Preliminary data shows that tracked health outcomes for pregnant women and new babies were not significantly impacted by the pandemic and related changes in service delivery.
However, more work needs to be done to understand the psychological, social, and mental health impacts of these changes for women and families.
Produced by the independent Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity, the COVID-19 communique: A rapid report provides a snapshot of the impact of the pandemic on outcomes for mothers and babies.
Overall, fewer babies were born in Victoria during 2020.
Despite concerns about women not seeking medical attention during their pregnancy, and having to use telehealth for regular appointments, the review found:
- there was no change in the rate of stillbirths
- the rate of detecting smaller babies that might need clinical support continued to increase.
However, there is evidence that women may have waited too long to go to hospital during the stricter lockdown period, with more babies born before arriving at a hospital in the second and third quarter of 2020.
Additionally, CCOPMM has recommended improvement to a statewide survey to measure the experiences and psychological impacts for women and families through this time.
While the findings and data are preliminary, this report will help health system planners, leaders, and care providers to understand the effects of the pandemic and plan for the ongoing COVID-19 response.
The Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity helps Victoria learn and improve when pregnant women, new mothers, babies and children suffer or die from severe illness, accidents, or complications.