To explore the modifications to maternity services across the UK, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the context of the pandemic guidance issued by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and NHS England.
UK maternity services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Healthcare professionals working within maternity services.
A national electronic survey was developed to investigate local modifications to general and specialist maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the context of the contemporaneous national pandemic guidance. After a pilot phase, the survey was distributed through professional networks by the RCOG and co-authors. The survey results were presented descriptively in tabular and graphic formats, with proportions compared using chi-squared tests.
Service modifications made during the pandemic.
81 respondent sites, 42% of 194 obstetric units in the UK, were included. They reported substantial and heterogeneous maternity service modifications. 70% of units reported a reduction in antenatal appointments and 56% in postnatal appointments; 89% reported using remote consultation methods. 70% reported a change to screening pathways for gestational diabetes mellitus. 59% had temporarily removed the offer of births at home or in a midwife-led unit. 86% of units experienced a reduction in emergency antenatal presentations.
This national survey documents the extensive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternity services in the UK. More research is needed to understand the impact on maternity outcomes and experience.
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