The rapid development of COVID-19 has altered the context of healthcare and services around the world. In maternal and newborn services, restrictive practices have been introduced in many settings that limit women’s decisions and the rights of women and newborn infants. In many countries the immediate response of the maternity services resulted in restrictions on the place of birth, continuity of care, and mother-baby contact. The UK provides an examples of a country in which an evidence-informed approach is now developing in which essential elements of quality can be maintained. To keep women, newborn infants, families, and staff safe in all countries, balance is needed between the restrictions required to control the spread of infection and maintaining evidence-informed, effective, equitable, respectful, kind and compassionate care. A set of key principles is proposed in this paper, to inform care and service provision in this current crisis and beyond. The public health and human rights agendas should be aligned. Covid-relevant, evidence-informed, rights-respecting, effective, compassionate, and sustainable public health and clinical policy, guidance, and practice should be developed. A pro-active strategy to inform longer-term planning for life during and after the pandemic should be grounded in evidence and co-created with women, families, and staff.
- maternity services
- quality care