NEW YORK: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is planning an executive order requiring hospitals to allow women in labour to have a support person after a few large New York City-area hospital systems instituted policies prohibiting visitors during childbirth.
More than 600,000 people signed a petition asking the governor and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to take action after New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center and Mount Sinai enacted policies aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Mount Sinai will now permit one healthy partner to join an expectant mother, it said in an emailed statement.
“We have always – and will always – make these difficult decisions with the best of intentions and safety of the mother, baby and our staff as our guiding principle.”
New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center will comply with the executive order immediately.
“Our highest priority continues to be the safety and wellbeing of our patients, their families, and our staff,” the hospital said in a statement.
Advocates worried that the guidelines would increase risks for women and their babies.
Outcomes improve with emotional support, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Some pregnant New Yorkers already planned for home births or left to deliver in another city.
Earlier in the month, the New York Department of Health issued guidance advising hospitals to allow at least one other person in the delivery room.
“Some of the hospitals were ignoring that,” Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said in a briefing on Saturday.
“Yesterday we updated that guidance to make that a directive so women do not have to be alone while they are giving birth and we’re going to reinforce that in an Executive Order.”
On Tuesday, Lauren Pelz gave birth alone at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“I won’t sugarcoat this,” she wrote in an email.
“It was a sad and lonely experience and both my husband and I were very emotional.”