The Victorian government has changed its advice to expectant parents, saying there is no limit on how long partners can remain with new mothers after they give birth.
On Thursday, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said a woman giving birth could have their partner or a support person "with her for as long as is required for the entire labour and birth".
"Then their partner or support person is able to be with them for a two-hour visit after the baby is born," she said.
A state government spokeswoman on Friday clarified the changes referred to visitors in the days after birth.
Visitor numbers are capped at one, for a maximum of two hours.
The change was made to ensure consistency after some hospitals were reportedly not allowing any pre or postnatal visits.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he understood the mixed-messaging would have caused distress for expectant parents.
"I absolutely understand the distress. Someone who feels like they can't be there for the most critical time in their partner's life and indeed in their life, it must be a distressing element," he told reporters on Friday.
President of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Dr Vijay Roach was glad the government changed its position.
"Kudos to the government to responding to the concern," he told ABC Radio National on Friday.
"When we are talking about pregnancy and pregnant woman they have particular needs, there is increased anxiety and it's a really important bonding time when someone gives birth, so we felt it was important to emphasise after the birth their partner was able to stay with them for as long as appropriate."
Opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said she was also concerned for fathers, who need to be able to bond with their newborn baby, if they are only allowed two hour visits in the days after birth.
The measures are part of efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 in health and aged care settings.
Other hospital visits have been capped at one person per patient for one hour per day, with exceptions for parents with children in hospital and visitors of patients in palliative care.