The DGS has reinforced the guidelines on pregnancy and childbirth so that hospitals ensure the necessary conditions for the father to be present at birth and that mothers with Covid-19 can breastfeed their child if they wish.

The guidelines on pregnancy and childbirth and care for newborns in the maternity ward of a hospital in the context of the pandemic Covid-19 were updated this week by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). Regarding the recommendations for approaching a pregnant woman who is either suspected or confirmed in having Covid-19, as well as the criteria for ending isolation, the DGS update reinforces that “hospital units must ensure the necessary conditions, according to their Contingency Plan, for the presence of a companion during labour”.

The Portuguese Association for the Rights of Women in Pregnancy and Childbirth warned in a hearing in parliament that there were hospitals denying the presence of a companion to women in labour and some hospitals had been separating a mother infected with Covid-19 from the baby, and could not breastfeed. The DGS states that breast feeding “must be maintained, if it is the mother’s will and in compliance with protection measures for Covid-19”.

The Directorate-General for Health notes that “the three situations were already foreseen in the previous version, having been reinforced and clarified in this update”. With these updates, the end of the isolation measures for the mother, the newborn and the pregnant women is in accordance with what is foreseen in the Standard 004/2020 on Approaching the Patient with Suspicion or Confirmation of Covid-19.