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In this rapid-response article, the authors investigate the quickly shifting protocols for in-hospital and out-of-hospital births, and examine the decision making behind these changes. They ask whether COVID-19 will cause women, families, and providers to look at birthing in a different light, and whether this offers a testing ground for future policy changes to generate effective maternity care in the face of pandemics and other types of disasters.
How quickly and in what ways are United States maternity care practices changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Our survey data indicate that partners and doulas are being excluded from birthing rooms while many mothers are isolated, unsupported, and laboring alone. Providers face changing hospital protocols, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), and unclear guidelines for practice. In this rapid-response article, we investigate the quickly shifting protocols for in-hospital and out-of-hospital births, and examine the decision making behind these changes. We ask whether COVID-19 will cause women, families, and providers to look at birthing in a different light, and whether this offers a testing ground for future policy changes to generate effective maternity care in the face of pandemics and other types of disasters.
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