What the health: pregnancy and childbirth in the time of coronavirus

19 May 2020

What you need to know about pregnancy and childbirth in the time of coronavirus.

pregnant womanSince the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing many things have changed about how we live day to day. Individuals are staying home as much as they are able and leaving the house only for essential services and work to protect the health of the community. If you are having a baby what does this mean?

Despite these changes the provision of high-quality healthcare for mothers and babies remains a priority for health services. However, how healthcare is provided may look different at this time. Regardless, we know that pregnancy and birth is safest when care is provided by trained health care professionals.

During your pregnancy, instead of coming to hospital for your regular appointments you may find that some of your care is provided either in the community, by phone or by video conferencing. Your maternity care team at your planned birth hospital will advise you on what this means for you.

Remember to always seek medical care if you are concerned. In the first case this may mean a phone call to your healthcare provider. Should you need to come into hospital be sure to phone ahead and talk with staff, this can help reduce waiting times in busy areas.

It is safe to come to hospital?

Within hospitals and healthcare services infection control is always an essential part in providing high quality care.  Now with the coronavirus pandemic even more information about social distancing, the importance of frequent hand washing and increased availability of hand hygiene stations are noticeable.

When you are giving birth the hospital may limit the number of support people you can have with you. Again your hospital will have information about this for you.

At the moment many hospitals are permitting one support person to visit after your baby is born.  Remember once you are discharged from hospital social distancing remains so keep family and friends updated with social media.

All strategies are aimed to reduce the chance of you, your baby and family as well as healthcare staff getting coronarvirus. In Australia, our health services have had time to plan and prepare to keep mothers and babies and their families safe.

To support mothers and families at this time there are a number of resources that are available, some are listed below. As we continue to learn more about coronavirus, these resources and advice may be updated - so check these regularly:

Catherine KilgourAuthor: Dr Catherine Kilgour is an academic, midwife, registered nurse and neonatal nurse. Along with her continued clinical work, she has contributed to project, policy and advisory roles in Queensland Health. Dr Kilgour is a lecturer and researcher in UQ’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work.