PA - Please Help Mothers From Having To Birth Alone During COVID-19!

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MARCH 31, 2020 UPDATE:

I want to send my personal and sincere thanks to Wayne Memorial Hospital for their quick action and reversal of their ban of support partners during labor and delivery! The purpose of this petition was never meant to focus on Wayne Memorial or any particular hospital, but to make a call to action to Gov. Wolf to draft and issue an order to prevent situations like this from happening statewide. Being proactive in a time of crisis is critical, and we ask for your continued support until an order much like Gov. Cuomo's is issued to ensure no hospital is left with the burden of having to assess and make this decision on their own. Once an order is issued, women throughout Pennsylvania will be comforted by the fact that in a time of great uncertainty, they now have assurance that their partner will be by their side throughout their labor and delivery to support them. I thank all 10,000+ supporters and each and every state representative that has reached out in support of this petition, and hope in the coming days action is taken on this very important matter!

MARCH 29, 2020:

Currently in Pennsylvania, hospital systems are able to determine their own unique response plans to the COVID-19 outbreak across many practice areas. Under their response plans, many of these hospital systems currently allow women to have one partner in the labor and delivery room, a fair compromise given the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 throughout the state and nation.

On March 28, 2020, Wayne Memorial Hospital became the first in PA to ban ANY AND ALL support persons during labor, delivery, and postpartum due to the “changing COVID-19 environment.”  This means that mothers will be alone in the delivery room during the birthing process, alone to care for their new child after birth while trying to heal, and alone during the entire length of their hospital stay with no support system. This measure was taken by Wayne Memorial Hospital despite NY Gov. Cuomo ORDERING all NY hospitals, both public and private, to allow women to have a partner in the labor and delivery room on the same exact date.

The decision made by Gov. Cuomo was based on the same information Wayne Memorial Hospital disclosed in their announcement on March 28, as per the CDC "no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus." Further, "in these cases, which are a small number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk."

Gov. Cuomo made his decision in part due to a Change.org petition that garnered over 600,000 signatures stating the following:

“Fundamentally, risks for the people laboring alone will increase substantially. Not only can partners and spouses provide physical and emotional comfort during labor and postpartum, they are also essential in alerting staff when something has gone wrong and the laboring patient cannot notify nurses themselves, like in the event of an eclamptic seizure or a fainting episode. Timing is critical in these cases and monitors can be unreliable.
 
We cannot expect nursing staff, already spread thin, to spend the limitless hours needed with each patient to ensure their health and their baby's health, to provide physical assistance and emotional support.
 
We know the hospital system is overwhelmed in this crisis. However, the burden will
only be increased by banning support people from Labor & Delivery. We must ensure no one gives birth alone. We must ensure the maternal mortality rate does not increase during this time.”
 
Childbirth can be a very stressful and trying time for all mothers, and without government intervention, there will be no emotional or physical support for them, or someone there to act as an advocate when they are not able to speak for themselves. The stress and anxiety that mothers face leading up to, during, and after childbirth will only be exacerbated if they are alone and may lead to further complications.  In addition, many mothers-to-be may begin to consider changing doctors or at-home births late in their pregnancy, increasing the potential for complications as well.

While we are all living in a time of crisis, this measure is NOT NECESSARY and can end up doing more harm than good.  Time is of the essence and we need action NOW! 

Please consider signing this petition, a plea for help for all mothers-to-be, to ask our Pennsylvania governmental leaders to stop hospitals from forcing mothers to birth with no support partner! NO mother wants to labor alone and let’s try and stop that from happening! The people of NY did it, and so can we!