How Queensland babies were born in quarantine conditions


A WOMAN with coronavirus, and another who was suspected to have it, have successfully given birth at a Gold Coast hospital, in a Queensland first.

Following strict infection control guidelines, which included protective gear and an isolation room, the Gold Coast University Hospital team assisted in the delivery of the two healthy babies, in mid March.

Both women are in a stable condition.

Hospital executive director of clinical governance Dr Jeremy Wellwood said despite the extra face masks worn by staff the births were relatively normal for the two new mothers.

"For us it was a really good example that even through COVID-19, life can go on," he said.

"The delivery of babies needs to continue and we were able to give these women the care and the birthing experience they need."

The GCUH maternity team had been training to assist in the delivery of a baby for a coronavirus positive patient for the last nine weeks, as part of weekly simulation training.

"Half the battle for us was demystifying the virus for the team, and the patients so everyone can go into the situation with confidence," Dr Wellwood said.

Coronavirus simulations have been undertaken by staff at the Gold Coast University Hospital on a weekly basis.
Coronavirus simulations have been undertaken by staff at the Gold Coast University Hospital on a weekly basis.

"Understandably it can be a very anxiety-filled time, so we wanted to assure people we are more than prepared.

"When we had a mother who tested positive and another who needed to deliver while she was waiting on her test results, we were ready," he said.

The teams assisted in both a vaginal and caesarean birth.

The new mother awaiting her test results eventually tested negative for the virus.

"From the point of view of the mums, they wouldn't have noticed too much different.

"They were still able to have their support person present, were still able to be with their baby and breast feed right away."

"It is an incredibly special time and there is nothing about COVID-19 that should prevent them from getting the experience they were hoping for."

Dr Wellwood said he was proud of his team, and plans to share the learnings with other hospitals.

"I think while saying we have done something a first time is special, if I am honest we deliver 100 babies a week and put the same effort into the experience for everyone.

"Birthing is not going to stop because of a pandemic, so we are working hard to prepare and give families the confidence they will get the care they need."

Originally published as How Coast babies were born in quarantine conditions