Frequently Asked Questions During COVID-19 Precautions

a mother and her child

More Questions?

Feel free to email Libby Smith, Director of Women’s Services at or call (805) 682-7111 and ask for the Birth Center or (805) 569-7258 and leave a message.

We are honored you have chosen to deliver your baby at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. We are committed to providing a safe and comfortable birth experience while protecting you, your baby, and your support person/partner if you choose to have one with you. We have prepared this information to help you know what to expect at the hospital as we observe precautions to prevent COVID-19 exposure.

Can COVID-19 be passed to my unborn baby or my newborn through breastmilk?

Not much is known yet about how COVID-19 affects a woman's fetus or her newborn. But in small case studies so far, babies born to mothers with COVID-19 have not tested positive for the virus at birth and the virus has not been detected in a sick mother's breastmilk.

What should I expect when arriving at the hospital lobby?

When you are coming to the hospital in labor (known or suspected) or for a scheduled procedure, you will enter the hospital through the main entrance. You (and partner if one is present) will be asked if you have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, and your temperature will be taken. You and your partner will be provided with a protective face mask to be worn your entire stay at the hospital, and escorted to the Birth Center. If you have any signs or symptoms, you will be taken to an isolation room and cared for appropriately. If your partner has any signs or symptoms, they will not be able to accompany you to the floor, but once on the unit you can call for another support person to be with you. This is done for your protection, the protection of your newborn, and the protection of our healthcare providers.

Who is allowed with me when I come to the hospital?

One support person of your choosing can enter the hospital with you, in compliance with current health officer orders on hospital visitors. That support person should be able to stay with you for your entire hospital stay. (We provide a sleeping area for the support person, and will provide meals during this time.) If your support person leaves for any reason, they will not be able to re-enter the hospital that day. If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or are positive, your partner must wear personal protective equipment including mask, gown, gloves and eye protection during labor. Your partner must then leave after delivery.

Will I be separated from my baby?

If you and your support person are well, and your baby is born without complications, you should anticipate having your baby with you continuously.

Will my nurses be wearing protective gear?

Staff will follow current hospital and CDC guidelines for personal protective equipment. All staff will be wearing masks, and during certain procedures like epidurals, providers will wear masks and eye protection. These precautions are taken to protect you, your family and our healthcare workers.

Will my partner be allowed to leave and come back?

We are asking your support person to stay with you throughout your hospital stay.

Does the hospital have supplies like diapers, wipes, and formula?

We will provide everything you need to care for your infant, and yourself, while you are here.

What happens if my baby needs to go to the NICU?

If your baby needs to go to the NICU, you can go to the NICU to visit. Our staff would assist with this. You would always wear a mask when visiting the NICU. Your support person would not be able to visit your baby in the NICU while you are in the hospital. Our NICU offers a service called NicView which allows parents to see their baby through a live-stream on camera, using a specific username and password that can be shared by the parent. Parents with babies in the NICU receive all the details on this.

Will I be able to breastfeed? And will there be lactation support for me?

We encourage all mothers who can breastfeed to do so, and we offer lactation support during your hospital stay.Once discharged, Welcome Every Baby (WEB), Women, Infants and Children -- County Nutrition Services (WIC), and our Cottage Health lactation team will all provide phone support. Our goal is to provide all the support and resources needed to help you achieve breastfeeding success.

Can I have visitors while in the hospital?

Your one support person is allowed to be with you throughout your hospital stay. Currently no other visitors are permitted, by order of the county health officer. We understand this is unusual, but it is necessary to protect our patients, our hospitals and the community. If needed, our care teams can offer options for using technology to stay connected with your loved ones outside the hospital and introduce your new family member virtually.

Can I ‘FaceTime’ with family during my hospital stay?

You are welcome to use FaceTime or other apps in your room during your hospital stay. Your personal mobile devices may be used only in your room, not in shared areas of the hospital. Please discontinue use if a hospital staff member enters your room. The same policy applies to photos in the hospital. You are welcome to take photos in your room, but you must have the permission of healthcare providers if you wish to include them in your photos.

What should I do if I’m feeling anxiety or depression?

First of all, know that you are not alone. Many of the parents we are talking to are feeling anxious during this challenging time. However, if you are feeling anxiety or depression to a point that it is overwhelming you and interfering with your functioning, please speak with your doctor. There are ways to get help from home without an in-person visit. Almost all counselors have the ability to see patients virtually using telemedicine. Postpartum Support International offers online support groups and a provider directory for certified perinatal counselors. This organization is evidenced-based and our Perinatal Social Worker recommends it as a resource. Visit for more information. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call 911. Our Social Workers at the hospital will be available to provide counseling and support during your hospitalization. We are here to help.

We Are Here to Help

We understand this is not the birth experience that you planned, but we are here to assist you every step of the way. We are committed to providing the care and support you need to make this a happy and memorable experience. We suggest starting a journal now to share with your baby in the future, and to remember the experience of having a baby during this time.

Please reach out with any additional questions you may have. Feel free to email Libby Smith, Director of Women’s Services at or call (805) 682-7111 and ask for the Birth Center or (805) 569-7258 and leave a message. Your call will be returned within one business day. We are here for you!

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