Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates: Maternity Services

There will be many changes to our normal maternity services as we respond appropriately to national guidance on Covid-19. However, we would like to reassure you that we will continue to provide outstanding maternity care and prioritise your safety.

We are taking extra care in how we are looking after all women who use our services to make sure that they stay safe. We have created separate areas and are following government guidance to care for those who have or are suspected to have coronavirus.  This ensures that those women who are unaffected are also kept safe and well. 
 

Coronavirus and Pregnancy

In general, it is expected that the large majority of pregnant women with Covid-19 will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms. There is no evidence that pregnant women who get this infection are more at risk of serious complications than any other healthy individuals. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have published the following guidance which you may find useful:

If you think you may have symptoms of Covid-19 you should use the NHS 111 online service for information.

If you develop more severe symptoms or you do not start to feel better within 1-2 weeks this may be a sign that you are developing a more significant chest infection that requires enhanced care and you should contact your maternity care team:

University Hospital Lewisham: Tel 020 8333 3026
Queen Elizabeth Hospital: Tel 020 8836 6180

As a precaution, you should follow government advice about social isolation; stay away from public places and avoid anyone who has symptoms suggestive of Covid-19. Please refer to the current guidance on social isolation both for yourself and your household. 

If you are self-isolating, you can get support with collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies from a Volunteer Responder.


Homebirth Service

We are pleased to inform you that after a temporary suspension due to Covid-19, our homebirth service is now back up and running. The maternity service is committed to offering a choice to you about where you birth your baby and therefore offering the option to woman of a homebirth is important to us.

It is important to ensure that the service we are offering is safe and we have been reassured by London Ambulance Service that their response time to a 999 call is now much improved and therefore are confident of a timely response if you needed to be transferred into hospital.

A second reason for suspending the homebirth service in March was due to increased sickness levels of midwives. We are pleased to say this has also improved and therefore now we feel confident that we can provide this service.

There is a possibility of a second peak in the future and we will ensure that we keep you all informed if further changes need to be made

Thank you all for staying at home and keeping yourselves safe at this very difficult and frightening time. We are seeing very few women with Covid-19 symptoms which is due to you all isolating yourselves.

Please contact the Maternity Helpline on 020 8836 4491 for further advice.

 

Please keep us informed

It is important for your care and safety that you let us know if you have confirmed or suspected Covid-19, or if anyone you live with is self-isolating because they have symptoms. Please send the following information to this email address: LG.e-midwife@nhs.net or ring 020 8836 4491:

  • Name
  • MRN No / NHS No
  • How many weeks pregnant are you?
  • Date of next appointment:
  • When is your baby due?

A midwife will contact you the next working day to discuss your care and any maternity appointments or scans that you may miss if you need to stay at home. These will be rescheduled only if it is necessary to protect you or for the safety of others.

 

22 April 2020: Video Update

Helen Knower, Director of Midwifery, and Charlotte Carter, one of our Obstetric Consultants, have recorded the video below to explain to you the changes that have been made to maternity services in response to Covid-19. It covers the following: 

  • Changes to consultant antenatal clinics, including virtual clinics and ‘at home’ blood pressure monitoring
  • Our current visiting policy at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham
  • When to come in to hospital
  • Our birth centres
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

 

 

Appointments

  • If you, or anyone in your household have any symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 (fever or a persistent cough), please do not come into the hospital.
  • Please do not bring any children with you to the hospital. They will not be allowed to accompany you to your appointment and you’ll be asked to reschedule. Children are often carriers of Covid-19 and can easily spread it whilst not displaying any symptoms themselves.
  • Only you will be able to enter the maternity department, your partner/relative will need to remain outside the department.
  • Women attending for ultrasound scans are requested to attend alone.
  • Some appointments will now be done by telephone rather than face-to-face. We will let you know if this applies to your appointment.
  • All parent education classes and tours of labour ward have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. We are looking into ways of delivering them virtually – please follow our social media feeds (Edie e-midwife on Facebook) and see our virtual parent education page.


Greenwich Birth Centre

The Greenwich birth centre remains open in its usual capacity. The situation is fluid and may change, so please continue to check this page for any updates that may affect your care. We continue to closely monitor the ongoing pandemic and how it appears to be affecting our local community.

 

Visiting Restrictions

One named person will be able to accompany you in labour as long as they are symptom free. No visitors are allowed on to the maternity wards.

If you require your labour to be induced your named birth partner will be able to join you once labour has started.

Please do not allow any other member of your household to attend the hospital at any time, including if you are in labour if they are showing symptoms or are self-isolating


Labour Ward / Triage

If you think your labour has started, or you need to attend the hospital due to an emergency or concern about the baby, please call us and a member of staff will advise you where and when to come in:

University Hospital Lewisham: tel 020 8333 3026  
Queen Elizabeth Hospital: tel 020 8836 6180

 

Domestic violence and coronavirus

Click here for information on organisations providing domestic abuse support locally during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Where should my baby sleep?

Please see the video below from NHS England on safe sleeping after discharge.

 

Maternity discharge 

Please see the video below which aims to answer some of the questions you have may as a new parent. 


 

Revised schedule of antenatal care

During the current pandemic we would like to reassure you that you will still receive antenatal care from a midwife. The way we deliver that care, however, will change.

Where it is practical to do so your appointments will be conducted by phone and where clinical care is needed we will arrange to see you face-to-face.

Please see the revised schedule of care below:

 

10 weeks gestation

Telephone consultation

Full medical, social and obstetric history taken

 

12 weeks gestation

Hospital appointment

Dating/1st trimester screening scan

Booking bloods, height, weight, BP & MSU

 

16 weeks gestation

Telephone consultation

Confirmation of booking blood results, welfare conversation, confirmation of ‘Local Hub’ location and contact details for future face to face appointments and ongoing care, telephone helpline number and how to obtain urgent care if feeling unwell.

 

20 weeks gestation

Hospital appointment

Anomaly scan (sonographer)

Face 2 Face midwifery appointment

Review USS

Urinalysis & BP

 

28 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, BP, Abdominal Palpation, SFH plotted, FBC /confirmation of next appointment date (midwife and maternity support worker)

Rh Negative women for 28 week appointment at the hospital (A/N check and bloods)

 

32 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, BP, Abdominal Palpation, SFH plotted, confirmation of next appointment date (midwife and maternity support worker)

 

36 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, BP, Abdominal Palpation, SFH plotted, confirmation of next appointment date (midwife and maternity support worker)

 

38 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, BP, Abdominal Palpation, SFH plotted, confirmation of next appointment date (midwife and maternity support worker)

 

40 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, BP, Abdominal Palpation, SFH plotted, membrane sweep, confirmation of next appointment date (midwife and maternity support worker)

 

41 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, BP, Abdominal Palpation, SFH plotted, membrane sweep, offer IOL (midwife)

 

 

 

MumsAid Greenwich – free online journaling and singing groups

Charity MumsAid Greenwich provide pregnant women and new mums with specialist emotional and mental health support. During the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, they are running free online journaling and singing groups for all mums and pregnant women. To find out more and sign up, email ali@mums-aid.org.
 

Postnatal care

During the current pandemic we would like to reassure you that you will still receive postnatal care from a midwife after you are discharged from hospital. The way we deliver that care, however, will change.

For the protection of yourself, your family and our staff we will be in touch with you by telephone the day after you leave hospital to plan your care. It is important that we have a correct contact telephone number for you. Please check the number on your discharge papers you are given is correct before you leave and inform the midwife if this needs to be changed.

Where it is practical to do so your appointments will be conducted by phone and where clinical care is needed we will arrange to see you face to face. Our midwives will not see you unless they have spoken to you by phone so please ensure your phone is switched on and that you look out for a call that could come from a mobile number, office phone or may appear as an unknown number.
 

Infant crying and how to cope

ICON provides support to help you cope with infant crying. During this challenging time stress levels at home may be increased. Please follow the ICON guidance for coping with crying. ICON stands for:

I – Infant crying is normal

C – Comforting methods can help

O – It’s OK to walk away

N – Never, ever shake a baby

See the following leaflet for information:

ICON LEAFLET [pdf] 121KB

 

Breastfeeding community groups

We have had to suspend our community breastfeeding antenatal classes until further notice. We are committed to ensuring that you still get the information that will help you make informed decisions and get the support you need to feed your babies.

We have put together a written antenatal infant feeding class with links to lots of videos and information about feeding. This is what would have been discussed if you had come to a class:

Antenatal infant feeding class [pdf] 470KB

We are also aware that some mums will find it helpful to speak to someone to get feeding support. There are a range of support options below:

  • You can get in contact with your community midwife and your health visitor.
  • The Infant Feeding team work with women who are experiencing more complex feeding issues up to 28 days post birth. This service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. If you feel you need support or advice, you can email our Infant Feeding Midwife kerstinlelubre@nhs.net, who will aim to get back to you within 48 hours. Please state your name, phone number, address, the age of your baby and outline the reason you feel you need some support
  • Other telephone support (these calls will be taken by qualified volunteers in their own homes):

National Breastfeeding Helpline: tel 030 0100 0212 (9.30am-9.30pm)
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers: tel 030 0330 5453
Breastfeeding Network: tel 030 0100 0210 (9.30am-9.30pm)
La Leche League: tel 034 5120 2918
National Childbirth Trust (NCT): tel 030 0330 0700 (8am-midnight) 
Bengali/Sylheti Line: tel 084 4856 4003

In addition, useful links to online support can be found at the bottom of our breastfeeding page.