Pregnancy, labor and delivery can be an anxious time for moms during normal circumstances, and the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has added to that concern. Lakeland Mom is here to provide some reassurance to all of our pregnant moms about what to expect at Lakeland Regional Health if you are expecting right now.

We did a virtual chat with Lori Shea, Associate Vice President of Women’s and Children’s Services at Lakeland Regional Health. LRH is a Lakeland Mom Sponsor and we are proud to partner with them to help keep our community informed about available health care services.

Our takeaway is that expecting moms who deliver while we are facing COVID-19 will find all of the same provisions in place for a joyous and memorable birth experience:

  • A team of highly trained OB/GYN physicians, advanced practitioners, nurse midwives, nurses, and lactation specialists
  • Advanced technology
  • A spacious labor and delivery suite with birthing tools available
  • A private mother-baby room where you can rest and recover
  • A compassionate care team

Plus additional safety precautions in place to keep all Lakeland Regional Health patients healthy during this time.

You can watch the video below, or keep reading for a summary of the Q&A from our conversation.

Keep in mind that all information provided in the video and article is current as of publishing on April 22. Links are provided below to check for updates from LRH.

Video Chat on Labor & Delivery at LRH

Q&A about Childbirth at Lakeland Regional Health

What can pregnant moms expect when they arrive at LRH? Where do they enter the building? What is the first step if arriving for Labor & Delivery?

Those driving should park in the D-E Parking Garage connected to the Pavilion. Staff just inside the Women’s Pavilion will direct visitors to the Labor & Delivery floor. Visit the LRH Website for tips on what to bring to the hospital and additional pregnancy & childbirth information.

What safety precautions can moms expect when coming in for delivery?

All visitors to Lakeland Regional, including pregnant moms and their companion, will have their temperature taken upon entering the building, will be provided a mask, and will be screened for potential COVID-19 symptoms.

Keep in mind that the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children is a completely separate building from the emergency department and the isolated COVID-19 floor. Lakeland Regional Health has taken many proactive steps to isolate patients showing coronavirus symptoms from all other visitors to the LRH Medical Center Campus.

What is the current Visitation Policy for Labor & Delivery, Mother-Baby, and the NICU?

Obstetric patients going to the hospital may have one support person and one doula accompany them. The partner/support person may leave the hospital if necessary and will undergo the temperature check and screening questions each time they re-enter the building. Beds are provided in all Mother-Baby rooms and the partner can choose to stay overnight with the mother and new baby.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) allows both parents to accompany their child during their stay.

Children 16 years and younger are not allowed to visit LRH at this time unless they are the patient.

This visitation policy is specific to obstetric patients. LRH has different policies for other areas of the medical campus. Check their Visitor Policy page for more information and future updates.

Can outside food be brought into the building or delivered?

To ensure the safety of patients, food cannot be brought in from outside at this time. This includes both home-cooked and store-bought food. LRH offers two cafes: Women in Philanthropy Cafe and Parkview Cafe. Food from those cafes can be brought back to the room for patients and your support person.

Editor’s Note – the Women in Philanthropy Cafe is conveniently located on Level 1 of the Women’s Pavilion. Speaking from experience, the food is delicious and very reasonably priced.

How can moms connect with family and friends to celebrate and share after childbirth?

Staff will do their best to help moms connect with family and friends. If a patient is accepting phone calls, family can call 863.687.1100 to reach the patient’s room. Patients at the Medical Center can still receive flowers and cards.

During the coronavirus pandemic, what precautions should a woman take if she is pregnant?

The same precautions that are recommended to the general public. The most important is hand hygiene – wash your hands, do not touch your face. Practice social distancing.

What should a pregnant mom do if she feels she has been exposed or is showing COVID-19 symptoms?

The first step is to contact your care provider (OB/GYN or Midwife) for further instructions. If your symptoms require emergency care, call 863.687.1100 and come to the emergency department.

What advice do you have for women who are currently pregnant and anxious about COVID-19? 

Rest assured that Lakeland Regional Health’s number one priority is keeping visitors healthy. If you have concerns in advance of your delivery, talk with your prenatal care provider for reassurance. If you have concerns once you arrive at Lakeland Regional for labor and delivery, talk with your clinical care team. Remember that they are taking care of pregnant moms daily and can reassure you during this time!

What if parents of newborns need to visit the emergency department for follow up care?

Utilize your pediatrician for guidance. If you are coming to the Children’s Emergency Department, Lakeland Regional Health has a call-ahead service that will assess your child’s needs in advance to provide expedited care upon arrival.  Call 863.687.1414 for additional guidance.

Where can people get additional updates? 

Additional information can be found on the LRH website and social media.

Website – myLRH.org

Lakeland Regional Health Facebook Page

Childbirth, Breastfeeding and Newborn classes are currently paused, but if you have specific questions about any of these topics, please send an email to info@myLRH.org.

Links to relevant information at Lakeland Regional Health:

COVID-19 Resources

Tour the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children

Although the Pavilion is not currently open for tours, you can go on a “virtual tour” with our article from the Pavilion Grand Opening, and also learn more about Labor & Delivery at Lakeland Regional Health. See below for additional relevant articles.