Women are choosing the earliest possible discharge from hospital after giving birth.
Women are choosing the earliest possible discharge from hospital after giving birth.

New mothers opt to leave quickly amid COVID-19

WOMEN are increasingly choosing to opt for the earliest possible discharge from hospital after giving birth, wanting to show off their bubs to family who are restricted from visiting them as a result of the coronavirus.

The Townsville University Hospital has seen a small increase in women choosing to leave six hours after having had a baby, as only one support person, whether that be a partner, friend or family member is allowed to be present during the birth, and visit afterwards under new COVID-19 precautions.

Midwifery birth suite unit manager Chris Boynton said people were being checked if they had a fever and were asked about any symptoms or potential exposure before they entered.

"We screen both the mother and her support person as we want to make sure that we minimise any risk to other women and to the staff that are working here," she said.

"There's slightly been an increase in early discharge at mum's request, she might feel better supported with her family around her at home."

Mum Cassandra Zylstra with four day old newborn Oliver. Midwifery managers at Townsville University Hospital say the maternity ward is as safe as ever for those having babies during the coronavirus pandemic. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Mum Cassandra Zylstra with four day old newborn Oliver. Midwifery managers at Townsville University Hospital say the maternity ward is as safe as ever for those having babies during the coronavirus pandemic. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

Mount Low mum Cassandra Zylstra gave birth to her son Oliver at the TUH less than a week ago, and said she felt reassured knowing visitors were being screened and restricted.

"I felt safe knowing that we were being isolated and that Ollie wouldn't have a chance of getting sick," she said.

"Everyone made me feel so comfortable and relieved, all the midwives were always cleaning their hands, the equipment, our temperatures were always being taken … I felt really safe. All the midwives have your best interests at heart, that's all they care about and they're amazing."

Midwifery maternity unit manager Rebecca Lewis said it was business as usual, with antenatal services continuing and an uptake in telehealth to help minimise risk.

"We're also focused on supporting the mental health of a mother with a new born, and we're able to increase visits for the women who may need that," she said.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kieran Keyes said women and their babies were still able to stay in the hospital as long as they needed to.

"Appropriate infectious disease protocols remain in place, and our midwifery services have done a huge amount of preparation in response to COVID-19," he said.

Originally published as New mothers opt to leave quickly amid COVID-19



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