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What to expect when you’re expecting during COVID-19

FILE - In this Thursday, May 7, 2020 file photo, a pregnant woman wearing a face mask and gloves holds her belly as she waits in line for groceries with hundreds during a food pantry sponsored by Healthy Waltham for those in need due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, at St. Mary's Church in Waltham, Mass. A small study in Italy strengthens evidence that pregnant women infected with the coronavirus might be able to spread it to a fetus before birth. Research was released on Thursday, July 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (Charles Krupa, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

COVID-19 has changed the way we celebrate big moments — including the birth of a child.

Tosin Goje, MD, of Cleveland Clinic, said if you’re expecting a baby during the pandemic — you’ll want a clear understanding of your hospital’s COVID-19 rules and restrictions.

“They should start having the discussion as early as possible about expectations for labor and delivery — how their delivery is going to be different from the pre-COVID season,” she said. “They might realize that by talking about it, it’s not as bad as what they think it is.”

In order to prevent COVID-19 transmission, many hospitals require women to wear a face covering upon arrival.

Most hospitals will also ask about recent travel, health and contact history.

Pregnant women may be tested for COVID-19 once they’re admitted. Every hospital has their own testing policy for labor and delivery though, so be sure to ask your doctor for details.

In addition, the number of people allowed inside during and after delivery is restricted at most hospitals.

“In order to reduce transmission of COVID-19, to your loved ones and to your baby, there are restrictions to the amount of people that can be in the room,” said Dr. Goje. “Most hospitals have policies that are restricted to the immediate person that offers you emotional support.”

A new mom may also want to connect with loved ones during labor and delivery using video or virtual platforms.

Dr. Goje said it’s always a good idea for women to check with their doctor about video policies and to ask what types of technology are allowed in the hospital.