With hospital limitations due to COVID-19, more expecting mothers are looking into home births

The majority of hospitals are placing limits on the number of visitors allowed, and it's impacting people in the delivery room.

Some hospitals in Southern California like UCLA are allowing only one "support partner" during labor and birth, and nurses will screen the visitor for coronavirus symptoms. 

"A few days ago, I was hearing a lot of things like a lot of hospitals are not allowing even one support person so that really shocked me," said Khine Thinn, who is nine months pregnant with her first child.

Thinn wanted her mother and husband in the delivery room with her. 

"It is a very special time for me, but the virus outbreak happened and it changed everything with my birth plans," said Thinn. 

Thinn is only having her husband in the delivery room with her now and decided to deliver her baby at a hospital an hour away from where she lives to avoid areas with a high exposure to coronavirus cases. 

"Hopefully the solution we chose is something that works for me and something that's safe for the baby too," she said. 

Coronavirus limitations at hospitals are leading pregnant women to look into other options like home births. 

"Across the state [of California], every single midwife has definitely felt the impact of coronavirus. There's been multiple calls daily, many, many emails, many people looking into the option of birthing at home," said Faith Freeman, a licensed and certified midwife with Born To Be Loved Birth in Los Angeles. 

Freeman said some mothers decided to swap their hospital delivery plan for a home birth last minute. 

"A lot of midwives have been able to take on clients that were originally planning to birth at a hospital that now are making that change and it's wonderful that they have that option," she said. 

Freeman said home birth comes with a lot of benefits.

"We do. involve the family. We involve the partner a lot. We bring all of our equipment, our medications, our oxygen, and a birth pool," said Freeman. 

Freeman said the staff is trained to deal with complications, and only transfers small number of clients to a hospital. However, there are more precautions being taken by midwives due to coronavirus.

"When we are in person with our clients, wearing masks, wearing gloves, disinfecting the office between each visit," said Freeman. 

Midwives are also doing more virtual meetings with their clients. However, it is ultimately up to the parents to decide who they want with them for delivery. 

"Usually we don't limit the amount of people that come to the births, but we do recommend that they really evaluate how many people they want there and try to keep it to as minimum as possible," said Freeman. 

Along with the possible risks in hospitals, pregnant women are also dealing with day-to-day stressors associated with coronavirus. 

"Having the shortages of a lot of things like diapers, and wipes and worrying about having necessary items when the baby comes has put a lot of pressure and stress on me," said Thinn. 

Thinn said her pregnancy has been "smooth" overall. She is not experiencing any complications or sickness, and is looking forward to bringing a new baby into the world with her husband. 

Find more information on delivery rules for UCLA at https://www.uclahealth.org/workfiles/COVID-19/Visitor-Restrictions-OB-and-Mattel-03.28.20.pdf.