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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 August 20, 2020 

Important note regarding visitors for our in-patients

» For the Birthing Unit and Maternal Newborn Unit

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

  • The support person screens negative for symptoms of COVID-19
  • Sunnybrook has sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for the support person
  • 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 person remains compliant with physical distancing and infection control instructions including proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

Prior to labour/admission to hospital

We highly recommend that pregnant women and their identified support person continue to practise home isolation, safe physical distancing and other infection control measures to decrease the risk of acquiring COVID-19. This includes hand hygiene and mask use prior to labour and birth. 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

Patients may designate two visitors who may visit them while they are in hospital (these visitors must be identified with your care team before visits can be scheduled). Each day, one designated visitor may visit during the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (from Monday to Friday) and between 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). Weekday visits are limited to one hour and weekend visits will be extended to two hours.

  • 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
  • Children 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

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

At this time, those patients who require the support of an essential care partner may have a pre-approved essential care partner accompany them to the hospital for their appointments. Learn more about essential care partners, the criteria & approval process, and more »

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 women and their support partners

Once you are admitted to hospital, you and your support person will be required to stay in the labour room. We recommend that you bring all 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 the partner. 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; the support person must remain in the patient room at all times. If the support person leaves, they will not be permitted back into the hospital. If the support person does not remain in the room as directed, they will be asked to leave and not return until the patient is discharged.

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 women may have one support person in the Birthing Unit.

What are you doing to protect pregnant women?

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.

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


View all information about COVID-19