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Barwon Health / Maternity Services

(03) 4215 2060

COVID-19 (coronavirus) and pregnancy

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still important that you keep your baby safe and follow these important messages

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Barwon Health is regularly reviewing health recommendations regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact on Maternity Services and care.  

Our service is currently focused on encouraging staff and patients to practice good personal hygiene and recommending social distancing of at least 1.5 metres to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19. It is expected that the majority of pregnant women diagnosed with COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms. Although data is currently limited, at this time there is no evidence that the virus can pass to a baby during pregnancy.

We encourage pregnant women to work from home where possible. If you can’t work from home, please discuss with your employer ways to minimise risk within the workplace.

If you are currently in quarantine for possible/confirmed COVID-19 and you are due to attend a routine maternity appointment, please contact Maternity Services so that arrangements can be made to conduct your appointment via teleconference. If you need to come to hospital, please travel by private transport and phone Maternity Hub reception when you arrive, prior to entering the hospital, on 4215 2060.

Pregnancy care at Barwon Health

Pregnancy is a time of great joy and expectation for most women and their families. We understand that COVID-19 may cause pregnant women to feel a sense of anxiety about their own health and that of their unborn baby. 

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, it is still important to make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible so you can begin antenatal care. Your GP can arrange tests, monitor your health and refer you to our maternity services for your pregnancy care. 

Our maternity services continue to provide high-quality maternity and newborn services throughout this time and look forward to seeing you for your pregnancy care soon. 

What to expect when you attend appointments and come in to hospital to have your baby

You will be asked about signs and symptoms of COVID-19, either by phone before your visit, or upon arrival.

Pregnancy and outpatient appointments

  • You will be asked questions about signs and symptoms of COVID-19, either by phone before your visit or upon arrival.
  • Our waiting room space is limited, we ask that you attend your appointment alone to ensure safe social distancing
  • Children under 16 must not attend at any time.

If you are unwell please DO NOT attend your appointment.  We ask that you call maternity reception on 4215 2060 so an alternate appointment can be made.

Education:

  • We are planning the resumption of our childbirth, breastfeeding and physiotherapy education classes. To find out more, please visit childbirth education resources.
  • Alternative online education resources are available here.
  • For a list of resources from our childbirth education and physiotherapy team click here.

Having an ultrasound at BMI

  • There are temporary changes to having an ultrasound at BMI. Read about these changes here.

What to expect when you come in to have your baby

  • Only one partner/support person per day designated by the woman.
  • Only the designated support person may visit.
  • Visitors or children aged 16 years and under.
  • If your baby is admitted to the Special Care Nursery, only the parents/guardians of the baby are able to visit.
  • The support person will be asked screening questions and have their temperature checked and will only be allowed to enter the hospital if they have no symptoms of illness or suspected infection.
  • Water immersion and water birth is available for women who do not have suspected or confirmed Covid-19 infection.
  • Please note: policies are reviewed daily and may change at any time.

If you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection:

  • You will be asked to wear a mask over your face and nose upon entry to the hospital and until you are settled into you room.
  • 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, including Nitrous Oxide.
  • An epidural will be strongly recommended early in labour to minimise the need for a general anaesthesia if you require urgent delivery via caesarean section.
  • We will recommend that you have continuous fetal heart rate monitoring during labour.

Please note: policies are reviewed daily and may change at any time.

What to expect when you go home

  • If you and your baby are well, going home as soon as possible after the birth is best advised and will be encouraged.
  • We will offer you visits at home, telephone or telehealth (video) visits.
  • We will call to assess if you or anyone in your household have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to doing a home visit.
  • If you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, we will coordinate postnatal midwife care with you that is best suited to you and your baby’s needs.
  • For information about taking your baby home and postnatal home visits click here.
  • For information about Maternal Child Health Services click here.

For more information about COVID-19 and pregnancy, please visit the Raising Children’s Network.

For information about COVID-19 and breastfeeding, please visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

For up-to-date information about COVID-19 visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus or phone the community hotline 1800 675 398 (24/7).

Taking care of your emotional and mental health for you and your baby

We understand that experiences of pregnancy, birth and postpartum during COVID-19 may affect the emotional well-being of women and their families.  This may be due to restrictions of movement, socialisation and engagement in normal routines, along with concerns about the risk of infection and the health and wellbeing of your baby and family members. 

It is essential to maintain contact with loved ones and support networks at this time.  Supportive personal and professional networks are of central importance to the mental health of you and your baby, and can still be engaged with virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people are concerned about being a burden on the health system at this time but please be reassured services are equipped to help you and your family.

We encourage all of our families to be aware and to engage with supports in order to protect perinatal mental health and well-being during this time.  If you have concerns for your mental health please bring these up with your doctor or midwife. 

Alternatively, please also visit the following resources for information and support

COVID-19 and family violence

It is important that anyone experiencing family violence knows that this is never okay, no matter the circumstances or the situation. With the impact of physical distancing rules, isolation and stress on families, there has been a spike in reports of domestic violence in the broader community. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need help or support,  please refer to the below. 

Call 000 for Police and Ambulance help if you are immediate danger.

To find local services near you and phone support lines, please visit Barwon Health Family Violence resources.

Ending family violence

You may find yourself under increased strain under social distancing or arguments with your family have become more common and things you once considered small may now seem huge. 

The Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491) is a counselling service available to men and families. The service specialises in family violence matters.

Alternatively, please visit the following resources;

Last Modified: Tuesday, 23 June 2020