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COVID-19 FAQs, Mothers and Babies

Preparing for childbirth at Howard County General Hospital
  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 and continues until further notice.

    Guidelines as of 8/4/21 (yellow level):

    • 1 care partner at the bedside at a time and will be permitted for labor, delivery and duration of birth parent’s hospital stay.  
    • Children under 18 years old may visit if accompanied by an adult care partner.
    • Maximum of 1 care partner and 1 child at the bedside at a time.
    • Up to 4 care partners may rotate during visiting hours.  
    • One doula is permitted for labor and delivery.
    • 1 care partner OR one doula is allowed in the operating room during surgical 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.

  • Yes, 1 care partner at the bedside at a time will be permitted for labor, delivery and duration of birth parent’s hospital stay. Up to 4 care partners may rotate during visiting hours.

  • Not at this time.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • View an article from Johns Hopkins Medicine about Breastfeeding with Coronavirus.


Additional FAQs

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Birthing Center has two state-of-the-art, fully equipped operating rooms and a pediatrician is present at all C-sections.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Contact: K.I.S.S. (Kids in Safety Seats) at 410-767-6016 or  For car inspection call 410-313-6090.
  • 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.
  • 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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