COVID-19: Information for women accessing Maternity Services

Your health, your family and our staff are our priorities during this COVID-19 pandemic period.

We have put in place a number of measures to keep our community safe while continuing to provide you with quality care at this time.

Before coming to hospital to access any pregnancy-related services please call ahead before EVERY visit on the usual hospital or midwifery contacts details you’ve been given.

 

Routine Screening

There are new COVID-19 screening measures in place for everyone entering our hospitals.

The screening is based on targeted questions and ideally should be done prior to arrival at the hospital or before being allocated a bed/room, before every home or planned clinic visit.

Every person will be asked by a member of staff:

  • If they have been overseas in the last 14 days;
  • If they have fever or acute respiratory symptoms;
  • If they have come into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

If your support person is symptomatic they will be given a mask to wear and encouraged to present to the Emergency Department or their GP for further assessment and potential testing.

Visiting Restrictions in Place

To help us protect you, our patients and our staff, there will be no visitors allowed to any of our maternity units during the pandemic period.

Women will be able to bring two people with them for support during their labour and birth. From 31 October, siblings are now allowed to visit, on the condition they are currently well.

For exceptional circumstances we encourage families to discuss their individual needs with staff. We know these restrictions can be challenging so we ask for your understanding during this time.

Changes to Pregnancy Care appointments

If you have a hospital or clinic appointment, all attempts should be made to restrict companions to one (1) support person. As children under the age of 16 are a vulnerable group, they should not come to the hospital at this time.

Your schedule of appointments may change depending on your individual circumstances. Some planned face to face visits will be made by telephone or using telehealth (video) with your maternity care provider.

If you have any concerns during your pregnancy, including concerns for your baby’s movements, bleeding or any other urgent concerns, please call us immediately for advice. If you are advised to come to hospital for further assessment, we will ask the screening questions and meet you when you arrive.

Stillbirth Prevention

Social distancing measures have meant that there have been changes to the way pregnancy care is being provided.

We understand that pregnant women are anxious about COVID-19 and this worry may lead them to avoid seeking care. Please call your maternity care provider immediately if you are concerned, it’s safe to visit your doctor, midwife or clinic for pregnancy care.

The following information provides important information about Covid-19 in pregnancy and stillbirth prevention. Click on the image or link below to download a copy of the flyer.

Childbirth Education/Preparation for Parenthood

During the pandemic period we have cancelled all face-to-face childbirth education classes until further notice.

This measure is in keeping with social distancing guidelines which are in place to protect us all. We will be providing optional ways to receive education, including resources and video classes, and will provide this information by phone or email.

Labour and Birth

You have the right to a safe and positive birth experience.

To help protect you, your baby, other families and staff at this time, we ask that you please choose TWO support people for your labour and birth. This might be your partner or another person.

This person will be asked the same screening questions and will only be allowed entry to the hospital if they have no symptoms of illness or suspected infection.

If you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection:

  • you will be asked to wear a mask over your face and nose during labour
  • you will still be able to move in labour and birth in the position of your choice
  • you will have access to a range of pain relief options
  • water immersion and water birth will no longer be an option.
  • You will be recommended to have continuous fetal heart rate monitoring in labour

After birth – Midwifery visits in your Home

If you and your baby are well, going home as soon as possible after the birth is best and will be encouraged. To support you, we will offer you home visiting and telephone or telehealth (video) visits.

Staff will call you each day to check on you and your baby and ask if you need support or a visit.

Guidance for parents and carers concerning infants and COVID-19 (pdf) https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Documents/COVID-19-guidance-faqs-infant.pdf 

Feeding your baby

Skin-to-skin contact at birth and breastfeeding will continue to be encouraged.  You are encouraged to continue to breastfeed with careful attention to hand hygiene as well as taking care not to cough or sneeze over your baby.

Guidance for parents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 – Breastfeeding and Infant Formula (FAQ page) https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/frequently-asked-questions.aspx#2-suspected-confirmed-breastfeeding

If you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, we will encourage you to wear a mask when feeding or expressing breast milk for your baby. Where possible, have someone else help with the care of the baby.

FAQ – pregnant women and new parents

Guidance for pregnant women and new parents (FAQ page) https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/communities-of-practice/Pages/guide-pregnant-women-and-new-parents.aspx 

Got questions?

For more information, please call your Maternity care provider or call the Birth Unit of the hospital you are booked with.