified in Maternal Fetal Medicine.
  • Can the birth of my baby be photographed and/or video recorded?
  • What if I need an epidural?
    Should you need or request an epidural, your obstetrician will decide the optimal time in your labor process. Your labor coach will be asked to step out of the room while the epidural is being administered.
  • What if I need a C-Section?
    The Birthing Center has two state-of-the-art, fully equipped operating rooms and a pediatrician is present at all C-sections.
  • What if my baby needs special care?
    In the unlikely event that your child requires specialized care after birth, he or she will be taken immediately to the NICU and attended by our Johns Hopkins pediatric intensive care team.
  • I’m having trouble nursing my baby, who can I call for help?
    All of our maternal and child nurses are trained to you assist you with breastfeeding. Our lactation consultant is also available and can be reached at 410-740-7830, even after you have taken your baby home.
  • What do I need to take my baby home?
    Please bring a going-home outfit for your baby, including a weather-appropriate blanket and hat. Also, have someone bring your infant car seat to your room before you leave. Bring only the baby CARRIER to room. Leave the base secured in your car. For more information, download the "Taking Your Baby Home" brochure.
  • How do I safely install my baby's car seat?
    Contact: K.I.S.S. (Kids in Safety Seats) at 410-767-6016 or  For car inspection call 410-313-6090.
  • How do I get my baby's birth certificate?
    Howard County General Hospital does not issue birth certificates. All birth certificates are issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics and you must apply to receive a copy and pay a fee. Go to the Vital Chek website or call Maryland Vital Records at 410-764-3038 or 1-800-832-3277.
  • When will I receive my baby's Social Security card?
    The Social Security card is mailed to the new parents within three to four weeks after the birth of their baby. The process is initiated from the hospital and there are no separate documents that need to be submitted outside of the hospital.
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