COVID-19 - Information for pregnant women, and those who have recently given birth

Information on maternity care while you are pregnant and following the birth of your baby during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Page last updated: 14 August 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:


Your care during pregnancy

If you are pregnant or caring for newborn babies, it is understandable that you may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety and distress while New Zealand is working to stop the spread of COVID-19. This means your plans about where you would give birth and who would support you may need to change.

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 simple ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and you could take extra precautions if you are 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

Alert Level 3

Your maternity care during Alert Level 3 will be affected. Your midwife (or Lead Maternity Carer doctor) will do as much as possible over the phone or via video calling. Your midwife may decrease the number of in-person visits and will discuss with you the best place to have these. This is to protect you and your midwife from COVID-19 infection. You will be asked to wear a mask throughout your visit, you may be asked to provide this yourself.

Your midwife, or midwifery practice, will adjust the way they work to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Before any visit with your midwife, you will be expected to confirm that you are well. If you are not well, the 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 to wear a surgical face mask. Your midwife will provide you with this.  Your midwife will also wear some personal protective equipment.

If you have been contact traced due to potential exposure to COVID-19 you must tell your midwife or midwifery practice. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (a confirmed or probable case), inform your midwife or midwifery practice.

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 particular 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 will need to wear a surgical face mask, your midwife will provide you with this.  Your midwife will 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 will need to wear a surgical face mask during the visit, your midwife will provide you with this.  Your midwife will also wear some personal protective equipment.

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

Alert Level 2

Your maternity care during Alert Level 2 will be affected. If you are in your first or second trimester, your midwife (or Lead Maternity Carer) will do as much of your check-up as possible over the phone or via video calling. Your midwife may decrease the number of in-person visits and will discuss with you the best place to have these. This is to protect you and your midwife from COVID-19 infection. Routine and urgent maternity care is vital for the health and well-being of you and your baby, so please ensure you continue to engage with your maternity care provider if you have any concerns. You will be asked to wear a mask throughout your visit, you may be asked to provide this yourself. 

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

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 will 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 will 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 will 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.


Your postnatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic at Alert Levels 2 and 3

For most women your in-person visits will be affected. Your midwife will do as much as possible over the phone or via video calling. Your midwife may decrease the number of in-person visits and will discuss with you the best place to have these. Your midwife may ask that no-one else is present during check-ups (no partners, family members or children) and you will be required to observe strict hygiene measures, including physical distancing. The physical assessments of you and your baby will still occur but will be done as quickly as possible. If you require support with breastfeeding your midwife will be able to provide this. You will be asked to wear a mask throughout your visit, you may be asked to provide this yourself.

If you have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 or you develop flu-like symptoms and meet the updated case definition for testing you must tell your midwife or midwifery practice. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (a confirmed or probable case), inform your midwife or midwifery practice.

If you have been contact traced, meet the case definition, or you or someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, your midwife may reschedule routine postnatal visits until you have been advised by your local Public Health Unit, Healthline or your primary care provider that 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 that your postnatal care can safely be delayed. 

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