NY Governor Says Partners Can Absolutely Be Present During Childbirth

by Madison Vanderberg
John Lamparski/Getty Images

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issues executive order ensuring women can have birthing partners in the delivery room

Earlier this week, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Mt. Sinai health care system made the controversial decision to ban birthing partners from delivery rooms in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus. Now, the governor of New York has issued an executive order, ensuring that pregnant individuals are allowed a birthing partner in the delivery room and that all hospitals must comply with the mandate.

New York-Presbyterian originally announced the shocking policy change on their website on March 23, stating that “no visitors including birthing partners and support persons are permitted for obstetric patients,” and called it a “necessary step to promote the safety of our new mothers and children.”

A number of petitions were created immediately after the announcement, and celebs like Ashley Graham took to social media, imploring their followers to sign petitions in the hopes of reversing this decision. The outcry worked and got the attention of Gov. Andrew Cuomo who made it impossible for any hospital in New York state to enforce such a draconian law.

“In no hospital in New York will a woman be forced to be alone when she gives birth,” Cuomo tweeted on Saturday, March 28, 2020, after issuing the executive order. “Not now, not ever.”

Issued with the State Department of Health, the executive order requires hospitals to allow women one support person and that person can be their spouse, doula, parent, midwife, or “another person they choose,” but the partner must stay in the room and cannot swap places with a secondary support person. The birthing partner will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 — including an interview about their potential exposure to anyone who did test positive for COVID-19 — and given a temperature check every twelve hours.

“We updated that guidance to make that a directive,” Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, said in a statement (via Romper). “Women do not have to be alone while they are giving birth and we’re going to reinforce that in an executive order.”

So far all the hospitals have stated that they will comply with the governor’s orders effective immediately.

“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,” Renatt Brodsky, a spokeswoman for Mt. Sinai, said in a statement (via The New York Times).

We’re thrilled with the news, and not just that, but comforted by the knowledge that calling your reps, speaking out, and signing petitions can actually effect change.

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.