Latest maternity visiting guidelines
Our priority at all times has been the safety of mums to be and their babies. We recognise the important role of a partner during the maternity experience, and are delighted to be able to welcome partners to all ultrasound scans and antenatal clinic appointments, providing they have had a negative lateral flow test (LFT), from Monday 19th April 2021.
To continue to ensure the safety of our families and our staff, partners will be required to wear masks provided on entry to the hospital, we still ask that children don’t attend, and social distancing must be maintained during waiting times.
The full guidance for partner / support person and visitor attendance in our maternity inpatient areas, together with how to access LFT testing, are outlined below.
Coronavirus - Maternity visiting restrictions
- One birth partner can attend all ultrasound scan appointments either in the hospital or in a community setting.
- One birth partner can be present when in labour and admitted to the delivery suite.
- One birth partner will be invited to attend Triage with you for assessment in labour and remain with you for support during labour, birth and for the first few hours following birth.
- One birth partner may attend the antenatal ward to offer support during the induction of labour process from 10am - 6pm.
- One birth partner may attend the antenatal ward (for women who are not in labour/ IOL) 4pm-6pm.
- One birth partner may attend the postnatal ward for 1 x 2 hour session either at 10am -12pm or 4pm-6pm. The ward staff will guide you to the most appropriate visiting time.
We acknowledge how difficult these restrictions will be to families.
However, we have to reduce the risk of transmission of Coronavirus to all our mums, babies, families and staff.
We ask for your understanding and co-operation at this time. Please attend any appointments as recommended by your midwife and/or Consultant Obstetrician.
Maternity and partner testing
From Monday 19 April, partners will be able to accompany patients to all hospital antenatal appointments and scans, subject to both patient and partner bringing evidence of a negative COVID-19 test to show staff (and ID for your partner). There are a couple of exceptions, including glucose tolerance tests and early pregnancy appointments. Your partner may need to wait outside until your appointment, to help us maintain social distancing, but you will be advised on the day. We also ask that you both please wear a surgical face mask when visiting our sites. These are provided at all entrances if needed.
Regardless of whether you have any symptoms of COVID-19, we will need to test both you and your partner ahead of the appointment/scan if you would like them to accompany you.
Test results, whether positive or negative, will impact how we manage your care, and indicates if it is safe for you and others if your partner accompanies you. More information about testing is available below.
Partners are also able to attend fetal medicine outpatient appointments and may be with you during birth. Where there are exceptional circumstances, these will need to be discussed in advance and agreed by the clinical team.
How to get your test
You and your partner will be required to have a lateral flow test (LFT) test 24-48 hours (then isolate if possible, if you have a negative result) before you both attend your antenatal scan or appointment. This is a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.
Lateral flow testing is available at testing sites across Worcestershire. Book a test in one of the testing sites
Community collection of home testing kits
Everyone in England can now access free, regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.
Home testing kits can be collected from any of the rapid testing sites listed here
Free regular Lateral flow tests are available from participating pharmacies across Worcestershire
To have a test in one of the participating pharmacies, you must be over 12 years of age and have no symptoms of COVID-19.
Your partner may not be allowed in the building until the time of your scan or appointment, even if their test is negative, so that we can maintain social distancing in our waiting rooms.
What does it mean if I have a negative result?
A negative result means, that at the time the swab was taken, no COVID-19 could be detected. However, it does not tell you if you have already had the infection.
You must still take precautions, such as maintaining social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask to help prevent infection.
My support partner and I tested negative
If your support partner and you both receive a negative test result then they can accompany you at your appointment. This is subject to the normal restrictions that they must not be self-isolating following coming in to contact with a confirmed case or displaying any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
What does it mean for my appointment if I have a positive result?
If you have a positive result we may need to rebook your appointment, but this will be looked at on a case by case basis.
I tested positive but my support partner tested negative. What does this mean?
If your support partner has been in contact with you within the last 48 hours then they will be legally required to self-isolate for 10 days.
Your appointment may need to be re-booked for after the 10-day period as you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days following a positive test, but this will be looked at on an individual basis and you may be invited to the Covid area to complete your appointment.
My support partner tested positive
If your support partner tests positive, they will not be able to accompany you at this time and must self-isolate at home, in line with national guidance.
My support partner doesn’t want to be tested
If your support partner declines the test then they will not be able to accompany you.
What about if I have tested positive in the last 90 days?
If you are able to show evidence of a positive test result in the last 90 days (not including the last 10 days in which you would be required to self-isolate), and you have no symptoms, then you will not need to be tested. This is because if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days and are not in a current isolation period, you have developed antibodies to the virus and your next test result could continue to appear as positive, even though you are no longer symptomatic or contagious.
What does a positive test result mean?
It is unclear what the significance of a positive screening result is in the absence of any symptoms. It may mean that:
- you have had a mild infection in the last 28 days
- you could have a current infection without symptoms that you have noticed, or
- you could be incubating COVID-19 and may develop symptoms in a few days.
Following a positive test result you will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days and the Public Health England stay-at-home guidance should be followed for you and anyone you live with.
What effect does coronavirus have on pregnant women and babies?
You can find more information on pregnancy and coronavirus on the NHS website.
Whilst visiting the hospital we would like to ask all birth partners to follow the advice below:
Advice for birth partners attending the hospital
- You will be asked to clean/rub your hands with the alcohol-based gel when you arrive and leave.
- You will be asked to wear a face mask. Surgical masks are provided at all site entrances and should be worn on entering the hospital. You may be asked to wear additional protective garments by staff if you are entering a Covid area.
- Social distancing must be maintained during waiting times.
- You will be asked a series of questions by the staff and have your temperature checked. This is normal in the current times and is intended to try and make sure that everyone stays safe.
- Part of the process of being a designated visitor for someone in hospital includes being asked to provide your contact details; this is to assist Public Health, Trace and Protect colleagues should there be a need to contact you.
- Please understand that staff are being asked to put in place restrictions for everyone’s safety. Abuse of staff for seeking to manage the visiting restrictions (or for any reason) will not be tolerated and anyone abusing staff will be asked to leave the maternity unit.
- Please do not to bring in food parcels, flowers, helium balloons or similar items
- Please do not visit if:
- You have felt unwell recently – especially with a cough, breathlessness, tiredness, a temperature, vomiting or diarrhoea
- You have been in contact with someone, in the past 14 days, who is suspected of having or is confirmed as having COVID-19.
Dear Mums-to-be and family
Continuation of Maternity Services during COVID-19 outbreak
We appreciate that this is a worrying time for you and your family. In Worcestershire the maternity services team have been working hard to plan how our services will continue to provide safe care during the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to provide all of our essential services, either face-to-face, or via telephone or video call.
For women who require additional appointments for ultrasound scan and/or monitoring these appointments will continue and you will be advised when these should be completed.
Should you require any additional care following any of these appointments, this will be arranged on an individual basis.
If you have any queries regarding your appointment please contact your midwifery team who will be able to clarify the details of your appointment.
What should you do if you are unwell or self-isolating and have a scheduled appointment?
If you are unwell or you are self-isolating and have an appointment with either your community midwife, clinic or ultrasound department please do NOT attend and contact the midwife or department to make alternative arrangements. Please be assured that we will rearrange your appointment or make arrangements for you to attend the hospital.
There will be no community based parent education or breast feeding support sessions during this time, in line with social distancing advice. We would recommend you access reputable sites for guidance on these matters, or phone your community midwife for advice. We have also taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend our tongue tie service.
We have identified an area where we can safely isolate mothers and babies who may have been in contact with, or have screened positive for, COVID-19. All women who have chosen to have their babies at the hospital will be cared for on our delivery suite during this period. For those women who had planned to have their baby on Meadow Birth Centre, access to water for labour and birth will be available and if your pregnancy and labour remains uncomplicated you will be cared for by a team of midwives.
Birthing partners can be present during the birth, but during this difficult time we will not be able to support partners to stay on the postnatal ward overnight.
After you have had your baby, we will aim to discharge you within the first 24 hours to minimise the risks of exposure from other members of the public. We would ask you to make arrangements as soon as possible so that once your discharge is completed there is no delay in leaving the ward area. We will visit you at home once to complete the essential neonatal screening. All other contacts will be done by the telephone and if there is a clinical concern a face to face visit will be arranged on an individualised basis.
Further advice on social distancing measures can be found on the government internet page, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
We would advise you to follow the most recent Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) guidance, https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/
You will be aware from media coverage that advice and guidance is constantly changing in line with new developments and the advice of experts. We will be keeping up-to-date with any changes in guidance and will communicate to you via the Trust website and this will also be available from your community midwife.
Support for Black, Asian and minority ethnic women during coronavirus
As a pregnant woman from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background, you may feel worried about coronavirus. Your local maternity team is still here to help you, so contact them as you would normally. They will be working together with you and providing you with support during this unprecedented time.
Our maternity services are based at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where we recently opened our new midwife-led Meadow Birth Centre and an additional maternity ward.
Here, our midwives, children's doctors and obstetricians (doctors who look after women in childbirth) provide high standards of care to suit your individual needs. Our service has been nationally recognised by the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative for our approach to promoting breastfeeding and for the safety and quality of our service. We also work to national guidance on providing better births in Worcestershire.
We’ll care for you throughout your pregnancy, and you will usually be able to attend antenatal clinics and day assessment appointments at whichever of our hospitals is most convenient for you.