Information on maternity care while you are pregnant and following the birth of your baby during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This page was last updated: 24 June 2020
This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and the transmission of other viral respiratory infections. The Ministry of Health will update it as new information is available.
On this page:
The move to Alert Level 1 signals a containment of COVID-19 within New Zealand. At Alert Level 1 your access to maternity care during your pregnancy should not be affected. Your midwife (or Lead Maternity Carer) will return to providing in person visits for all routine care, unless you have been confirmed to have COVID-19. If you are confirmed to have COVID-19, your midwife will discuss how your visits will take place.
With what we know at the moment, pregnant women do not appear any more susceptible to the consequences of COVID-19 infection than the general population. After 28 weeks, pregnant women should take extra precautions and keep themselves well at a time when the growing baby means higher oxygen demands on the mother. If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant you should follow the Alert Level 1 Golden Rules and you could take the extra precautions for those at higher risk.
If you are working, you should discuss and agree with your employer a plan to ensure you’re able to do your job safely, particularly during your last trimester.
If you can’t safely work at your workplace, and can’t work from home, you need to agree what your leave from work and pay arrangements will be with your employer. You can find further information on the Employment New Zealand website: COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.
These leave arrangements may be important to ensure you remain eligible for Paid Parental Leave. Find out more about parental leave.
Midwife visits when pregnant women are unwell, a close contact or a confirmed case of COVID-19
Your midwife, or midwifery practice, will adjust the way they work to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Before any visit with your midwife, they will check with you to make sure you are not unwell, a close contact of a COVID-19 case, or a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- If you are unwell (especially if you have been in close contact with people who have recently travelled overseas), a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a close contact, inform your midwife or midwifery practice.
- If you are unwell, the visit may be postponed. If the visit is urgent it will still take place, but your midwife may ask you to wear a surgical face mask. Your midwife will provide you with this. Your midwife may also wear some personal protective equipment.
- If you have been contact traced and are less than 37 weeks pregnant, your midwife (or GP/obstetrician LMC) may reschedule routine antenatal visits until you have fulfilled the criteria outlined by your local Public Health Unit. You will be notified about what this is depending on your situation. 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 may need to wear a surgical face mask. Your midwife will provide you with this. Your midwife may also wear some personal protective equipment.
- If you are more than 37 weeks pregnant your midwife will continue antenatal visits according to the usual schedule. You may need to wear a surgical face mask during the visit. Your midwife will provide you with this. Your midwife may also wear some personal protective equipment.
- Your midwife will talk with you about options in case you give birth before being cleared of COVID-19. This will include local options for labour and birth, and your immediate postnatal care.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and follow their advice while waiting for your test result. Healthline should be your first line of contact, then also let your midwife (or GP/obstetrician LMC) know if you become unwell.
It is important to take care of yourself and that means taking care of your mental health as well as your physical health. See COVID-19: Mental health and wellbeing resources and COVID-19 support for whanau, wahine hapu and new māmā at Depression.org.nz.
Maternity facilities (birthing or delivery suites in hospitals and birthing units in the community)
Primary, secondary and tertiary maternity facilities will remain open to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are due to give birth, check with your midwife about the service level available and the visiting policy at your local maternity facility.
At Alert Level 1 your access to maternity care during your postnatal period should not be affected. Your midwife (or Lead Maternity Carer) will return to providing in person visits for all routine care, unless you are unwell with a higher risk of having been exposed to COVID-19 (contact with recent overseas travellers), a confirmed case of COVID-19 or are a close contact. If these apply to you then:
- You must tell your midwife or midwifery practice as soon as possible
- Your midwife will discuss how your visits will take place. Your midwife may reschedule routine postnatal visits until you have been advised by your local Public Health Unit, Healthline or your primary care provider it is safe to recommence visits. The timing of this will depend on your particular situation. Deferring your visits will only happen if your midwife assesses your postnatal care can safely be delayed.
If you do need a visit from your midwife, you may need to wear a surgical face mask. Your midwife will provide you with this. Your midwife may also wear PPE (personal protective equipment).