NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New rules are in place to provide more support to expectant mothers during childbirth.

The change came as hospitals tightened restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak, reports CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

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Ashia McChriston is just two months away from being a first-time mom and is preparing for the big day.

“Before the pandemic started, I planned to have my mom and my boyfriend there and a doula,” said McChriston. “I know they changed the rules and said only one person could be there so it made me very nervous.”

A new executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo now allows that one person to be with the expectant mother during the duration of her stay at a facility.

It mandates coronavirus testing of all pregnant women and expands locations outside of hospitals and birthing centers where they can have the baby.

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Ngozi Moses is the executive director of the Brooklyn Perinatal Network and served on the taskforce that provided the recommendations “to increase options for women to have birthing sites in hospital and out of hospital, both with higher quality care than they have previously had been afforded.”

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The changes also impact doulas, like Efe Osaren, who lost clients and income after the hospital’s restrictions, but under the order are now considered essential employees.

“My concern is that I’m not going to have clients demand that I attend their hospital birth because Cuomo says it’s okay when I don’t have the protective equipment to be present,” said Osaren. “Even if I did, do I have health insurance that’s going to protect me?”

Ashia’s doula Tia Dowling echoes those concerns.

“If she was giving birth today, I probably would not be able to support her,” said Dowling.

They hope coronavirus conditions will improve by June and it will be safer for Dowling to join her.

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“It made me feel a lot more comfortable giving birth during the pandemic,” said McChriston, who cannot wait to meet her little girl.