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Women & Babies Program - COVID-19 information

Here you can find information about COVID-19 that is specific to Women & Babies patients. For all general information about COVID-19 from Sunnybrook, please visit sunnybrook.ca/COVID19

This is a rapidly evolving situation, and updates to this information might occur daily. Please check back often.

- Last updated July 15, 2021

PLEASE NOTE: Children and infants are not permitted in any area of the program at this time. This includes outpatient areas (prenatal appointments, ultrasound and postpartum appointments) and all inpatient units.

Important note regarding visitors for our in-patients

» For the Birthing Unit and Maternal Newborn Unit

Birthing Unit: TWO support people are permitted for labouring patients who are asymptomatic and have tested negative for COVID-19, with a doula included as one of the support persons. At all times, support people must:

  • NOT be symptomatic or COVID-19 positive
  • Remain in the patient’s room
  • Wear a mask

The second support person:

  • May be asked to leave the Birthing Unit room for certain procedures
  • Cannot stay if the patient requires a Caesarean section
  • May stay up to two hours following the delivery. The second support person is not permitted to accompany the patient to the Maternal Newborn Unit

Sunnybrook is now testing ALL patients who are admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. To keep everyone safe, patients who refuse a test will be managed as if they have tested positive for COVID-19.

For birthing patients, refusing a test means the patient will not be able to have support people during labour and delivery and during their postpartum stay in the hospital. Pregnant patients who have booked procedures will receive a call to come to the hospital for a COVID-19 test three days before their admission date.

A patient in labour who has tested negative for COVID-19 and has no symptoms of COVID-19 may have two support people who will be allowed to accompany and stay with the birthing patient as long as the following criteria are met:

  • The support people screens negative for symptoms of COVID-19
  • Sunnybrook has sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for the support people
  • The ability to ensure adequate spacing in the care environment to ensure support people can be appropriately physically distanced from other patients and support people
  • The support people remain compliant with physical distancing and infection control instructions including proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

If a birthing patient has symptoms upon arrival, the patient will be placed on droplet contact precautions (staff caring for the patient will wear a mask, face shield, gown and gloves) while awaiting the result of the COVID-19 test. One of the patient’s support people may stay with the patient until the results are received.

If a birthing patient has no symptoms when admitted, but then develops symptoms, the patient will be placed on droplet contact precautions, as described above. One of the patient’s support people may stay at the hospital until results of COVID swab are known.

Prior to labour/admission to hospital

We highly recommend that pregnant women and their identified support persons continue to follow recommended public health guidelines, including receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, practicing safe physical distancing and wearing a mask, to decrease the risk of acquiring COVID-19. We recommend that this is adhered to no later than 37 weeks gestation, or earlier if it is anticipated that you might have an early delivery (for example, a planned Caesarian section or planned induction).

» For the High Risk Obstetrics Unit

Sunnybrook is now testing ALL patients who are admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. To keep everyone safe, patients who refuse a test will be managed as if they have tested positive for COVID-19. For patients in the High Risk Obstetrics Unit, refusing a test means patients will not be able to have any visitors during their stay.

If a patient receives a COVID-19 test upon admission, and tests negative, the patient may have two designated visitors daily for a three-hour window scheduled by the unit between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

  • Please note: Patients in shared rooms (semi or ward rooms), may not have visitors at the same time, so advance booking is required. Visitors may book an appointment time in advance with the Patient Administrative Associate (PAA) at 416-480-6100, ext. 5625. Visits will be booked on a first come, first served basis.
  • Patients and designated visitors will have access to family spaces for water and ice, and to use the fridge and microwave, as long as the patient or visitor is not under investigation for COVID-19. Family spaces will not be available as meeting or lounging spaces for patients or designated visitors.
  • Children and infants are not able to visit at this time.
  • Visitors will be screened at the M-1 entrance and wear a mask for their entire time in the hospital and stay in the patient room for the entire visit.
  • We encourage visitors to bring in belongings, personal or comfort care items for patients.

» For families with a baby in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

  • Two parents may be with their baby in the hospital at any time.
  • If a parent or anyone in their family has symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home and call the unit at 416-480-6055 to let staff know.
  • Parents will continue to wear masks and be screened multiple times a day.
  • At this time, we cannot welcome siblings, other family members and friends into the hospital. We are also limiting the number of parents in the Family Lounge to four at any time.
  • The unit has social workers and parent mentors available for additional support. Karen Bong, Ophelia Kwakye and Kate Robson are available to meet with parents in person, by phone or video conference.
  • Please note: If COVID-19 activity escalates we may need to return to previous policies restricting parental visits.

COVID-19 testing for in-patients

Sunnybrook is now testing all patients for COVID-19 who are admitted to the hospital. To keep everyone safe, patients who decline a test may be managed as if they have tested positive for COVID-19 if they have symptoms or require surgery or a procedure.

Birthing patients

For birthing patients, declining a test means the patient will not be able to have support persons with them during labour and delivery and during their postpartum stay in the hospital. Pregnant patients who have booked procedures will receive a call to come to the hospital for a COVID-19 test three days before their admission date.

If a birthing patient has symptoms upon arrival, the patient will be placed on droplet contact precautions (staff caring for the patient will wear a mask, face shield, gown and gloves) while awaiting the result of the COVID-19 test. One of the patient’s support persons may stay with the patient until the COVID-19 test result is available. If the result is positive, the support person will need to leave the hospital. While the birthing patient is under investigation, the support person will not be able to leave the birthing unit room for any reason.

If a birthing patient has no symptoms when admitted, but then develops symptoms, the patient will be placed on droplet contact precautions, as described above. One of the patient’s support persons may stay at the hospital until results of COVID swab are known.

Patients in the High Risk Obstetrics Units

For patients in the High Risk Obstetrics Unit, declining a test means the patient will not be able to have any visitors during their stay.

Information about visitors/companions for our outpatients (patients attending prenatal appointments, ultrasounds, and postpartum appointments)

At this time, there should be no accompanying support people unless they are pre-approved for extenuating circumstances.

Please note: If at any time Sunnybrook or the community experience a surge in COVID-19 infections, this policy may change and new protocols will be implemented.

Birthing unit information

Information for pregnant patients and their support persons

All patients and support persons are required to wear masks in the presence of any health care provider or when they are outside their room.

Once you are admitted to hospital, we ask that you and your support person(s) stay in the labour room, with the exception of accessing our family space for water and ice, as well as fridge and microwave use. Our family space may only be used as long as the patient (or their partner) is not under investigation for COVID. Family spaces will not be available as meeting or lounging spaces for patients or support people at this time.

We still recommend that you bring food/drinks/snacks and other items that the support person will need for your entire stay. The hospital will not be able to provide food for support persons. A small refrigerator is available in each room.

Movement through and between care environments by the support person should be minimized and will only occur following the direction of a member of the health-care team.

'In and out' privileges are not allowed; If the support person leaves, they will not be permitted back into the hospital. Support persons are asked to limit the amount of time they are out of the patient room and to follow directions provided by their caregivers.

A support person who develops signs or symptoms of possible infection at any time during the stay will need to leave immediately and must go to a COVID-19 Assessment Centre to be tested. If a patient becomes a person under investigation (PUI) following admission due to fever in labour, the support person will be allowed to stay, but must remain in the patient’s room at all times.

If at any time it is deemed unsafe with respect to the ability to maintain appropriate physical distancing in our care environments (for example, due to an increase in admissions) then the health-care team will work together to determine appropriate actions, which may include asking support persons to leave.

We will continue to encourage early discharge for mothers and babies as long as our discharge criteria are met.

Please note: If at any time Sunnybrook or the community experience a surge in COVID-19 infections, this policy may change and new protocols will be implemented.

Information about masks for patients and support persons 

For the protection of the health-care team, you will be provided with a mask to be worn while in hospital. This mask should be worn when you are in contact with the health-care team, when you are transferred from one area to another, and when you are leaving the unit (for example, to go home or for a test in another area). In addition, if you are in a room with another family, you will need to wear your mask at all times.

Information about appointments

Is my prenatal check-up cancelled?

The DAN Women & Babies Program is open for appointments, including prenatal visits and ultrasound appointments. As we work to protect our patients and staff from COVID-19, we are trying to limit the number of people at the hospital. It is possible your obstetrician’s office might call you to reschedule your appointment or set up a phone or virtual appointment. At this time, there are no visitors permitted. Labouring patients may have one support person in the Birthing Unit.

What are you doing to protect pregnant patients?

We are taking all precautions, including limiting the number of people on site. Our Infection Prevention & Control team is diligent in ensuring the best practices are maintained to protect our patients and staff. This includes cleaning surfaces often, limiting visitors and using the proper personal protective equipment when needed. We are also encouraging our physicians to consider virtual appointments so that you can access care from home, if possible. When that is not possible, we ensure all protocols are followed to protect you while you are on site.

How do I get in for my appointment?

We will be screening all patients for symptoms at the M1 entrance.

All other nearby entrance doors will be closed to patients.

Our door screeners will provide patients with additional instructions for precautions in order to proceed with urgent appointments.

We have an appointment at the neonatal follow up clinic and are really keen to see the team. Is it cancelled?

The clinic will contact you if your appointment is cancelled. While Sunnybrook is safe and remains open to our patients, we are taking some precautionary steps during the COVID-19 pandemic to help limit the number of people in the hospital during this time. This includes the cancellation of any non-urgent visits to the hospital. Your follow-up appointment might be postponed, or clinic staff may reach out to you to set up a telephone or virtual appointment, if possible.

I am supposed to visit the breastfeeding clinic? What do I do?

While Sunnybrook is safe and remains open to our patients, we are taking some precautionary steps during the COVID-19 pandemic to help limit the number of people in the hospital during this time. For this reason, all outpatient breastfeeding clinic appointments will be conducted by phone or through a virtual visit.

I can’t get through on the phone. What do I do?

We are experiencing a high volume of phone calls. We understand that this is frustrating at this uncertain time. Thank you for your patience as our staff work to answer questions and re-book appointments.

I don’t feel well. Is it COVID-19? What do I do?

If you have difficulty breathing or other severe symptoms and need immediate medical help, please call 9-1-1.

If you feel slightly unwell, please call your physician’s office for further instructions.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Looking for information about the COVID-19 vaccine? View resources from Sunnybrook:

Having a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic: Tips, information and resources

If you’re pregnant, you likely have questions about how COVID-19 will impact your pregnancy and unborn baby. You may also be wondering what life will be like after you have your baby. Sunnybrook experts address some of these questions in a FAQ.

» Learn more

How can I send a gift to a loved one?

The Sunnybrook Gift Shop offers free delivery to patients at our Bayview Campus. Order your chosen gift online and let your loved one know you are thinking of them.


View all information about COVID-19