Balancing restrictions and access to maternity care for women and birthing partners during the COVID-19 pandemic: The psychosocial impact of suboptimal care

J. Lalor, S. Ayers, J. Celleja Agius, S. Downe, O. Gouni, K. Hartmann, M. Nieuwenhuijze, M. Oosterman, J. D. Turner, Sigfríður Inga Karlsdottir, A. Horsch

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1 Maternity services across Europe during the pandemic has undergone changes to limit virus transmission; however, many changes are not evidence-based.
2 Although these changes were introduced to keep women, babies and healthcare staff safe, the exclusion of companions and the separation of mothers and babies is particularly antithetical to a human rights-based approach to quality care.
3 A poll of COST Action 18211 network members showed that inconsistency in the application of restrictions was high, and there were significant deviations from the recommendations of authoritative bodies.
4 Concerns have emerged that restrictions in practice may have longer term negative impacts on mothers and their families and, in particular, may impact on the long-term health of babies.
5 When practice changes deviate from evidence-based frameworks that underpin quality care, they must be monitored, appraised and evaluated to minimise unintended iatrogenic effects.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Online Open publication funded by COST Action 18211.

Other keywords

  • Maternity care
  • COVID-19
  • Quality care
  • Restrictions

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