The hit of COVID-19 has changed our routine. With the increasing number of cases these days, it just shows that we cannot let our guard down. Everyone around the world is living in a new norm today. For Malaysians, it is now compulsory to jot down our details and check our body temperature before entering any premises. All is set as an effort in combating COVID-19. Security check temperature of shopper before entering a shopping mall. (Photo credit: The Star) The hospital might be the cleanest but it is also one of the riskiest places to catch the virus. Hence the security is more strict unlike before the pandemic hit. With all standard operating procedure or SOP introduced by the government, one question arises; how is it like giving birth during COVID-19? Can the husband tag along like before? Can the family members come to visit? Is the mother going to be all alone? Q1: Is expecting mother classified under high risk? Before we dig dipper on the new hospital's SOP, it is important to understand how powerful COVID-19 can impact the mother and fetus. It is most unlikely that the virus could affect the baby's development in the womb. But there is no guarantee that it won\u2019t affect the baby after birth. Everything is still in the early stage of research. However, one thing that is sure; it is the mother that worries us the most. Pregnant lady usually has adjusted immune system making them more vulnerable to the virus. Other factors could also contribute to the risk of catching the virus including age, BMI and diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetic. Compare to non-pregnant lady, the virus is more likely to attack the respiratory and cardiovascular system of the expecting mother. In a worst-case scenario, the expecting mother needs to be put under ventilator. Based on these factors, our government has classified that pregnant ladies are among the high-risk category to get infected. Q2: COVID-19's Test Before Labour Some private hospital makes it compulsory for you to take the swab test before giving birth. You are allowed to give birth at the premise only if the result is negative. If otherwise, you will be brought to another hospital for isolation and quarantine. Image credit: https:\/\/www.tokiomarine.com\/ In case of emergency where you need to undergo the Cesarean section before the result, the operation will be done in full personal protective equipment (PPE) suit. Extra charge for the suit will be bear by you in your bill. It is important for you to consult and be clear on the procedure and charges to avoid any misunderstanding. Remember, we are now living in a new norm and need to adhere to the new procedure. As for government hospital, you won\u2019t need to take the test if there is no symptom or close contact with any of the positive COVID-19 case. Hence it is necessary for you to be honest in giving out information. Your honesty matters in protecting others\u2019 live. Q3: Can my husband be with me during labour? Image credit: https:\/\/waves-lifestyle.com\/ Before the pandemic, hospitals (be it private or government) would encourage the husband to be in the labour room to support the wife. Now, there are slight changes in the procedure. \t Private Hospital Certain private hospitals policy will allow the husband to accompany the wife during labour. However, safety measurement is still the top priority. The labour room has to be large enough to avoid being too crowded. The husband should frequently sanitize his hand and compulsory wear mask at all time. \t Government Hospital It is a different procedure at the government hospital. Before the pandemic, the husband can accompany their wife once the dilation hits 4cm. However, in order to protect every patient and to avoid the place from being too crowded, the husband now is strictly prohibited to be in the room during the labour. But mommy, don\u2019t be down too soon. Though it seems like a lonely battle, nurses and doctors are always there to cheer and help you push the baby out. They are always there to ensure your safety and making sure for you to have smooth delivery. Q4: How can my family get the information if I give birth at a government hospital? So what happened to the anxious husband that is waiting outside? How will they get the information? Though fathers could not be in the room, nurses are always helpful in giving out information. In fact, in some government hospital, there is a special monitor that will show the next of kin on the labour status. In this case, you are lucky if there is no contact from the hospital showing that the mother and baby are in good condition. Not to forget, technology at the fingertip; mothers could always contact the family for any updates. Well, provided that the mother is in a condition where she is able to keep updating her family because contraction is not a joke. Q5: Can the family visit the baby? Image credit: https:\/\/gynecologist.aestheticsadvisor.com\/ If you choose to give birth at a private hospital, there is a high probability that the family can come and pay a visit. However, though the hospital might allow it, it is highly advisable to not accept any visitor during this pandemic. Right after giving birth, your newborn and you are still in a fragile state. Your immunity, especially your baby is still weak. You would never know where your visitors come from. If you still happen to have visitors, be strict to them. Make it compulsory to sanitize their hands before touching the baby, wear the mask and not to kiss the baby even for once. As a mother, you have every right to protect your newborn. Government hospital made the best decision to not allow any visitor to the ward. Even the father is prohibited to visit the baby. Most patients at the hospital are having a weak immunity for their illness and condition. Should the virus spread, they will be the first one to catch them. It is the hospital\u2019s responsibility to protect their patients. Do Some Research Before Choosing Your Hospital Be it a private hospital or government hospital, there are always pros and cons. Image credit: http:\/\/www.shazwanihamid.com\/ Some might say prefer private hospital even though it is more expensive. But, it is more lenient in terms of policy and privacy. However, one should remember that such leniency could make the place riskier in catching the virus; something that everyone tries hard to avoid. If you choose to give birth at the government hospital, keep in mind that you might need to be stronger than before the pandemic. Most of the things - from labour to delivery - need to be done on your own, alone. You might have some breakdown along the way, especially for the first-time mother. As for first-time father, you have to prepare yourself as well. Read this article and see how the husband survived as the confinement dad after the birth of his son during the middle of the pandemic back in March. Photo Credit: Mr Kevin It is important for both mother and father to be physically and mentally prepared before the labour of your baby during this pandemic - the hospital, the preparation before and after the birth and many more. Ensure that you discuss properly between both of you and fully understand every policy and charges an be prepared of what may come.