Petition Against NYC Hospitals’ Ban On Having Partners Present For Labor Quickly Amasses Thousands

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Petition Against NYC Hospitals' Ban On Having Partners Present For Birth Quickly Amasses Thousands

Everyone knows that the threat of Coronavirus on our society is creating unprecedented regulations in order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, but expectant mothers and their allies think a recent hospital order in NYC maternity wings has gone too far.

Since hospitals are becoming overcrowded with those infected by COVID-19, New York City hospitals initially changed the number of persons allowed to be present for labor from two to one — now, hospitals are changing the directive to prevent even partners of those in labor to be present for their child’s birth, all in the name of preventing the spread of disease.

“Effective Tuesday, March 24, we are prohibiting all visitors in maternity and postpartum units across the System, including partners or guests of patients in labor,” Mount Sinai hospital announced via Twitter on Monday evening. “These steps are critical to ensure that we can continue slow spread of COVID-19.”

New York Presbyterian hospitals in the city have issues similar statements, even though they clearly go against the guidelines put forth by the New York State department of Health that the World Health Organization has OK’d.

A Change.Org petition directed towards Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Howard A. Zucker, M.D., J.D. Commissioner, and Sally A. Dreslin, M.S., R.N. Executive Deputy Commissioner, has urged them to get involved and reverse these potentially harmful restrictions NYC hospitals have put in place prioritizing the slow spread of Coronavirus potentially over the health and safety of those in labor and their newborns.

“Fundamentally, risks for the people laboring alone will increase substantially,” the petition explained. “Not only can partners and spouses provide physical and emotional comfort during labor and postpartum, they are also essential in alerting staff when something has gone wrong and the laboring patient cannot notify nurses themselves, like in the event of an eclamptic seizure or a fainting episode. Timing is critical in these cases and monitors can be unreliable.”

Not even doulas, who have been working with expectant mothers for months to help prepare for the birth of their child, are allowed to be present for the birth, either. The petition garnered over 100K signs in 24-hours and 200K+ more since then.

Additionally, many have voiced their concern about this ordinant on Twitter, calling it “cruel” and “pointless” considering if one family member contracts COVID-19 in the hospital (mother or baby), they will likely spread it to all others in the household, anyways.

Unfortunately, people who have given birth today have already been subjected to these regulations. But the longer the NYS Department of Health fails to intervene, the longer people in labor will be at risk for higher stress levels and more dangerous birthing experiences.