Many people consider a hospital birth as the safest way to bring a new life into the world. With
the pandemic, however, some parents-to-be worry about the potential implications of knowingly
sharing breathing space with others, especially in a medical facility. It’s understandable — the last
thing we want to think about while giving birth is contracting anything other than a baby!
If you’re feeling anxiety about having a hospital birth, here are some ways to bring some some
peace of mind back into your decision.
Make a Birth Plan
With a birth plan, you can outline what you want your hospital birth experience to be.
Pre-pandemic, a birth plan included everything from who supports you during the actual birthing
process to which family members are allowed to visit after your delivery. True, many hospitals
have changed what’s allowed. During your virtual or in-person hospital tour, they should be able
to tell you what to expect when, and after, you give birth.
Focus on the decisions you can control: how soon you want to do skin-to-skin contact with your
baby; whether you want a c section, an epidural, or an unmedicated birth (to the extent that you
can state your preferences ahead of time); whether you want the lights dim or bright; whether
you’ll want a photo nearby of a loved one who can’t be in the room with you; whether you want
to labor standing or lying down; and whether you’ll breastfeed, for example.
This is still YOUR hospital birth, and you get to decide some things that no one else can.
Remember that your medical team is the
expert in hospital births
It may be your first time ever to give birth, and/or perhaps it’s your first time to give birth in a
hospital — but it’s far from your labor and delivery team’s first rodeo.
Your ob gyn and the team that supports them is specifically trained in birthing to address all
potential medical emergencies, complications, and all other aspects of labor and delivery. High
risk or not, they’ve seen it all before and are trained to facilitate the birthing process for you. A
baby is still a baby, just as it’s always been.
As for the “standard” births that require no interventions — which still comprise the vast majority
of hospital births — labor is second nature to every nurse, doctor, and/or certified nurse midwife
there. The pandemic has changed nothing about that. The birth experts are there to help ensure
the safety of mother and baby — not only during the hospital birth, but also afterwards while
you’re in recovery.
Furthermore, at this point in the pandemic, your medical team will already have lots of
experience — and therefore greater comfort, themselves — with managing your delivery and
helping to keep you healthy.
Manage your internal dialogue
The pandemic has no hold on your inner voice. What mantras can you start practicing now to
help keep you in a peaceful state of mind while you’re in labor?
Just as you could pre-pandemic, you can pray, meditate, take calming breaths, or stretch — and
labor the way YOU want to, provided there’s no medical risk to you or baby.
Envision the labor and delivery you want to have in the hospital setting, including the kinds of
thoughts with which you’ll work to fill your mind. Likewise, practice releasing any thoughts that
aren’t conducive to your peace of mind as you prepare to deliver.
The mind-body connection can be powerful, especially when your body “talks” as much as it
does in labor!
Speak with someone who’s had a hospital
birth during the pandemic
Do you know anyone who’s had a hospital birth during COVID-19? Talk to them. See what
challenges they encountered with their labor and birth process so that you can be proactive to
address whatever concerns arise.
If you don’t know anyone who had a baby in a hospital during this time, find a locally-based
social media group where you can inquire about the current labor and delivery situation at your
hospital from someone who’s been there. Perhaps their delivery wasn’t all that different from
what you’ve envisioned for your birth. If it was, it can be helpful to think it through ahead of
Do your research
Knowledge is power, right? If you’re second guessing whether a hospital birth is still the right
care plan for your and your baby’s health, examine your options.
While it’s true that home births increased 77% from 2004-2017 (and even more so during the
pandemic), that still doesn’t mean a home birth is for everyone. You can also investigate birthing
centers and other options to see if their approach resonates with you and are a good match for
Perhaps you’ll find an alternative to a hospital that still gives you the medical support you crave;
or perhaps you’ll confirm your instinct that birthing in a hospital gives you the most peace. Either
way, you’ll have empowered yourself with knowledge to support your instincts.
Mostly — and whatever you choose — trust yourself and your medical team. After all, when
you’re rewarded with the birth of a baby, the location will soon be an afterthought.
Sarah R. Moore is the founder of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting. As a certified gentle parenting coach and trainer, she’s a regular contributor to international parenting magazines, as well as frequent guest on podcasts and parenting summits. She offers a popular series of mini-courses, webinars, and FREE expert interviews. She’s currently writing two books that will be released this year. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.