Covid-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 Pregnancy FAQs

Updated on 2 July 2020

Advice and guidance for expectant mums, dads and birthing partners during COVID-19

Expecting a baby and welcoming them into the world is a life changing event. It brings excitement and joy, but also uncertainty and lots of questions.

So when you add a pandemic into that mix, we understand that expectant mums and dads and birthing partners will have a lot more questions to ask and reassurance they want to seek.

The Women, Children's and Family Care Group covers a wide range of healthcare services provided to pregnant women and new-born babies, whether it's at Noble's Hospital or our professionals out in the community.

The team is here to help and has worked hard to put in place measures to ensure that expectant mums and dads, baby and our staff are as safe as possible as the Island deals with COVID-19.

We have had to work quickly to adapt our services and really appreciate the patience our expectant mums and dads have shown at this challenging time.

We have received lots of questions, and have pulled these together into a list, along with the answers. We hope these common queries address any questions you may have. But if you would like any additional information or guidance, please call us on 650030. Alternatively you can speak to your community midwife or GP.

These questions are written from the point of views of expectant mums – but are also intended to help expectant dads and birthing partners.

If I or my birthing partner already have children, what happens to them when I'm in labour?

If you or your birthing partner already have children, you'll want peace of mind that they are are being looked after whilst you're in hospital, so that you can concentrate on the birth of your baby.

You will need to make sure you have someone available to look after your children for the duration of your stay in hospital.

No childcare facilities are provided at the Jane Crookall Maternity Ward and it is not recommended that young children be present on the delivery suite. This has always been the situation and has not been affected by COVID-19.

When labour begins and I make my way to Noble's Hospital, which entrance should I use?

When you feel it's time to head to the hospital, please telephone the Jane Crookall Maternity Unit first on 650030. When you arrive, come to the main hospital entrance, where staff are on duty 24/7 to assist you.

When in labour, can my birthing partner come with me into the hospital?

Yes, your birthing partner can stay with you once your labour is established. If you're not quite there yet, they can return when the time comes.

If you have an elective caesarean section, your birthing partner can stay with you from the time you transfer to the theatre until after the baby is born and you return to the ward.

From 2 July onwards, your birthing partner will now be allowed to return to the postnatal ward with the mum and baby for a short period of time. This is to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 with the aim of protecting, you, your baby, your birthing partner, our staff and other people in the hospital.

We know this will be unsettling and not what you had hoped for, but the whole team is here to support you and your baby right through to discharge as well as when you're settling back in at home and adjusting to life with your little one.

If I am birthing alone, will a midwife be with me throughout labour and birth?

Yes, you will have a named midwife when you are admitted and we provide 1:1 care once labour is established.

Will I be tested for COVID-19 during my pregnancy, and if so, when?

Yes, we will test you for COVID-19 when you are admitted to the Jane Crookall Maternity Ward at Noble's Hospital. You will be screened using a questionnaire and a swab will be taken from your throat and from your nasal passage to screen for COVID-19. This screening takes place for every person admitted to Noble's Hospital.

Apart from when you're admitted to the ward in labour, we do not routinely swab for COVID-19 in pregnancy. We'll do a verbal 'screening' questionnaire prior to every contact you have with community midwife, at antenatal clinics, ultrasound scans, postnatal clinics or routine and emergency admissions to the Jane Crookall Maternity Ward.

If I have a caesarean section and my birthing partner leaves when I return to the ward, how will I get the support I need to look after my baby and myself?

Don't worry, we have trained midwives and midwife assistants available 24 hours a day to provide you with all the support and practical and emotional assistance you'll need to look after your baby. Meals are currently served at your bedside and you can take your baby into the bathroom should you wish, or a member of the team can keep an eye on your baby while you are in the shower. Every bed has a call bell so that you can easily summon assistance.

Can I use a birthing pool and, if so, are there any restrictions?

Yes, you are very welcome to use the birthing pool – if it is available – so long as you meet the criteria for a water birth, have no symptoms of COVID-19 and have not tested positive for the virus.

How long are birthing partners able to stay with mum and baby after the birth?

From 2 July onwards your birthing partner will now be allowed to return to the postnatal ward with the mum and baby for a short period of time. This is to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 with the aim of protecting, you, your baby, your birthing partner, our staff and other people in the hospital.

You will remain in the delivery suite for a minimum of 1 hour following the birth, before being transferred to the main ward.

We know this will be unsettling and not what you had hoped for, but the whole team is here to support you and your baby right through to discharge as well as when you're settling back in at home and adjusting to life with your little one.

Will my baby be tested for COVID-19?

We do not routinely test babies for COVID-19 following birth. Babies who are admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (SCBU), do however have a swab taken on admission.

Do I have to have a test for COVID-19 when I begin labour and am admitted to hospital? If so, will I be separated from my baby when I am having the test?

Yes, all patients admitted to Noble's Hospital have a swab taken which is tested for COVID-19.

If you are admitted in established labour, the swab may be delayed until after you have given birth.

There is no reason to separate mothers and babies providing both are well.

Am I allowed to stay with my baby if it is taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (SCBU)?

Parents are encouraged to spend as much time as practical in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (SCBU) but there are limited facilities to accommodate parents.

How long are the restrictions on a birthing partner being allowed on the ward likely to be in place?

From 2 July onwards your birthing partner will now be allowed to return to the postnatal ward with the mum and baby for a short period of time. COVID-19 measures continue to be reviewed regularly and adjustments are made as necessary.

Will I need to wear a mask during my time in hospital and will this include my birthing partner? Does this apply during labour?

If you test positive for COVID-19 you will only be required to wear a mask only when moving from one area to another. Your birthing partner will be required to wear a mask in these circumstances though and they will only be permitted to attend if symptom free.

If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 and have not tested positive for the virus, you will not be asked to wear a mask during your time in hospital or at any of your antenatal or postnatal appointments.

Our staff will wear appropriate personal protective equipment to help to protect you and your baby.

As tours of the Jane Crookall Maternity Unit for expectant parents are not available at the moment, is a virtual option being considered?

Yes, we offer a virtual tour as part of the virtual Parent Education Session.

If I have to stay in hospital, can essential items be dropped off for me by a family member or close friend?

Yes, the Jane Crookall Maternity Ward's reception is manned 24 hours a day and staff are able to collect items from the entrance for you.

What support is available if I want to breastfeed my baby?

We know breastfeeding can sometimes be daunting and intimidating for many new mums. That's why we offer support to get you and your baby off to the best start. Because of COVID-19, this support cannot be as 'hands-on' as normal.

We're available over the phone, just call us on 650030. You can also ask your community midwife and your health visitor for help and advice as part of your postnatal care. We have an Infant Feeding Coordinator who works closely with the community midwives and is available for extra support. She can be contacted on 811837.

Are any virtual antenatal classes available?

Yes, we now offer a virtual antenatal class. We will contact you with a link so you can join us in a virtual session on Microsoft Teams.

As an expectant mother, am I allowed to work around other people, or do I need to self-isolate and if so, how soon after finding out I'm pregnant?

Currently, there is no robust evidence to suggest pregnant women are more likely to become infected with COVID-19 than other healthy individuals.

It is, however, known from other respiratory infections – such as SARS – that pregnant women who contract significant respiratory infections in the third trimester are more likely to become seriously unwell.

Pregnant women have been included in the 'vulnerable' group to raise awareness of the current lack of evidence relating to this virus.

You should talk to your employer who has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all employees.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19 during your pregnancy, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and your close contacts will be traced. Any appointments scheduled during this self-isolation period will need to be re-arranged.

If you go into labour during this time we have arrangements in place to manage your care.

Can I bring personal items such as my mobile phone or a camera with me during the birth?

Yes, there are no restrictions on having mobile phones or cameras with you.

What support will be available to me if my birthing partner isn't allowed to stay with me? For example, who will look after the baby when I need to shower, or collect my meals?

Don't worry, we have trained midwives and midwife assistants available 24 hours a day to provide you with all the support and practical and emotional assistance you'll need to look after your baby. Meals are currently served at your bedside and you can take your baby into the bathroom should you wish, or a member of the team can keep an eye on your baby while you are in the shower. Every bed has a call bell so that you can easily summon assistance.

Can family and friends visit me and my baby in hospital?

No, sorry. We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and one of the most effective ways to do this is to reduce the number of people coming and going from the hospital.

Your birthing partner will be able to be with you during established labour and birth.

We know the birth of a baby is a special and joyous time, and a moment in your life that you will want to share with loved ones. We hope you understand this difficult restriction is in place to protect you, your baby, our staff and other people in the hospital.

From 2 July 2020 if you are admitted to the Jane Crookall Maternity Unit before you go into labour, you can have one essential visitor, between 6pm and 8pm each day this must be the same person each day.

Are there any changes to antenatal appointments or care?

Yes, we have had to change the way we provide a range of appointments during your pregnancy and after the birth of your baby. This is so we can protect you, your baby, our staff and other people using our services. We continue to review these changes regularly and adjustments are made as necessary.

We are following the care pathway set out by England's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. The majority of your appointments will take place in community settings – such as GP surgeries and healthcare centres – rather than at Noble's Hospital. But you'll still have access to all of the support, assessment and screening you would expect.

Are there any changes to postnatal appointments or care?

Yes, we have had to change the way we provide a range of appointments during your pregnancy and after the birth of your baby. This is so we can protect you, your baby, our staff and other people using our services.

We will not be visiting you after you return home, but are currently planning to re-introduce some home visits after birth, but the majority of care will continue to take place at the postnatal clinics. Don't worry you'll still have access to all of the support you need as you adapt to life with your new born. You will be invited to attend at least three appointments after you've returned home so that we can check in on you and baby and offer a blood spot screening test for your baby for a number of rare but serious conditions.

If I am admitted to the Jane Crookall Maternity Unit before I go into labour, can I have any visitors?

From 2 July, 2020 if you are admitted to the Jane Crookall Maternity Unit before you go into labour, you can have one essential visitor, between 6pm and 8pm each day this must be the same person each day.

There will be further changes in the next few weeks regarding antenatal appointments and ultrasound scans as outpatient services resume the new 'normal'.

Also see: COVID-19 and Pregnancy

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