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Some hospitals limiting or banning visitors in delivery rooms during birth

Many hospitals are taking steps to limit and screen visitors during the coronavirus pandemic.

SAN DIEGO — The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing hospitals worldwide to change their policies when it comes to giving birth, and San Diego hospitals are no different.

Instead of allowing multiple people inside the delivery room, many hospitals are only allowing one person, or none at all. The new policies are causing some expecting mothers to stress out.

One of those soon to be mothers is Raquel Norris, who is 37 weeks pregnant with her fourth child.

"[It's] quite an emotional roller coaster for any mom at this time," said Norris.

News 8 spoke with her via Facetime as she and her husband were driving to Kaiser Permanante in Kearny Mesa where she's scheduled to give birth.

"As of today, I've been told that one person can go in with me. My one support person," said Norris. "That person will be screened at the door, at the entrance at the hospital."

If that person doesn't pass the screening, she'll be alone.

Hospitals throughout San Diego have similar policies in place. In New York, where coronavirus cases have soared to more than 75,000 statewide, some hospitals prohibited anyone from being in the delivery room. While that rule has since been reversed to allow one person, the changing policies are a concern.

"It's going to get worse before it gets better, so we have to create a safeguard for our pregnant mamas," said Dr. Nevin Ramona, a La Jolla-based prenatal and pediatric chiropractor.

She's backing a petition on Change.org, asking that no matter what happens with COVID-19, women will be allowed at least one person in the delivery room, preferably two.

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"Labor can be a very long process and some of the hospitals already here in California are not allowing the doula or the partner to switch," said Dr. Ramona. "It's just one or the other, so we would like to create that safety net for the mom."

As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had close to 1,500 signatures, and another petitions had hundreds of thousands of signatures. 

Norris hopes she'll have at least one person by her side, knowing just how crucial that support can be.

"It's such an emotional time, and it's such an important time for parents to bond right away with the baby," said Norris.

These restrictions are in place to protect the mom, baby, as well as hospital staff.

However, the people News 8 spoke with said they're confident that can still be done with one, or even two people in the room.

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