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The United Kingdom and the Netherlands maternity care responses to COVID-19: A comparative study

van den Berg, Lauri M.M.; Balaam, Marie-Clare; Nowland, Rebecca; Moncrieff, Gill; Topalidou, Anastasia; Thompson, Suzanne; Thomson, Gill; de Jonge, Ank; Downe, Soo; Ellison, George; Fenton, Alan; Heazell, Alexander; de Jonge, Ank; Kingdon, Carol; Matthews, Zoe; Severns, Alexandra; Thomson, Gill; Topalidou, Anastasia; Wright, Alison; Akooji, Naseerah; Balaam, Marie-Clare; Cull, Jo; van den Berg, Lauri; Crossland, Nicola; Feeley, Claire; Franso, Beata; Heys, Steph; Moncrieff, Gill; Nowland, Rebecca; Sarian, Arni; Booker, Maria; Sandall, Jane; Thornton, Jim; Lynskey-Wilkie, Tisian; Wilson, Vanessa; Abe, Rebecca; Awe, Tinuke; Adeyinka, Toyin; Bender-Atik, Ruth; Brigante, Lia; Brione, Rebecca; Cadée, Franka; Duff, Elizabeth; Draycott, Tim; Fisher, Duncan; Francis, Annie; Franx, Arie; Erasmus, M.C.; Frith, Lucy; Griew, Louise; Harmer, Clea; Homer, Caroline; Knight, Marian; Mansfield, Amanda; Marlow, Neil; Mcaree, Trixie; Monteith, David; Reed, Keith; Richens, Yana; Rocca-Ihenacho, Lucia; Ros...


Lauri M.M. van den Berg

Marie-Clare Balaam

Rebecca Nowland

Gill Moncrieff

Anastasia Topalidou

Suzanne Thompson

Gill Thomson

Ank de Jonge

Soo Downe

George Ellison

Alan Fenton

Alexander Heazell

Ank de Jonge

Carol Kingdon

Zoe Matthews

Alexandra Severns

Gill Thomson

Anastasia Topalidou

Alison Wright

Naseerah Akooji

Marie-Clare Balaam

Jo Cull

Lauri van den Berg

Nicola Crossland

Claire Feeley

Beata Franso

Steph Heys

Gill Moncrieff

Rebecca Nowland

Arni Sarian

Maria Booker

Jane Sandall

Jim Thornton

Tisian Lynskey-Wilkie

Vanessa Wilson

Rebecca Abe

Tinuke Awe

Toyin Adeyinka

Ruth Bender-Atik

Lia Brigante

Rebecca Brione

Franka Cadée

Elizabeth Duff

Tim Draycott

Duncan Fisher

Annie Francis

Arie Franx

M.C. Erasmus

Lucy Frith

Louise Griew

Clea Harmer

Caroline Homer

Marian Knight

Amanda Mansfield

Neil Marlow

Trixie Mcaree

David Monteith

Keith Reed

Yana Richens

Lucia Rocca-Ihenacho

Mary Ross-Davie

Seana Talbot

Myles Taylor

Maureen Treadwell


The national health care response to coronavirus (COVID-19) has varied between countries. The United Kingdom (UK) and the Netherlands (NL) have comparable maternity and neonatal care systems, and experienced similar numbers of COVID-19 infections, but had different organisational responses to the pandemic. Understanding why and how similarities and differences occurred in these two contexts could inform optimal care in normal circumstances, and during future crises.

To compare the UK and Dutch COVID-19 maternity and neonatal care responses in three key domains: choice of birthplace, companionship, and families in vulnerable situations.

A multi-method study, including documentary analysis of national organisation policy and guidance on COVID-19, and interviews with national and regional stakeholders.

Both countries had an infection control focus, with less emphasis on the impact of restrictions, especially for families in vulnerable situations. Differences included care providers’ fear of contracting COVID-19; the extent to which community- and personalised care was embedded in the care system before the pandemic; and how far multidisciplinary collaboration and service-user involvement were prioritised.

We recommend that countries should 1) make a systematic plan for crisis decision-making before a serious event occurs, and that this must include authentic service-user involvement, multidisciplinary collaboration, and protection of staff wellbeing 2) integrate women’s and families’ values into the maternity and neonatal care system, ensuring equitable inclusion of the most vulnerable and 3) strengthen community provision to ensure system wide resilience to future shocks from pandemics, or other unexpected large-scale events.


van den Berg, L. M., Balaam, M., Nowland, R., Moncrieff, G., Topalidou, A., Thompson, S., …Treadwell, M. (2023). The United Kingdom and the Netherlands maternity care responses to COVID-19: A comparative study. Women and Birth, 36(1), 127-135.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 31, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 5, 2022
Publication Date 2023-02
Deposit Date Feb 13, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 13, 2023
Journal Women and Birth
Print ISSN 1871-5192
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 1
Pages 127-135
Keywords COVID-19, Maternal Health Services, Newborn Care, Infection Control, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Policy Drivers


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