NWAnglia Maternity Services during Covid-19

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Firstly we’d like to acknowledge that this is a difficult time for many pregnant women and their partners. The uncertainty and changing restrictions can be very challenging to navigate. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to support you during your pregnancy, whilst also keeping our staff as safe as possible.

We are very proud that our teams have managed to maintain some of the highest levels of access for women and birthing partners in the region and this is something we have worked really hard to achieve, recognising how important it is to our women and families. We’d like to thank all our staff for their hard work to make this happen.

We are now able to slightly increase the access for women and birthing partners to have support, which includes:

  • Early Pregnancy scans - lateral flow testing for partners is required, read more here.
  • All consultant appointments
  • All Antenatal day unit appointments

Birthing partners can continue to:

  • Be present for dating, anomaly and growth scans

  • Support you throughout labour

  • Visit from 8am – 8pm on the ward – either during pregnancy or after your baby has been born.

We would also like to reiterate the following:

  • Please wear a face covering, preferably a surgical mask when in corridors and communal areas, and when a member of staff is present in the room with you, this helps protect both our mums, birthing partners and staff
    • Women and birthing people in labour are not required to wear a mask at any time
  • Remember to maintain the 2 metre social distance from staff within the room/bay 
  • Remain at the bedside for the duration of the stay and do not wander around the unit or in the women’s and children’s atrium
  • Curtains will be drawn as a protective measure between yourselves and other patients / visitors
  • Be aware that birthing partners may be requested to leave the bed space if a situation arises or a procedure is being undertaken that would mean social distancing could not be maintained 

  • No children in the unit unless it’s for their appointment

We aim to continue to keep you informed at all times and appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times.

Changes to our visiting arrangements will be shared on our website and Facebook pages, and changes may need to be made at short notice based on the rapidly changing situation we face. We aim to continue to keep you informed at all times and appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times.

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The Maternity Covid-19 helpline has been reactivated. If you have any questions or queries relating to Covid-19 please phone the number below, we are happy to advise.

The new helpline number is 07766253920 and will be open Monday-Friday between 9am-3pm.

Please note that our general maternity helpline is still open and operating as normal for any queries that are not related to Coronvirus.

The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

The main symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19 are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough 
  • a loss, or a change in, your normal sense of smell or taste

If you think you have Coronavirus, please stay at home and use the 119 online Coronavirus service for further advice. 

Staying at home (self-isolation) 

If your symptoms are mild then the advice is to stay at home isolated for 10 days.  Any other members of the same household must remain at home in self-isolation for 14 days.

Visit the NHS Coronavirus information to find out more about self-isolation

To help stop the spread of Coronavirus it is good practice to: 

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using or coming into contact with public services. In the absence of soap and water please use a hand sanitiser gel. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Keep to the Social Distance Guidelines
  • Carry with you tissues, in order to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue after use and wash your hands thoroughly. 

Urgent Care

Please do not delay seeking advice. If you have any concerns about your baby’s movements, are unwell, or in pain or bleeding. Let us know when you call if you or your household are self-isolating or have symptoms of fever or cough.

Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms.

Rapid lateral flow tests help to find cases in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can give the virus to others.

These tests are now available for all adults in the UK, so we recommend that women attending prenatal appointments/scans and nominated partners test themselves twice a week – preferably within 48 hours of attending. Women who are inpatients are tested for COVID-19 by the maternity team.

For nominated birth partners visiting our postnatal wards, you will be asked if you have had a rapid lateral flow test with a negative result as part of a risk assessment when you arrive. Please ensure you take a photo of your test result which you can show on the day.

NHS England has provided frequently asked questions about rapid lateral flow testing which are available to read online here.

Getting your rapid lateral flow tests 

A free pack of 7 tests per household can be ordered to your home from the gov.uk website (see the ‘start now’ button).

You can also collect up to 2 packs of 7 tests (14 in total) for free from a local pharmacy – please visit the gov.uk to find a pharmacy near you.

Alternatively you can visit a local test site for a free rapid lateral flow test or collect 2 packs of 7 tests from a local test site – please visit the gov.uk to find a test site near you.

We are now able to slightly increase the access for women and birthing partners to have support, which includes:

  • Early Pregnancy scans - lateral flow testing for partners is required
  • All consultant appointments
  • All Antenatal day unit appointments
Birthing partners can continue to:
  • Be present for dating, anomaly and growth scans

  • Support you throughout labour

  • Visit from 8am – 8pm on the ward – either during pregnancy or after your baby has been born.
Community midwife led appointments - We are working hard with our community partners to be able to welcome partners back to all community appointments. As soon as this is possible, we will share the news via our social media channels and website. 

Your appointments will still take place, please let us know in advance that you are self-isolating due to personal symptoms (high temperature and/or new continuous cough) or symptoms within your household. Your planned appointment/visit will be reviewed in terms of its urgency and either converted to a remote appointment (i.e. telephone) or deferred. Where an urgent face to face appointment is required and individualised plan will be put in place to facilitate this.

We are now able to slightly increase the access for women and birthing partners to have support, which includes:

  • Early Pregnancy scans - lateral flow testing for partners is required
  • All consultant appointments
  • All Antenatal day unit appointments
Birthing partners can continue to:
  • Be present for dating, anomaly and growth scans

  • If you have no symptoms of coronavirus please attend your antenatal appointments as usual unless you are contacted directly by your community midwife
  • Please contact your community midwives directly for all queries regarding appointments and where they are taking place as circumstances will be changing daily
  • Please note that GP surgeries and Children’s Centres are likely to be reviewing access to them over the coming weeks and months so location of appointments may change over this period
We will aim to adhere to your birth preferences. However, we respectfully ask, please only bring one birth partner only. This birth partner must be the same person throughout your labour and cannot not leave the unit to smoke or fetch refreshments. Please ensure that you bring supplies of snacks with you for your partner. We will provide hot and cold drinks. You partner can stay with you for the duration of your stay during labour only. Your birth partner will be asked to leave prior to your transfer to the postnatal wards. 

If you have suspected or confirmed Coronavirus, staff providing care will need to move you to isolation area and wear protective equipment before giving care. In an emergency this may cause a short delay. Staff have been trained putting on this equipment safely to reduce the impact of this on you and your baby.

  • Partners have been able to remain throughout the labour and for a period of time afterwards until the birthing women and baby move back to the inpatient ward.  Where this falls within the visiting times then the partner is able to stay and move to the inpatient area
    • If you have a birthing doula they are welcome to attend as your one birthing partner
    • Coloured wrist bands are given to your nominated birth partner to easily identify them to staff. This is to ensure that there is minimal exposure to the virus by reducing the number of visitors.

  • If you're having a C-section your birthing partner can arrive with you at 7:30am and will be able to remain with you and baby until 8pm that evening. They can return during normal visiting hours the next day. Your partner can accompany you to theatres and can also be in the theatre, recovery and travel back with you to the inpatient ward. 
    • Due to the demands on our service at this time, there is a possibility that we may need to move planned births to a different day at short notice. This may include;
      • Attending on a different day to originally planned 
      • Giving birth at either of our sites. (Peterborough or Hinchingbrooke Hospitals) Thank you for your understanding and patience.

  • If you have suspected or confirmed Coronavirus, staff providing care will need to move you to isolation area and wear protective equipment before giving care. In an emergency this may cause a short delay. 

  • We have visiting in place from 8am-8pm where the birthing partner can be present for all of this time, but overnight stays aren’t possible

  • Induction of Labour; the birth partner will be able to be present for the whole of the visiting time. Where the labour is progressing we will move the birthing woman to the labour ward so that partners can stay 

  • On a case by case basis where additional support is required we can make arrangements for the birth partner to be present throughout the stay. 

No visitors will be permitted to stay overnight during this time.

 

  • If you are in labour you should call the maternity unit for advice
  • If your intended birthing partner has symptoms, or has been in contact with a confirmed case, they will not be able to visit in any area of the maternity unit
  • If you have mild coronavirus/ COVID-19 symptoms you should remain at home in early labour as per standard practice but call the maternity unit first for advice
  • You should come to the hospital in private transport (your own car or someone else giving you a lift) where possible or call 111/999 for advice as appropriate. If an ambulance is required, the call handler should be informed that you are currently in self-isolation for possible coronavirus/COVID-19
  • You should alert a member of maternity staff that you have arrived at the hospital, remain in your car and phone the labour ward for instructions before you enter the hospital. You can do this by phoning the labour ward

The ability to staff a home service will be monitored on a daily basis. If you are self-isolating or have confirmed COVID-19 you are advised to attend the hospital for your delivery. The effect of labour on your baby during COVID-19 is not known. Therefore it is essential for you to be at the hospital for monitoring of you and your baby.