Designated Support Person Access in Maternity


Last Updated: July 18, 2022

Giving birth during a pandemic can generate questions and concerns. We want you to know that Alberta Health Services (AHS) is committed to taking all necessary precautions for the safety and comfort of expectant individuals and their designated family/support persons. Health care settings are recognized as vulnerable environments where COVID-19 precautions remain in effect despite public health orders and mandates being lifted. Access restrictions and requirements are continuously under review and eased when it is considered safe to do so.

We strongly encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 immunization. Learn more about the importance of being immunized against COVID-19 during pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who can be with me for appointments, delivery and during my stay in hospital?

A: Your designated family/support person(s) may accompany you to obstetrical appointments, throughout triage, labour, delivery, postpartum stay and appointments.  As a precaution, we recommend not having more than one designated family/support person for ambulatory appoints and two designated family/support persons for labour/delivery and postpartum stay. Check with the service area before arrival to for the most current access requirements for designated family/support persons.

Q: Who can be my designated family/support person?

A: A designated family/support person is an individual identified by you as a needed support throughout your pregnancy and who you want involved in your health matters (for example, a spouse, partner, family member, close friend, or doula).

We strongly recommend all designated family/support persons to be fully immunized to protect everyone at our healthcare sites.

Q: What do designated family/support persons need to know?

A: Ensure that your designated family/support person brings everything you/they need for the duration of your stay. Ability to move about the unit and/or site may be limited. They should also check with the care team before leaving to ensure they can return to the patient care area.

If your designated family/support person is a doula, they are privately hired by you; however, they are expected to be fully immunized prior to entering AHS sites. See Doulas and Birth Support in AHS Facilities for more information.

Sites with outbreaks or on watch situations may have access limitations for designated family/support persons. For the most current access requirements, we encourage you to contact the site before arrival.

Designated family/support persons must:

  • be independent and willing to partner with the healthcare team to support you.
  • not be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or be COVID-19 positive.
  • be willing to mask at all times, practice hand hygiene and follow all precautions as directed by AHS staff.
  • physically distance from those not from their household

Q: What are the responsibilities of a designated family/support person?

A: First and foremost, the responsibility of a designated family/support person is to provide you with comfort and help you while also partnering with staff to deliver safe and high-quality care.

All designated support persons must review and be familiar with the Knowing Your, Risks, Role and Responsibilities brochure prior entering any healthcare site.

To ensure we continue to uphold the highest health and safety standards in all our sites, designated family/support persons must follow all direction provided by staff.

Failure to adhere to the direction of staff or to cooperate with staff will result in the designated family/support person being required to leave the site.

Q: What if I am symptomatic, a close contact, awaiting test results or screen positive for COVID-19?

A: All patients who are symptomatic, a close contact, awaiting test results or screen positive for COVID-19 should seek medical care and are welcome in all AHS sites. If this is your situation, please contact your physician and/or midwife and notify the site where you will be delivering so they can prepare to provide you with the most appropriate care.

Q: What if my designated family/support person is symptomatic, feeling unwell, awaiting test results or screens positive for COVID-19?

A: If your designated family/support person is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they are recommended to isolate and will not be able to accompany you into healthcare sites. We suggest making arrangements to have an alternate designated family/support person who is fully immunized accompany you instead. We also recommend contacting your physician and/or midwife and the delivering site to notify them of your circumstances.

Q: What happens if my baby is admitted to the NICU?

A: In the event of NICU admission, your healthcare providers will collaborate with you to determine the safest and most appropriate approach to your and your infant’s care including who best to have access to the NICU.p>