In these challenging times pregnant women will likely require more support, reassurance and advice in relation to pregnancy and childbirth.
As the care provider, it will be incumbent on you to ensure that you are up to date with the ever-evolving changes, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact these may have on the women you care for.
The College of Midwives has a range of COVID-19 advice on its website but here is a summary of the essentials:
- Continue to follow the Australian Pregnancy Care Guidelines recommended care schedule
- Understand the circumstances in which telehealth can be used in place of face to face appointments. For more information www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/Factsheet-TempBB and MIGA’s telehealth advice – www.miga.com.au/covid-19
- Where possible women should be encouraged to attend appointments. Reassure them that appropriate social distancing (as required in the circumstances) and infection control measures will be taken prior to and during their appointment
- Record keeping remains paramount particularly where you may wish to deviate from the ‘norm’ due to COVID-19. Be clear when documenting your assessment of risks and your decision-making process
- Advise the women you are caring for that they should notify you of any situation where self-isolation is required so that their care can be adapted accordingly
- For women who have had symptoms, face-to-face appointments can be deferred until 7 days after the start of symptoms, unless symptoms (aside from persistent cough) persist
- For women who are self-isolating because someone in their household has possible symptoms of COVID-19, face-to-face appointments should be deferred for 14 days
- Referral to allied health services must be maintained. This includes services for domestic violence, physiotherapy and mental health management as well as the use of translators and services specific to assisting those who are experiencing social or financial hardship
- Women should be provided with all support necessary to help maintain their mental health. Assessment of mental health at every contact is prudent and where there are concerns, referrals made and/or support service details provided. The Centre for Perinatal Excellence (COPE) have Ready to Cope (www.cope.org.au/readytocope/) as well as resources for families and midwives. In addition, PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia are a dedicated perinatal service for women and families: www.panda.org.au/
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