Varying maternity experiences during COVID-19 in Australia, finds research

on 25 March 2021

Midwives, allied maternity care professionals and service users in Australia have shared their experiences of working in maternity services and receiving care during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a study conducted by Curtin University.

The majority of midwives, allied health professionals and students said that they were worried about contracting COVID-19 while at work, while partners of pregnant women reported feeling isolated due to changes in the way maternity care was provided due to the pandemic.

3,701 midwives, allied health care professionals, pregnant women, partners of pregnant women, and students responded to the research who had worked in maternity services or received maternity care from March 2020 onwards in Australia.

Lead Author from Curtin School of Nursing, Dr Zoe Bradfield, said: “The common finding across all five of the study’s cohorts was that anxiety related to the pandemic was high, however there were significant differences in the responses from each cohort for most survey items.

“Pregnant women and new mothers were most concerned about the general threat of COVID to them, their babies and their families, but less concerned about exposure of the virus through medical or health settings than the doctors and midwives working in these environments.

“Patients’ partners and midwifery students were more likely to feel isolated because of the changes to the way maternity care was provided due to the pandemic.”

Despite the changes to maternity services, the research found that most service user respondents were satisfied with the quality of care they received, but some midwives and students disagreed with this.

“The research offers a unique exploration and comparison of the experiences of different stakeholders receiving and providing maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. The findings of the study will contribute to an understanding of the broader human and social implications of health service redesign as a result of COVID-19,” Dr Zoe Bradfield added.

The research ‘Experiencing of receiving and providing maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia: a five-cohort cross-sectional comparison” can be found here.

Please note: The research is a pre-print and has not yet been peer-reviewed.