Is relationship based care protective for mothers and babies during challenging times?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a dramatic rise in stress, anxiety and exposure to financial stress, and domestic violence for childbearing women and their babies. Stress responses can impact children’s cognitive, behavioural, physical and motor development and women’s long term mental health.
The health system had to respond rapidly and often reactively, creating enormous gaps in service delivery at this critical time. Social models of care and relationship based interactions were significantly altered for women and their families. Birth in the time of COVID-19 is the largest longitudinal study on COVID-19 in Australia with over 6000 women responding (in 2020 and 2021 surveys) to date (still ongoing), with follow-up surveys being undertaken at 2, 6, 12, and 14 months following giving birth in a pandemic.
This presentation will explore how models of care such as continuity of care can potentially shape maternal mental health and child development health outcomes and what emerging issues need extra attention and resources. Most important of all we need to learn the lessons now, so we are prepared next time.