Queensland Health has published COVID-19 guidance for maternity care for mothers and babies during the COVID-19 pandemic at Queensland Clinical Guidelines. NSW Health recommends that sections 2 (Maternity care during COVID-19 pandemic) and 4 (In-hospital maternity care if suspected or confirmed COVID-19) of this guidance is used by maternity services in NSW.
Guidance for Neonatal Services in NSW is available on the NSW Health website. The guidance is relevant to postnatal wards, special care baby units and neonatal intensive care units.
Districts and networks are expected to follow the Tiered Perinatal Networks Local Network Operational Plans outlined in the NSW Health Policy Directive (PD2020_014) Tiered Networking Arrangements for Perinatal Care in NSW when escalation of care is required.
For pregnant women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, continued access to woman-centred, respectful skilled care is essential. This includes mental health and psychosocial support as well as obstetric, medicine and neonatal readiness to care for maternal and neonatal complications.
During a pandemic, health services will be required to review their usual service provision and models of care to respond to the local disaster planning. Service redesign or changes to models of care need to be accompanied by a robust risk assessment process to ensure there are no unintended adverse consequences of such changes.
The following elements for maternity care are considered essential:
For women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, the main risk for infants is the close contact with the mother, who is likely to have infective airborne droplets. In the light of the current evidence, the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breastmilk. There is further information in the Queensland Queensland Health guidance document for clinicians. Guidance for parents about breastfeeding with COVID-19 is available on the NSW Health website
Developed by: Health and Social Policy Branch (HSPB)
Consultation: Maternity, Child and Family, HSPB