IMR Press / CEOG / Volume 49 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.31083/j.ceog4901006
Open Access Original Research
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the policies and practices of delivery facilities in Japan
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1 Division of Comprehensive Development Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Hokkaido University, 060-0812 Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
2 Graduate School of Health Sciences, Hokkaido University, 060-0812 Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

Academic Editor: Luca Roncati

Clin. Exp. Obstet. Gynecol. 2022, 49(1), 006; https://doi.org/10.31083/j.ceog4901006
Submitted: 12 October 2021 | Revised: 4 December 2021 | Accepted: 13 December 2021 | Published: 10 January 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.
Abstract

Background: To clarify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the policies and practices of delivery facilities in Japan from April 2020 to March 2021. Methods: We conducted an online survey of midwives working in obstetric wards nationwide between May 15, 2021, and July 31, 2021. We analyzed the 376 valid responses. Results: With the COVID-19 pandemic, most facilities have barred or partially restricted families and other visitors from being present (patient companions) in outpatient clinics, prenatal classes, during delivery, inpatient care, and inpatient visits. These changes were implemented nationwide, regardless of regional differences in the pandemic state of COVID-19. Meanwhile, by facility classification, prenatal classes, companion at birth, and inpatient visits were more likely to be canceled at perinatal centers than at clinics. The acceptance of “satogaeri deliveries” (a custom in Japan where pregnant women return to their natal homes for labor and childbirth) was partially restricted to about 40% of facilities, although this rate was lower in the four Kanto prefectures (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba). Conclusions: With the COVID-19 pandemic, the differences in Japan’s policies and practices of delivery facilities were attributed more to the role played by facilities in the regional perinatal system than to regional pandemic status.

Keywords
COVID-19 pandemic
Delivery facility
Health care surveys
Maternal-child health centers
Maternity hospital
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