COVID-19: Pregnant people and those who have recently given birth

Information on maternity care while you are pregnant and following the birth of your baby with COVID-19 in the community.

Last updated: 14 September 2022

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Your care during pregnancy

If you are pregnant or caring for a newborn baby while New Zealand has COVID-19 in the community you may be a bit stressed or anxious.

If you’re up-to-date with vaccinations, and you get COVID-19, you’re more likely to have a mild or moderate symptoms. If you’re pregnant (hapū), vaccinations will keep baby (pēpi) safe too.

Before any visit with your midwife, you will be expected to confirm that you are well. If you are unwell, a household contact of a COVID-19 case, or a confirmed case of COVID-19 your midwife or midwifery service will arrange a way to provide you with services.

If there is a risk of COVID-19 your visit may be postponed or take place via a phone or video call. If the visit is urgent it will still take place, but your midwife will ask you and others with you to wear a medical face mask. Your midwife will also wear personal protective equipment.

Maternity care will always be available to all those who need it.

Follow this guidance to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and you could take extra precautions if you are at higher risk.

Protection with COVID-19 vaccination

If you’re pregnant, you can get a COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) at any stage of your pregnancy.

The vaccine protects you as you’re far less likely to fall seriously ill. It also protects your pēpi as there is evidence that babies can get antibodies through the placenta that help protect them from COVID-19.

View this video about pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccination:

Being vaccinated also means you’re less likely to transmit the virus to others. It helps protect tamariki in your family who are too young to be vaccinated, and older whanāu members (such as grandparents) you’re spending time with.

Get advice on the COVID-19 vaccine if you're pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying for a baby: Pregnancy and breastfeeding – vaccine advice.

Boosters

It is recommended that pregnant people receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine to help protect them and their baby against the effects of COVID-19. The booster vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy.

If you are 18 or over, you can get your Pfizer booster at least 3 months after your primary course (for most people, this is 2 doses). If you are 16 or 17, you can get a Pfizer booster at least 6 months after completing your primary course.

You can also discuss the timing of your booster with your midwife, obstetrician or doctor.

If a second booster is recommended for you, this is due at least 6 months after your previous dose.

Your pregnancy care with COVID-19

If you have COVID-19, your pregnancy care from your midwife may be via telehealth, if it is deemed safe to do so.   View this video about pregnancy if you have COVID-19.

Being hapū and having to isolate at home will be hard enough for some. But having COVID as well could feel overwhelming. Yeah, it’s a bit scary knowing I have the virus, but I’m fully vaccinated so I know my risk for getting really sick is lower. That’s right, being fully vaccinated with a booster is the best way to stay safe. When you’re told you have COVID, you’ll be assessed by a specialist team to work out your personal care plan. Then, depending on any risk factors you may have and how well you’re managing any symptoms, your midwife or other lead maternity carer, LMC for short, may be able to continue taking care of you. If any extra care is needed it’ll be organised between you, your midwife and the obstetrics team. That’s great. Is there anything I should look out for? Yep, things to look out for are: • baby moving less than usual or not at all, any change in baby’s usual pattern • bleeding from the vagina • leaking fluid from the vagina • headache that doesn't go away • shortness of breath when resting or lying down • feeling like you can't cope with your symptoms at home • a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees • feeling really tired • feeling very anxious or worried • feeling unsafe at any time. If you have any of these things, you should get in touch with your midwife straight away. Awesome. Anything else I should know? If you need any pain relief for anything, ask me or your GP about what’s best to take. And stay in touch with me so you can continue to be assessed and referred if needed. Tara, what happens if someone goes into labour while they are isolating? They should call their midwife - we know what to do. How about if I’ve still got COVID when I give birth. Is the baby going to be ok? It’s rare for babies to get COVID during the pregnancy or birth process. However, those who do get it mostly have mild symptoms or none at all. You can breastfeed, cuddle and share a room and the antibodies from your vaccination will help protect them too. But please remember to: • wash your hands well before touching your baby, breast pump or feeding bottles • clean and sterilise bottles and breast pump thoroughly • wear a mask while feeding and holding your baby • try not to sneeze or cough on your baby • don't kiss or touch your baby's face, or touch your own face. I can do this! I feel relieved that if I have any questions or concerns, (cut to list below) I can just ask my midwife or GP and they’ll know what to do. Top tips: 1. Tell your midwife/LMC you have COVID and are isolating. 2. Know the warning signs and let your midwife/LMC know if you have any of them. 3. Avoid lying on your tummy if you are more than 28 weeks pregnant. 4. Check with your midwife/LMC before taking pain medicines. 5. Learn how to look after baby while you have COVID. 6. Stay in touch with your midwife/LMC.

Possible COVID-19 exposure

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, take a rapid antigen test (RAT) and report the result in My COVID Record (or by calling 0800 222 487).

RATs can be accessed from a testing location that are found on the Healthpoint website or by ordering a RAT for testing yourself at home.  

Read more: Testing for COVID-19

If you get COVID-19

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and recorded your result, you'll receive a text message from the official 2328 or 2648 number.

This text will include a link to a data free online form that you will need to fill out. This form will provide information to your health team about any health needs you may have, such as if you are pregnant or have diabetes. It’s important the health questions in the self-assessment form are filled out. If you can't use the online form or would prefer not to, you can call 800 555 278 for assistance to complete the form.

Let your midwife (or GP/obstetrician LMC) know you have COVID-19. 

You will receive the support you need through the Care in the Community program. Your health and wellbeing is of paramount importance and clinical support will remain available to you. Read more: Advice for people with COVID-19.

If you are a household contact

If you live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (a case) then you are likely to hear from them that you are a Household Contact and you need to follow the advice found here:  Information for Household and Close Contacts.

If you are a Household Contact please inform your midwife (or GP/obstetrician Lead Maternity Carer). Rescheduling of visits will only happen if your midwife assesses that your maternity care can safely be deferred. If you do need a visit from your midwife, you will need to wear a medical face mask, your midwife will provide you with this. Your midwife will also wear personal protective equipment.

You should follow appropriate mask wearing advice when out in the community. View information on the use of masks in the community.


Take care of yourself

It is important to take care of yourself and that means taking care of your mental health as well as your physical health. See Mental health and wellbeing resources and COVID-19 support for whānau, wāhine hapu and new māmā at Depression.org.nz.

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