During the first COVID-19 wave, there were not many cases in Lithuania, but the second wave impacted Lithuania quite strongly. According to the morbidity rates, we became one of the worst affected countries in Europe.
Perinatology, as one of the areas of healthcare, was also affected by this pandemic. We had to reorganize the working principles of the hospitals that provide perinatal medicine. Specialized, isolated wards, where SARS-CoV-2-infected women gave birth, were installed. However, once the second wave spread, these departments were not able to handle it anymore, so the SARS-CoV-2-infected women gave birth in almost all of the country’s hospitals. Out of the 25 hospitals that provide perinatal healthcare, there were SARS-CoV-2-infected women in 17 of them.
In 2020, out of the country’s 2.794 million citizens, 151 SARS-CoV-2-infected women gave birth. Most of them were asymptomatic, and a few had light-to-medium symptoms. Two women had a severe form of COVID-19. All of the mothers who had COVID-19 recovered successfully.
There were 10 SARS-CoV-2-infected babies in 2020 in Lithuania. Following the UENPS recommendations, the newborns were nursed in the rooms next to their mothers. The frequency of transmission of the virus was about 6.6% of all the SARS-CoV-2-positive mothers.
COVID-19 changed the tactics of both delivery and newborn care in the hospital. Childbirth is a significant moment in a family. During the pandemic, the family-oriented policy suffered because the second parent’s hospitalization was not allowed anymore due to the restrictions.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania, along with professional associations of perinatal medicine (the Lithuanian Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Lithuanian Neonatology Association), published national guidelines.