Reader Q: Are local hospitals doing what other places are doing and making women birth alone, which is just horrible?

UPDATE: As visitor and social distances guidelines have become even more strict, Lafayette General Health is no longer allowing laboring patients to have doulas, labor support coaches, or midwives in addition to their one significant other at the hospital. The policy change is effective immediately. "The patients are welcome to connect with them via phone/FaceTime, etc. The patient or their significant other would have to arrange that using their own devices," according to a statement from the hospital system.

A. No they are not. At both Lafayette General and Lourdes, which owns Women’s & Children’s, you are still allowed to have one person with you during childbirth.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, both systems have instituted “zero visitor” policies, with limited exceptions, one of which is laboring mothers. Click here for the latest on Lourdes’ visitor restrictions and here for Lafayette General’s.

(See Editor’s Note above for the policy change that went into effect days after this story was published.)

What if I have a doula or midwife? If you have a labor coach, Lafayette General will also allow that person, along with your spouse, partner or significant other.

“If the mom has a doula arranged already to assist during labor, the doula can stay for labor and the delivery and will be asked to leave after the delivery,” a Lafayette General spokeswoman tells me. “We will ask the doula to present a certificate to show that is their role. The one significant other can stay with the mom in L & D and M/B [where moms go after delivery.] 

That’s not the case at Lourdes’ Women’s & Children’s, however, where it’s going to be either your doula or partner. “They are allowed to have one spouse or significant other [screened at entry] to be with them during their stay,” a Lourdes spokeswoman tells me.

Both hospital systems say they have made no other significant changes to labor and delivery other than the overall response to new guidelines for dealing with coronavirus.

We did find at least one hospital in New York that is not allowing anyone to accompany the mother during childbirth, but that policy, as clearly stated above, is not in place here.

About the Author

A founding editor of both The Independent and ABiz and senior editor at The Times of Acadiana in the 1990s, Leslie Turk has worked in the newspaper business in Lafayette for almost three decades. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times and The Acadiana Advocate. Email her at leslie@thecurrentla.com.

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