Information about COVID-19 

Mater Mothers has precautions in place to keep our women, newborns and staff safe as coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves.

Last updated: 20 January 2022

As part of the current state-wide health response to COVID-19, Mater Mothers is closely working with Queensland Health to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and visitors. 

Mater Mothers is working closely with the Queensland Government to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Our priority is always the health and wellbeing of our patients, our staff and the community. 

To ensure this, Mater Mothers adheres to all State Government directives and restrictions affecting hospitals and health services.

You can view the State Government’s current COVID-19 hospital restrictions and access information about vaccination against COVID-19 here.

Visitor restrictions from Thursday 20 January 2022 

No more than two visitors per patient are allowed at Mater Mothers' hospitals at any one time, following a new directive from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, effective from 20 January 2022.

Women are requested to attend appointments on their own. In exceptional circumstances, one support person may be allowed, but permission must be sought by phoning the clinic before arriving for the appointment.

No visitors are allowed in COVID-19 designated zones, beds or wards, except where the patient is a child, or requires significant assistance.

Visitors must be vaccinated. 

No vaccine, no visit from Friday 17 December 2021

Mater Mothers is complying with the State Government directive requiring visitors to public and private hospitals to be fully vaccinated (including specialist clinics and medical suites). All visitors to Mater Mothers' hospitals will need to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status before being permitted to enter our healthcare sites from Friday 17 December 2021.

This can be done through the State Government’s Check In Qld app when you enter one of our hospitals. Some exemptions apply to this directive for visitors entering hospitals in cases of childbirth, end-of-life care and emergency medical care.

  • Mater Mothers appreciates that some unvaccinated visitors may object to these new restrictions. 
  • We ask all visitors to remember that Mater Mothers is implementing a State Government health directive, the aim of which is to protect the health and wellbeing of all hospital patients, staff and visitors.
  • Mater Mothers asks all visitors to our hospital sites to comply with these requirements and to treat all Mater People with respect. Abusive behaviour will not be tolerated.

Visitor screening 

Health screening requirements remain in place for anyone entering any of our hospital facilities and records of all visitors are required to be kept. 

For everyone visiting our facilities, you are welcome to visit, however, we will exclude anyone who;

  • is unwell
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or asked to quarantine
  • has returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries)
  • has had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • has visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter)
  • has been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting to receive the results
  • has COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.          

Mask wearing at Mater Mothers

Surgical face masks are required to be worn at all times at Mater Mothers' hospitals. 

Children under 12 do not need to wear a mask, nor those with a physical condition or illness that makes wearing one unsuitable. Patients will not be required to wear a mask while in birth suites or in their rooms.

We appreciate your support through these changes to keep us all safe. We will continue to keep you updated if there are any revisions to the above requirements.

Mater COVID-19 update

Frequently asked questions:

Can I visit Mater Mothers Hospital?

Vaccinated fathers, partners and other support people will be allowed to visit the hospital.

No more than two visitors per patient at any one time are allowed at Mater Mothers' hospitals. 

From 17 December 2021, unvaccinated people are unable to visit Mater Mothers’ hospitals, but there are some limited exemptions for unvaccinated visitors for childbirth.

Can unvaccinated patients enter Mater Mothers’ hospitals?

The visitor restrictions do not apply to patients. All patients regardless of their vaccination status will receive care.

Will I be required to show proof of vaccination upon arrival to the hospital?

Yes. All patients and visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination upon arrival to the hospital.

You may show your proof of vaccination via the Check In Qld app on your personal mobile device OR you may show a printed copy of your proof of vaccination.

My support person is unvaccinated. Will they be allowed to enter the hospital?

If your support person is fully vaccinated, they will be permitted access to the hospital.

If your support person is unvaccinated, they will be permitted access for the birth of your baby, however they will be the only support person allowed.

Once the baby is born and mother and baby are transferred to the ward or recovery room, the support person will be considered a visitor.

The unvaccinated support person will not be permitted access to the hospital after the baby is born unless they obtain an exemption. 

My support person has received a first dose of the vaccine. Will they be allowed to enter the hospital?

If your support person has received a first dose of the vaccine, they can apply for an exemption and may be granted restricted visitation.

Why are unvaccinated visitors not allowed in the hospital?

Mater is adhering to a State Government directive prohibiting unvaccinated people from visiting hospital sites. This directive has been introduced to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection for patients, staff and visitors. 

I am unvaccinated. How can I apply for a visitor exemption?

Exemptions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. 

To apply for a visitor exemption in South East Queensland please email covid19response@mater.org.au.

In North Queensland, please email ExecutiveOfficer-NQ@mater.org.au

In Rockhampton, please email rmce@mater.org.au

In Mackay, please email mmce@mater.org.au

My baby is in Mater Mothers Neonatal Critical Care Unit. Can both parents visit?

If both parents are fully vaccinated, then both parents will be permitted access to Mater Mothers Neonatal Critical Care Unit. 

If both parents are unvaccinated, then only the mother of the baby will be permitted access to Mater Mothers Neonatal Critical Care Unit. The other parent will need to apply for an exemption to enter the facility. 

I have a medical appointment. Will I be allowed to enter the hospital?

Yes. All patients will receive care regardless of their vaccination status. 

Antenatal clinics: Please note, women are requested to attend appointments on their own. In exceptional circumstances, one support person may be allowed, but permission must be sought by phoning the clinic before arriving for the appointment.

 

I am a patient. Will I need to wear personal protective equipment (i.e. a mask) in hospital?

If you are unvaccinated, you will be required to wear a mask (except during childbirth).

I am a visitor. Will I need to wear a mask in hospital?

Mask-wearing requirements are in place at Mater Mothers' hospitals. You will be required to wear a mask for the duration of your visit. You will be required to present an exemption, if you have been advised not to wear a mask for medical reasons.

How can I access a Mater Mothers hospital, once I arrive?

Upon arrival, you will need to present to the Main Entrance of the hospital to enter.

Can I call Mater Mothers' Pregnancy Assessment Centre?

If you live in South East Queensland and are experiencing early pregnancy bleeding or pain, or urgent pregnancy related issues please present to our Pregnancy Assessment Centre at Mater's South Brisbane campus 24 hours a day 7 days a week, or call 13HEALTH, your obstetrician or your GP for advice.

If you live in Central or North Queensland and are experiencing early pregnancy bleeding or pain, or urgent pregnancy related issues please present to your nearest emergency department, or call your obstetrician for advice.

Will Mater go into lock down? If so where will I have my baby?

Mater Mothers' hospitals provide an essential service and will remain open for business as usual. We have added precautions in all of our hospitals across the state to keep our women, newborns and staff safe as coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves. 

Will I have to share a room?

Mater Mothers' hospitals have single rooms for private patients, and shared rooms for public patients. Should a single room be required for COVID-19  specific safety precautions, our staff will advise you.

Should I consider changing to a home birth?

As COVID-19 continues to evolve, we are committed to providing compassionate care within the current guidelines. We have taken appropriate measures to ensure the safety of our mothers, babies, staff and the community. In line with Queensland Health recommendations, all women who are booked to give birth at Mater Mothers' hospitals should continue to do so.

If you have any questions, please speak with your obstetrician or midwife. 

What happens if a family member shows symptoms, is sick or in isolation? Can they still be my birth partner/visit?

If a family member shows symptoms or is unwell, they will not be allowed to visit you in hospital or be your birth partner during labour.

If I have symptoms will my booked procedure go ahead?

Depending on the severity of your symptoms you will be assessed by the medical team and a plan of care made from there.

Can I discharge home early?

Yes, if you and your baby are well and your healthcare team are happy for discharge. 

If you are an eligible Mater Mothers’ Private Brisbane patient, you may also consider one of our Caring Continues options.

Will I still get a home visit from the midwife?

Mater understands that being home with a new baby can be overwhelming at the best of times. Therefore every effort will be made to ensure you receive a home visit from a midwife. If you are in isolation, this may be a telehealth visit instead.

Are there still classes available?

Yes, our Parent Education classes are being facilitated by experienced Mater Mothers’ midwives. Find out more about our classes, and book today

Is my baby safe? Are the staff clear and healthy? Are they looking after more women than me?

Mater Mothers' hospitals have every precaution in place to ensure preparedness. Our maternity hospitals across the state remain fully functional. All Mater Mothers’ staff are trained professionals and work together to help protect and keep safe our patients, staff and visitors.

What can I do to protect my baby?

Follow any advice that comes from Queensland Health and particularly follow Social Distancing and hand hygiene guidelines.

What happens if I go into labour during my self-isolation period?

Your maternity team know how to ensure you and your baby receive safe, quality care, respecting your birth plan as closely as possible.

  • You are advised to attend hospital via private transport where possible, or call 13HEALTH for advice as appropriate.
  • When you arrive at Mater we will undertake a health screen. If you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19, you will be provided with a surgical face mask, that needs to stay on until advised otherwise.
  • COVID-19  testing will be arranged.

I’m stressed having trouble breastfeeding—where can I go for support?

Mater Mothers’ Parenting Support Centre offers early parenting support and guidance for Mater mums up to six months after the birth of your baby. Support can be provided to help address issues including:

  • breastfeeding and feeding
  • sleep and settling
  • emotional wellbeing
  • infant interactions
  • adjusting to your new role as a parent/caregiver.

We’re also offering breastfeeding support with our experienced Lactation Consultants via telehealth, Monday to Friday. Please call our team friendly team to find out more on 07 3163 2229.

What is NCCU doing to protect babies from getting COVID-19?

Any Mater staff member with any illness must stay at home and not come into work—this is particularly important in NCCU as any infection can be dangerous for our seriously ill and premature babies.

Infection control and hygiene practices are taken very seriously at Mater Mothers' Hospitals and particularly in NCCU. 

Would it be safer to just stop visiting my baby in NCCU altogether?

If you practice the measures above you are safe to visit your baby.  It is important for you and your baby to have time together and you baby needs to experience your touch, smell and/or voice. It is beneficial to both the mother's and baby's health to have skin-to-skin time.

I'm a publicly-funded patient, will I continue to have my pregnancy check-ups at the hospital?

Where possible, women who have low risk pregnancies will have either GP Shared Care or midwifery care at Mater Mother's Hospital in South Brisbane. Either way you will receive your regular checks by telehealth where a midwife or GP will contact you and ask you to take your blood pressure on a machine that you have sourced yourself (if possible).  If this is not possible, Mater has a limited supply of blood pressure machines for loan. The GP or midwife will talk to you about your baby’s growth and movements and make an assessment of your pregnancy progress.

There will be one visit to Mater at 34-37 weeks gestation, where you will be able to have an ultrasound scan to check that your baby is growing well. You will also be able to see a midwife at this time for a blood pressure check and general assessment.

Please be assured, if your pregnancy has been identified as high risk, you will still be seen face-to-face at Mater Mothers.

As a publicly-funded patient, would I potentially be sharing a birth suite/room with a COVID-19 infected patient?

All women giving birth at Mater Mothers' Hospitals are cared for in a single birth suite room.  As a publicly-funded patient you may be admitted to a shared inpatient room following the birth of your baby. However, COVID-19 positive mothers will be isolated in a single room in a separate ward dedicated to caring for women with COVID-19.

Are water births still available?

Yes, waterbirths are still available at Mater Mothers' Hospitals in South East Queensland for women who are well. If you are COVID-19 positive, based on expert advice, the option of water birth is not available.  

Can I come to Pregnancy Assessment Centre if I am unwell or should I attend an Emergency Department? Even postnatally?

If you are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 and have no complications of pregnancy, you should attend your nearest Emergency Department or your GP for screening.

However, if you live in South East Queensland and are having pregnancy symptoms/complications, please present to our Pregnancy Assessment Centre at Mater's South Brisbane campus 24 hours a day 7 days a week, or call 13HEALTH, your obstetrician or your GP for advice. Please inform staff immediately on arrival.

My support person is awaiting results from a COVID-19 test. Can they still come?

To keep our mums, babies and staff safe, we do screen all support persons at reception. If your support person is still awaiting the results of their COVID-19 test, they will not be allowed to enter the hospital and should remain at home until the results of their tests are known.

 

Will I be able to stay with my baby/provide skin-to-skin if I have suspected or confirmed COVID-19?

Each case will be reviewed with your medical team to plan your care.

A discussion about the risks and benefits should take place between you and your family and the doctors caring for your baby to individualise your care.

This guidance may change as knowledge evolves.

I would like to know more about COVID-19

Stay informed and read the latest announcements about COVID-19 from Queeensland Health, including up-to-date health advice.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

If your health deteriorates or you have any further questions regarding your condition, please contact your midwife or obstetrician.

 

How many support people can accompany me in the birthing suites?

Only two support people are allowed in the birthing suite. If the partner is present, only one other person is allowed.

A birthing mother who is diagnosed with COVID-19 may have up to two support people in the birthing suite, including a support person who is a close contact of the birthing mother.

 

I'm a patient and I've tested positive for COVID-19. Am I allowed visitors?

No visitors are allowed in COVID-19 designated zones, beds or wards, except where the patient:

is a child

has a cognitive impairment or 

has a need for a full time support person (due to frailty, self-care needs or other).

Please note: Only fully vaccinated (including booster where eligible) visitors will be permitted.

 

Is COVID vaccination recommended for pregnant women who have had COVID infection?

People who have had COVID-19 can be vaccinated as soon as they recover from their illness.

Vaccination may be deferred for up to 6 months as past infection reduces the risk of reinfection for at least 6 months, however vaccination should be considered by those who are:

  • immunocompromised and may be at greater risk of getting COVID-19 again
  • have a job that requires them to be vaccinated
  • have a job that puts them at greater risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

Women who test positive for COVID-19 between their first and second doses, or between their second and booster dose, should delay their next dose until they have recovered from the illness. 

 

More information

Mater continues to work as part of the broader health network in support of Public Health efforts to test, contain and manage COVID-19. For the latest information on protecting your family please read Mater's COVID-19 updates here.

As is usual practice, if you feel unwell, please avoid visiting family or friends in hospital and seek medical attention for any symptoms.

Anyone with concerns, please call 13 HEALTH or find up-to-date information on the Queensland Health website.

If you live in South East Queensland and are experiencing early pregnancy bleeding or pain, or urgent pregnancy related issues, please present to the Pregnancy Assessment Centre at Mater's South Brisbane campus 24 hours a day 7 days a week or call 13HEALTH. 

Looking for translated information about COVID-19? You can visit Health Translations, supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. They offer a range of patient information in multiple languages. 

 

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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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