Effect of COVID-19 on antenatal care: experiences of medical professionals in the Netherlands

Carlotta Gamberini, Federica Angeli, Lucia Knight, Mariama Zaami, Salwan Al-Nasiry, Elena Ambrosino*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: COVID-19 has greatly affected the delivery of all health care services globally. Antenatal care is one area of care that has been impacted, despite the fact that attending antenatal check-ups is essential for pregnant women and cannot be postponed. Little is known about how exactly ANC provision has changed in the Netherlands, or how the changes have impacted midwives and gynaecologists providing those services. Methods: This study used a qualitative research design to investigate changes in individual and national practice following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study involved a document analysis of protocols and guidelines for ANC provision to evaluate how those changed following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and semi-structured interviews with ANC care providers (i.e., gynaecologists and midwives). Results: Guidance was issued by multiple organizations, during the pandemic, on how to approach the risk of infection in pregnant women, recommending several changes to ANC to protect both pregnant women and ANC providers. Both midwives and gynaecologists reported changes in their practice. With less face-to-face consultations happening, digital technologies became critical in the care of pregnant women. Shorter and fewer visits were reported, with midwifery practices adjusting their guidelines further than hospitals. Challenges, with high workloads and lack of personal protective equipment were discussed. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on the health care system. This impact has had both negative and positive effects on the provision of ANC in the Netherlands. It is important to learn from the current COVID-19 pandemic and adapt ANC, as well as health care systems as a whole, to be better prepared for future health crises and ensure continuous provision of good quality care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalReproductive Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the WUN Research Development Fund 2020.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Antenatal care (ANC)
  • COVID-19
  • Gynaecologists
  • Midwives

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