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DENVER (KDVR) — COVID-19 fears are causing an increase in home birth inquiries, according to a local midwife.

Gina Gerboth co-owns and operates Metro Midwifery. She says the number of weekly calls they receive has more than doubled amid the COVID-19 crisis as more women are considering home birth options for a number of reasons.

“One is that people don’t want to go into the hospital when there’s an infectious disease present. The second is that in many places, there are restrictions on who can come with you to the birth,” said Gerboth.

Gerboth says they received a call from a woman who wanted to switch to a home birth just a week before her baby was born.

“It is a possibility that’s just the timeline of the way things could happen, but of course, the more time for preparation, the better,” said Gerboth.

Gerboth says home birth is not a viable option for many women. Dr. Jason Kelly, Chief Medical Officer at Sky Ridge Medical Center says hospitals are still safe places for mothers and their newborns.

“When you come into the hospital, you get screened, everybody is wearing a mask. I actually think the hospital is one of the safest places to be. It’s certainly safer than being at the grocery store or other places that you would be out and about,” said Kelly.

Kelly says at Sky Ridge, they test pregnant women for COVID-19 if they are symptomatic. He says rapid testing allows them to get results within 15 minutes. In some circumstances, he says pregnant women may be tested days before delivery.

“if it’s a situation where we know when the delivery time is going to be and the mom is symptomatic, then we would just do the testing as an outpatient,” said Kelly.

Other hospitals like UCHealth are now testing all pregnant women who come in to be admitted for labor. 

Gerboth says she expects the number of home birth inquiries will continue to increase, but says fear should not be the driving factor behind the decision.

“We really want people to feel comfortable,” said Gerboth.