Doctors of honor can use the title

"The infected mother can see the newborn on video"

The delivery rooms are well prepared for births in times of Corona, says Stephanie von Orelli, chief physician at the gynecological clinic at the Triemli Hospital in Zurich, reassures expectant mothers.

How at risk are pregnant women from the coronavirus?

You're usually more prone to getting viral diseases like the flu. Amazingly, this is apparently not the case with Covid-19, as far as we can see so far.

And how dangerous is it for the baby?

We still don't know much, but assume that the course will be milder if newborns fall ill. There are the first infected pregnant women in Switzerland.

Have you already had a childbirth from an infected woman?

We had a woman who showed all of the symptoms. We treated her like a Covid 19 patient because we did not have the test result when we were born. Ultimately, it was negative. The problem is that pregnant women come to us with typical symptoms for childbirth and this will long be over by the time we get the test result. So we need to treat these laboring women as if they were positive.

How is your clinic for corona patients set up?

We are well prepared, we have all protective measures in place. It is important that the delivery rooms have a lock so that doctors and nurses can change. In addition, we have set up the rooms in such a way that we can also do a Caesarean section there if necessary.

"Midwives have to protect themselves particularly, because they come very close to women when they cry and cough during childbirth."

How should one imagine the birth of an infected woman?

The doctors and midwives wear long protective coats, gloves, protective goggles and very good protective masks. Midwives have to protect themselves particularly, because they come very close to women when they scream and cough during childbirth.

It must be scary to give birth in such a sterile environment with personnel in protective suits.

It is certainly not the way one would like a birth, but it is an exceptional situation. Everyone understands that you have to protect your staff well. But it is important to understand that there are people in these protective suits. One can empathize with the giving birth in such extraordinary protective clothing and give them security.

Will there be mainly caesarean sections?

No not at all. We have different scenarios. A woman who is healthy but tested positive can give birth normally. If there are problems, you could switch to a caesarean section in the isolation room.

What happens to the children after they are born? In China, mothers who test positive are separated from their children for two weeks, and the Swiss Society for Gynecology recommends two meters between mother and child. How realistic is that?

In principle, it would be optimal if the child were breastfed. Then the two meters distance cannot be kept. The experts still don't really agree on what is the right way to go. We'll talk to the woman about it. The mother needs to know that there is a risk of infection if the baby is not separated from her and she is breastfeeding. If she wants that, she has to wear a mask when breastfeeding, and then the child is brought back to a person of trust as close as possible to two meters away.

“There are cases where women choose the absolutely safest route. The baby is then separated from the mother for 14 days. "

Does that mean that the child will always be separated from the mother - except when breastfeeding?

Yes, it is necessary so that the child does not get sick. Another possibility would be for the woman to express the milk so that it does not come into contact with the child. But there are also cases where women choose the absolutely safest route. The baby is then separated from the mother for 14 days. In this case, the child goes to the neonatology department and the mother can at least see it on video.

That is hard. So the mother has no physical contact with the child?

This is not a desirable situation, so at least we set up video transmission.

What does that mean for the child when it is separated from the mother in the first few days?

The question is: which is worse? If the child is infected with a virus at an early age or if it is difficult to establish a relationship with the mother at the beginning? It is very difficult to estimate at the moment. Fortunately, the illness usually only lasts two weeks.

"With immediate effect, fathers will be excluded from childbed."

Can the fathers go to the clinic?

You can safely come to the clinic for the birth, but you will be excluded from the puerperium with immediate effect. We are taking this necessary step, as many other clinics do. This also applies to partners of women who are not infected.


It's about the safety of those who have recently given birth, babies and caregivers on these wards. We underestimated that many fathers no longer have a job or are in the home office. You have all day to be in the clinic. So there is a meeting of fathers here in the maternity ward. This is dangerous.

How do you experience the general mood of the pregnant woman?

There are women who suppress the problem. They assume that it is nothing more than a slightly worse flu that is mild in boys. And then there are others who are very concerned.

What are the worries?

These women are worried about whether they can breastfeed and how the birth will go. In addition, it is not just about the fathers who are not allowed to visit them. Even friends, family, the god or the goddess - none of them are allowed to come over to visit the child. It's tough for many. But there are others too: I hear that individual women enjoy it too. A woman who gave birth to her third child told us it was wonderful, no rush of friends and family wanting to come over. Everything is so nice and quiet on the ward and the contact with the child is very intense and undisturbed. So it all has advantages and disadvantages.

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