COVID-19:Technical Brief for Antenatal Care Services

Summary:

Information on the impact of COVID-19 on early pregnancy outcomes remains unavailable at the time of writing. Non-pregnant women of childbearing age are also at low risk of severe disease. The impact on acute care services in settings with under-resourced health systems is likely to be substantial. Maternity services should continue to be prioritized as an essential core health service, and other sexual and reproductive health care such as family planning, emergency contraception, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, and where legal safe abortion services, to the fullextent of the law, also need to remain available as core health services.

Maternity care providers (including midwives and all other health care workers providing maternal and newborn care), whether based in health facilities or within the community, are essential health care workers and must be protected and prioritized to continue providing care to childbearing women and their babies. Deploying maternity care workers away from providing maternity care to work in public health or general medical areas during Covid-19 pandemic is likely to increase poor maternal and newborn outcomes.

Maternity care providers have the right to full access for all personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation and a safe and respectful working environment [2]. Maintaining a healthy workforce will ensure ongoing quality care for women and their newborns; without healthy midwives and other maternity care providers there will be limited care for women and newborns.
As part of COVID-19 Pandemic UNFPA Global Response Plan, the UNFPA response involves a 3-pronged approach for Maternity care:

  1. Protect maternity care providers and the maternal health workforce
  2. Provide safe and effective maternity care to women
  3. Maintain and protect maternal health systems

Detailed practical recommendations across these 3 prongs for antenatal care, intrapartum and postnatal care have been outlined in: UNFPA COVID-19 Technical Brief for Maternity Services Interim Guidance, April 2020 This document serves as an adjunct to the UNFPA COVID-19 Technical Brief for Maternity Services to provide interim guidance on providing phone based antenatal care (ANC) in the immediate clinical situation during COVID-19. These recommendations are provided asa resource for UNFPA staff based on a combination of WHO guidelines, good practice and expert advice based on the latest scientific evidence

Author(s): 
UNFPA
Year of Publication: 
2020