Babies & Childbirth during Covid

Parent Q&A

Parents of newborns- how are you handling visitors during Covid? Jun 20, 2021 (8 responses below)
Second support person allowed in L&D? Mar 2, 2021 (2 responses below)
Ultrasound clinics that allow partners - know of any? Feb 1, 2021 (3 responses below)
Birth prep/newborn care classes during covid? Dec 13, 2020 (1 responses below)
Recent Experiences at Kaiser Oakland L&D? Aug 15, 2020 (4 responses below)
Alta Bates birth during Covid19 May 12, 2020 (10 responses below)
Childcare during childbirth with shelter in place? Apr 8, 2020 (2 responses below)
Planning for newborn childcare during Covid 19 shelter-in-place Apr 4, 2020 (2 responses below)
Sleep consultant for infant - video or phone consultation Mar 31, 2020 (7 responses below)
Lactation consultant with virtual visits? Mar 28, 2020 (10 responses below)
Childbirth at Kaiser During Covid Mar 20, 2020 (3 responses below)
  • We have a two month old, and we are navigating having visitors over. All of our adult family members are vaccinated, but we do have young nieces and nephews who cannot be vaccinated yet. Understandably, both adults and kids want to see and hold the baby, but we have continued to be pretty cautious even with the adults. We are wondering how other parents of newborns are handling this issue both with the vaccinated adults and the unvaccinated kids? Do you have different rules for indoors and outdoors? And is there a source where have you been getting your guidance on this issue?

    So I don't have a newborn yet, but will in October. Our plan is only vaccinated persons can hold baby. Any unvaccinated person must keep their distance and wear a mask around baby. I do not plan to have unvaccinated people go unmasked around baby even if we are outdoors. It feels too risky to me. I don't have any specific sources  to cite, but I've just been following the CDC and taking a more cautious approach. If you have Instagram, I highly recommend checking out @pedsdoctalk she is a pediatrician who discusses COVID a lot and is also super practical about the reality of everyday life. I also like @kinggutterbaby she is an infectious disease specialist who has been working with COVID closely, she hosts really approachable Q&A sessions about COVID on her page and breaks down all the new research. Finally, there is a FB group called Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support for Bay Area Families, its a really respectful group to ask questions and people only share valid research articles there. Hope that helps! Congrats on the new baby!

    I found this write-up in the NYT super helpful about how low risk kids are (even infants!).

    However, if you are still going to be cautious, I'd recommend doing an outdoor thing.  NYT also had a great write-up of how it's pretty much impossible for Covid to spread outdoors:

    Also, I always made sure people didn't even have the sniffles when coming over and of course, everyone washes hands! :-)

    My daughter is 8.5 months old, so we had to navigate the newborn phase in a totally unvaccinated state. We were very strict. Post vaccine—must be vaccinated to hold. Pre-vaccine: must quarantine for 2 weeks.
    Inside only with one other household. Outside with no more than 5 households. We’ve been very strict about other people holding her—only grandparents if other family are there. It’s hard, but even vaccinated people can transmit and it’s just not a risk we want to take. We spend a lot of time weighing the benefits and risk. At the moment, we’re in a pandemic window, so we’ve been a little looser. But with the delta variant on the rise, we’re preparing to reign it in again. 

  • Second support person allowed in L&D?

    (2 replies)

    Hi! I heard from a local Facebook Doula group that Alta Bates will start allowing a second support person in the delivery room starting 3/2/21. Does anyone know if this is true? My Dr was not able to confirm. Thanks!

    Hi, I happened to have an OB appointment yesterday and it IS true (for now - the OB said it's subject to change at any time as things evolve).  Here's what the OB shared with me (again, she warned me things could fluctuate):

    "At this time we are allowing 2 support people for our labor and delivery and post partum patients at Alta Bates. Both may be present at the same time, and both must be adults. The 2 designated support people must remain the same for the entire stay. The following rules apply to all visitors: 

    1. All visitors should wear a Sutter-provided procedure mask (personal cloth/other masks are not allowed) once inside the facility and for the duration of the visit including in the patient's room.
    2. Visitors must remain inside patient rooms.
    3. Visitors are asked to limit comings and goings to the hospital to twice in a 24 hour time period
    4. A visitor may be asked at certain times to step out of the room if deemed necessary by the doctor or primary nurse.  In these instances, the visitor will be directed to wait in a designated waiting area.
    5. The cafeterias will NOT be open to visitors, so please be sure to bring food. A cooler can be helpful for your room. Whole Foods is easily accessible on Telegraph and Ashby if you need to re stock. You can also order food to be delivered. Patients will continue to provided regular meals at the hospital."

    FYI to others reading, this is now true for Kaiser. 

  • Is anyone aware of any ultrasounds clinics in the East Bay (or even in the entire Bay Area) that are currently allowing partners at appointments? We are due for our 20 week ultrasound in a few weeks and would love to find a clinic that would allow both of us to attend.

    Thanks in advance for any tips!

    I had all my ultrasounds done at the Sutter lab on Telegraph and they allowed my partner to come. 

    I was using private ultrasound clinics and the charge was about $50.00. They were fine with partners coming in. Those aren’t diagnostic ultrasounds and are really for you to just see the kid

    UCSF was allowing partners for fetal diagnostics but as of 1/8, however, they stopped allowing them to come so depending on when you need to go, they said it might change in a few weeks but weren't sure. 

  • We're due with our first child in April and though I've heard great things about birth prep classes for Natural Resources and Then Comes Baby from pre-covid times, I haven't seen much feedback about how well those classes have adjusted to online instruction. Anyone have any insight? We're hoping to find classes that do their best to replicate the personal connections of an in-person class (as much as is feasible and realistic these days). Thanks in advance! 

    Hi Sbutton! And congratulations! I’m due at the end of February and we are starting virtual childbirth classes next month with Anna Hurty <>. Had a long phone conversation and got a good feeling that we would get the care and community we are longing for. 

    I’ve also hear great things about Loving Arms <>. 

    Good luck! 

  • I have multiple questions about prenatal and birth visitors/visitation in the East Bay:

    -Are any obstetrics (OBGYN) offices in the east bay allowing partners in for appointments at this time?

    -Are any hospitals allowing Doulas and/or Midwives to the birth at this time?  Any clarification for what will happen next summer (July 2021)?

    Thanks for sharing your experiences in advance! 

    Congratulations on expecting! What the hospitals allow will totally depend on how the pandemic is doing and whether there is a surge at that given moment. Currently, and by that I mean today...cause it can change hospitals like Kaiser, you’re allowed 1 support person and a doula only if it has been prearranged, meaning they have been identified and documented by your doctor in your chart during prenatal care. Once you’re delivered, the doula will need to leave prior to transferring to the postpartum unit. Good luck!

    Hi there, I got pregnant in June and my partner has not been allowed to come to any OB appointments.  He was able to go to my ultrasound at Sutter (Prenatal Diagnosis Center at 5730 Telegraph), but he won't be able to join my next one because due to the rise in COVID cases, only patients are allowed in the building.

    It seems like a fluid situation, I don't think anyone knows what the regulations will be in July.  Hopefully things will be better by then.  When I had my first OB visit, I was told I could bring one support person to the hospital with me (I'm planning to deliver at Alta Bates).  Then in the mid-October when COVID cases were low, Alta Bates started allowing two support people and I hired a doula.  Unfortunately now that cases have spiked, it's back to one support person only.  So if the situation stays the same til I deliver, I can either have my husband or the doula accompany me (and I kinda feel like the doula would be more helpful, but we haven't decided yet and are just hoping cases do go down and we don't have to choose).  Since it looks like things can go back and forth, I would try not to worry about it (I know, easier said than done) and maybe hold off on hiring a doula until a little close to your due date.

  • Recent Experiences at Kaiser Oakland L&D?

    (4 replies)


    I am due in late September and likely will be having a C-section. I’m wondering if anybody has given birth at Kaiser Oakland recently (past couple months) and would be willing to share what the experience was like given Covid. I’m concerned about catching Covid at the hospital (though my OB has assured me she feels safer there than at the supermarket!) and the many new Covid-related policies (e.g., my husband will have to stay with me the whole time, no in-and-out privileges).

    I’d be so grateful for any firsthand knowledge or experiences! Thanks!

    Just gave birth at Kaiser Oakland last week. Previous birth experience was with Kaiser San Jose.

    Giving birth was great- respectful nurses and MD's. I had a 2nd year resident who was great. I did not wear a mask although husband did. Lots of respectful bonding time with baby. Super respectful of our birth plan wishes.

    Post partum was not great. I gave birth on the evening and by the time I transferred to a room had missed dinner. Nurse totally gave me a weird look when I asked about how to order food and I explained I hadn't had lunch or dinner because I was delivering baby. I got a lean cuisine microwave dinner and husband got a sandwich. Food ordering system sucked, was difficult to use TV remote system and food was not very good. I hope you don't have allergies because they don't list ingredients.

    Big joke- my nurse wrote goals down for me. They were 1) get rest 2) breast feed every 2-3 hours. I understand the importance of frequent breastfeeding. This is my 4th breastfed baby. Still, what a joke! Who can rest and recover when the nurse comes in every 2-3 hours, turns on some lights, quizzes you on when you last fed, messes with the baby etc.

    Because it is a teaching hospital we had SO MANY PEOPLE coming into the room. The med student pediatrician, the resident MD to look at baby's eyes, hearing tech, nurse to educate you on your post partum care, lactation consultant, lab person plus the RN covering or helping your RN, and EVERYONE wanted to do something to the baby. In Covid times it made me pretty nervous. Plus hand hygiene was all over the place.

    They were disorganized- we asked to go home next morning and were very clear on this. Somehow they messed up and at some point thought we were staying and stopped the check out process. We had to eventually send husband out to bug them for the last bits to get out of there. Finally escaped at 3:30.

    If you are leas familiar with Kaiser Oakland take a second to figure out parking. Parking is a Big Deal there and at some point your support person will need to move the car to the garage. Always make sure you have proper signs or tickets displayed or your car can get towed.

    Good Luck!


    i gave birth to my daughter end of April this year at kaiser Oakland, and like you, I was deeply concerned and scared of what to expect and of catching Covid. 
    I am happy to say that I could not have been happier with our experience.

    i felt the staff to be calm, well organized and reassuring during our whole time there. My birth plan was still read and honored. My husband was with me every minute from arrival to departure with no issue. He was allowed to go move the car, but just in case we came prepared with plenty of snacks, Gatorade for electrolytes and extra clothes just in case we had to stay longer than expected ( we didn’t)

     Everyone was Well protected And followed procedure well before handling my daughter each time. Ie: extra hand washing, sanitizer, gloves and mouths/ noses covered. I still received wonderful care.
    I did notice that The nurses and doctors come in the room less regularly than before ( I gave birth there to my son 2018) but they got us all out as quickly as they could without us feeling rushed - we were eager to leave of course. 
    work they used to do outside the room prior with the baby ie: hearing test, and birth certificate forms are now all done in the room to minimize contact all around. 
    In all, I felt very safe. Well taken care of and less afraid than I had been before I went in. 
    sometimes anticipation can be the worst part of it all. 
    I hope this helps to reassure you and that you a wonderful birth experience. 

    with blessings and light,


    I delivered at KP Oakland via csection at the end of July. The operating team was excellent- I’d be happy got connect with you directly if you’d like. We were worried about covid too, and left the hospital just after 48 hrs to mitigate our risk. Everyone in the postpartum unit wore masks regularly in our room, so I felt the support we received outweighed the risk. My husband was able to sleep in our room and order food for delivery. I hope this is helpful.

  • Alta Bates birth during Covid19

    (10 replies)

    Hi, wondering if anyone here has given birth at Alta Bates during Covid19 times and would be willing to share what it was like? We're due in a few weeks and have all kinds of questions, like if we'll be allowed to leave the room at all, if a mask will be required during labor, how my partner will get food, etc etc. 
    Thanks so much! 

    Hi! I gave birth on April 6 (admitted the 5th and discharged the 8th) and this was my experience.  When we entered they took our temperature and gave us masks. We were asked to stay in our room the whole time with masks on. All nurses and doctors also had masks. During labor I seem to remember wearing a mask. Haha. During recovery we had a whole room to ourselves so my partner was able to sleep on a hospital bed. Again, we were confined the the room. I didn’t wear a mask then because I wanted baby to see my face but I did put one on when folks came in. I think there is one opportunity o leave per day but my husband never left. We brought food and a hot water heater. He did go to the cafeteria one say but that didn’t count as exiting. Also? The parking garage has a three day pass but check to see if Berkeley is actually ticketing because you may just be able to park on the street.  Hope this helps.  Good luck! 

    Hi, I gave birth at Alta Bates about 3 weeks ago. At the time, we had our temperature checked when entering the hospital, but I think they're now having laboring patients tested for covid-19 upon being admitted as well. I was told we were supposed to wear masks during labor, but I ended up taking mine off at some point (my husband kept his on the whole time). Now with testing, I think you don't have to wear a mask during delivery if you test negative. We both wore our masks in postpartum every time someone came into our room. 

    I was told we weren't allowed to leave the room – both during labor and in postpartum. My husband did leave a couple of times to go to whole foods and pick up food delivery. He wasn't given food by the hospital, but I've heard that they'll give partners food if you ask such as basic sandwiches and snacks. 

    Despite covid-19 times, my experience at Alta Bates was really positive. The staff/nurses were amazing and so helpful. 

    I'm scheduled for a c-section tomorrow morning, and can let you know about my experience once we get back. I know that currently Alta Bates only allows one support person and they have in/out privileges (I think) twice a day.  The same support person is designated throughout the hospital stay.  They are testing all pregnant women for COVID.  Not sure about masks.

    I'm a NICU nurse at a different hospital in the same network, and I may be able to give a little insight.  Before I went out on leave, our hospital allowed one support person in the hospital.  The support person could only leave and come back once per day.  I believe they made all laboring women and visitors wear masks, but at that time we weren't testing anyone who was asymptomatic.   Our cafeteria was open, and you had to meet your food delivery driver outside the hospital.  

    I'll try to remember to check back and update, but feel free to message me if you don't hear from me.  Might get a little forgetful having a preschooler and newborn at home.

  • Hello, 

    We are due with our second end of June, and have a one and a half year old. We had already arranged with her home-based daycare that when I went into labor, our first born would stay there until we got back from the hospital as she would be the most comfortable spending the night/extended days there. However, with COVID, she's no longer going to the daycare as we're not essential workers (though they're still open and serving essential workers). If shelter in place is still happening in June/July, do you know if I'm still able to send her to the daycare just while I'm in labor? Not sure what the procedure is for childcare for medical reasons...(note, we don't have family in the area).

    I don't have official knowledge, but as a mom of two in daycare, I do think it depends on the daycare. I know some daycares have closed, but ours has not, and this is because (I believe) state and national guidance have exempted daycares from school closings. My best advice would be for you to talk to your daycare and let them know your need. They may be able to provide care for you, or else, perhaps they could arrange for an in-home provider that would be familiar to your family already. As it is a very fluid situation, I think the more transparent everybody is about needs and limitations for what can be offered, the better the chances are that you will be able to work something out. June/July may still be far off, but I'd start the conversation now. If you get the sense that they won't be able to help you, maybe you could start hiring a sitter just for familiarity and use that person down the line to care for your daughter while you are in the hospital. Good luck!

    Your daycare will likely be able to accept your childcare since it is only for a day or two and you have a medical need for childcare.  But if nanny/babysitter/friend is a possibility, you might want to consider that instead.  Since the daycare is open for essential workers and those workers are still out there in the community and some might be health workers working with sick folks, the risk of your child catching a virus in daycare is higher than if you just used a nanny or sent your kid to a friend for a day or two.  If you were an essential worker and needed the daycare then the risk is bearable as children are for the most part doing ok and it is the same risk as any other essential worker family taking on, but consider if you are willing to take the risk for having your child exposed to several (10-12) kids of workers who are not currently sheltering in place just for one or two days of childcare and potentially bring it home to a newborn baby. 

  • I am giving birth this week to my first child and have not secured childcare.  Originally, my husband and I were going to start looking in March and take our time through the process.  I'm an educator and my husband is self-employed so we have some flexibility, and were hoping to secure something by July.  With Covid 19 and California's shelter-in-place order I'm not quite sure how to navigate this at all.  We are mostly interested in a nanny share.  Thanks for any insights!

    My experience with both my children (5 and 10 mos) was that things fell into place with a nanny share about 6 weeks or so before we needed care. It can feel like you're cutting it too close but families and nannies often aren't looking before then so it can be hard to find something much earlier. So if you're hoping for care in July, you can at least wait it out for another month or so to see where we are with the epidemic and stay-at-home orders. 

    There is no reason you can't reach out and start talking to families who might be posting about nanny shares now. You don't typically meet in person until you think you're a match anyhow, so if you see a posting that seems promising, reach out, say hello, start a convo and meet up later. Also agree that you don't need as much lead time for nanny shares as you do with daycares, so 4-6 weeks is a good window. 

  • Hello,

    We have a 5-month-old baby who used to sleep through the night (6.5-7 hours) and suddenly can’t stay asleep longer than 2 hours (sometimes as few as 20 minutes) without being held. We don’t know if it’s the sudden change from being in daycare to being sheltered in place, or just a normal developmental thing, but as two working parents trying to figure out life in the corona virus-era, we’ve come to the place where we are looking for help. Thought I’d post here to see if any parents have recommendations for sleep consultants (or things to look for/avoid). 

    If you’ve worked with someone before and liked them, who did you work with and what did you like about them? How long did you have to work with them before seeing results? Also, guidance on the going rate for sleep consultants?

    Any help is appreciated. At this point, we’re looking for someone who will do video and/or phone consultations.

    Sounds to me like the 4-month sleep regression came slightly later. Keep with your good bedtime sleep routines, and if you’re open to sleep training (ask your peds first), you can start thinking about sleep training.  We chose not to sleep train (CIO) but rather stuck to our routines, putting down drowsy, and rode out the 3ish weeks (it was painful but for us worth it).  Usually with some gentle sleep coaching and good bedtime routines, this regression rides itself out. 

    This sounds like a 4 month sleep regression. In theory, if they learn to fall asleep by themselves in the place where they will sleep for the whole night then they should improve at getting themselves back to sleep when they wake up. I have used the resources on and have called them for a consultation (on a different sleep issue). It's not cheap but it was virtual, efficient, helpful, and they also answered lots of follow up questions for no additional charge. See their blog on the 4 month sleep regression at:

    We were just finishing our sleep training with Anne Del Valle of weesleep and it's been great. She is in the bay area, but everything was done via video or phone.

  • Lactation consultant with virtual visits?

    (10 replies)

    Hi, I have a 3 month old and we're having some new breastfeeding challenges. I'm wondering if anybody has a recommendation for a lactation consultant that does virtual visits in the Berkeley/Oakland area? I'd like to avoid close contact if at all possible given the coronavirus precautions. Thank you!

    I have a 2 month old and was looking for one myself.  My pediatrician recommended Janaki Costello and saw that they are no longer doing house calls but are taking clients with some COVID19 precautions—spacing clients out and cleaning in between, etc. Not a virtual visit, but I was desperate.  

    Molly Sims at East Bay Lactation is amazing.


    I saw East Bay Lactation Consultants (Molly) who was helpful. I had an in-person visit in my home but that was 2 months ago.

    She recently sent an email that she is doing remote visits and in-person if there's a medical need, and often with breastfeeding there might be. Sometimes you do need to be seen in person and based on her email they are taking the necessary precautions. They also have an office you can still visit if needed (that doesn't have much if any foot traffic right now) and scales she can lend you at home if weight gain is an issue.

    Best of luck with breastfeeding!

  • Childbirth at Kaiser During Covid

    (3 replies)


    I am looking to connect with other pregnant women who are planning to deliver at Kaiser Oakland between April and July. I am due end of June. Hoping to support and educate others about our experiences during these changing times. I haven't found my OB to be very helpful as she is new to Kaiser and learning the system. I'm not interested in a paid support group but connecting with other woman face to face on video conference. Many thanks. 

    I’m not due until September but I’ve been concerned by the lack of information and support I’ve gotten from Kaiser about what my prenatal care will look like. I think it’s because they don’t know yet as things are evolving so quickly. I’m considering contracting a midwife and planning for home birth instead. 

    Hello Nina, 

    I'm also due end of June at Kaiser Oakland and starting to get a little nervous. I'm grateful that for now Kaiser is still allowing 1 support person in the room for labor and delivery - if that continues to be the case then I'm feeling fine about the whole situation. If that changes, I'm looking into doing home births instead. My OBGYN emailed me today and said: 

    "At this point, I haven't heard any wavering from leadership about the current visitor policy, which continues to allow 1 visitor/support person for L&D patients. If that changes at any point, you and I will likely hear about it at the same time. Note that your partner will be asked not to come & go, but to stay in your room throughout your hospital stay, which we will work to keep as brief as possible (home postpartum day 1 for healthy moms & babies, possible tools to start labor inductions at home; more on that if needed in your case)."

    Hi Nina,

    I'm delivering baby #2 in May at Kaiser, happy to answer any questions about the previous experience (was wonderful) and chat about the impending changes. I know the nurses are striking on Monday and I've got an appointment Tuesday, it is scary times to be sure!

    All the best,