Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates: Maternity Services

As a maternity service we acknowledge the impact the Coronavirus restrictions have had on those who use our services during each stage of pregnancy, birth and after birth. We understand what a difficult time this has been and the challenges that continue, and want to work with you to ensure that we keep everyone safe and that you have the right support. 

We are committed to ensuring we work within the Government’s recommendations and have listened to the needs of our women/birthing people and their families; with this in mind we have revised our current restrictions regarding visiting.  

 

Pregnancy and the Covid-19 vaccine

Please see this factsheet on pregnancy and the Covid-19 vaccination from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. Vaccination is now being offered to pregnant women at the same time as the rest of the population, based on age and clinical risk. 

 

Visiting maternity during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Hospital antenatal and scan appointments        

  • You will be offered a routine ultrasound scan when you are 12 weeks, 20 weeks and 36 weeks pregnant, and additional scans when clinically indicated. One support person is welcome to accompany you to all your antenatal scans.
  • We understand the importance of partners attending antenatal appointments but our waiting rooms and some of our clinics (particularly the Day Assessment and the Antenatal Clinic) do not have the capacity for social distancing, and your partners will be asked to wait outside until the appointment time or until you are moved to a different area. Only women and birthing people will be able to attend appointments in the Day Assessment Unit.
  • Provisions are made for those requiring interpreting services, or need an advocate for health or psychosocial care needs, but we need to know this in advance to plan appropriately.  Alternatively, you may be offered a phone or video consultation instead of a face to face appointment with your Obstetrician.
  • All companions will be asked to wear a surgical face mask at all times whilst inside the hospital and follow social distancing rules.
  • Please do not bring children to any appointments.

 

Support during labour and birth and in postnatal period

  • During your stay on the Delivery Suite or the Birth Centre, we welcome one named birth partner to be present.
  • During your stay on the Maternity Ward, we welcome one named support person from 10am until 10pm.  We would encourage your support person to go home overnight to ensure they have some sleep and to return the following day refreshed to support you. However, if you feel you require additional support during the night, your support person is welcome to stay.
  • Whilst in the hospital birth partners must wear a surgical mask.
  • If you are admitted for an elective caesarean section or induction of labour we will welcome your birth partner to attend the maternity unit with you, irrespective of the time.
  • Unfortunately, at this time other visitors (including children) are not able to visit you if you are admitted to hospital.
  • If birthing at home, we recommend that you observe the same restrictions and limit your birthing companions to one person.

 

Neonatal Unit

  • Within our Neonatal service, we believe that it is essential that both parents are there to be partners in their baby’s care.
  • Access times for parents are not restricted and you will have 24 hour access to your baby.
  • At this time we are not allowing other visitors or siblings to come to the Neonatal units, to ensure the safety of all our babies is maintained.
  • We will be encouraging parents to perform twice weekly lateral flow tests as the national restrictions ease.
  • You will be provided with a mask and be asked to wash your hands on entering the unit and be given clear guidance on how to keep your baby safe.

 

Testing for Covid-19

We encourage all pregnant people to perform a home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test twice weekly throughout their pregnancy.

In additon to this, we recommend that all pregnant people and their support person perform a test up to 24 hours before attending our services. This includes for ultrasound scans, antenatal clinic, meet the midwife, and induction of labour admission. This is applicable even where a covid-19 vaccine has been received. 

The pregnant person and support person should confirm the test result with midwife, receptionist, or doctor on arrival providing proof of test result taken within last 24 hours.

Order your LFD tests

You are able to order tests online for yourself and your family for free, or visit a community testing site. A new Pharmacy Collect service is also launching, which will enable people aged 18 and over, without symptoms, to visit a participating pharmacy and collect a box of seven LFD tests to use at home. If you test at home you will need to register your results online (instructions provided with test) or by calling 119.

If you are the pregnant person and your test result is positive

You should self-isolate if your LFD test is positive and order a confirmatory Covid test, known as a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. You can order a PCR test on the GOV.uk website.

If you test positive for coronavirus and have an appointment coming up or need to be seen at the hospital for any reason please contact:

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Maternity Helpline

Phone: 0208 236 4491

Monday-Friday, 10 am-5pm

Before 10am and after 5pm please contact the Delivery Suite at the hospital you have your appointment with. Contact details are below:

University Hospital Lewisham Delivery Suite

0208 333 3026

Queen Elizabeth Hospital  Delivery Suite

0208 836 4522/4523

If you are the pregnant person and have symptoms of coronavirus

If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms please contact the hospital prior to attending.

  • High temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

If you are the support person and your test result is positive

If you are a support person and your LFD test is positive, you will need to isolate immediately and order a PCR test on the GOV.uk website. The pregnant person can then select an alternative support person who has a negative LFD test.

What is no LFD test is undertaken by the support person?

If you are the support person and have no proof of a negative test, you may accompany the pregnant person only if you wear PPE and observe social distancing. If you decline these safety measures, you will not be able to accompany the pregnant person to the appointment. 

 

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 email the following information to: LG.e-midwife@nhs.net or telephone 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.


What to do if you think your labour has started

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

All parent education classes and tours of labour ward have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. We have been offering some information sessions virtually on our social media feeds through Edie the e-midwife (see below for more information). We have also filmed virtual tours of our maternity services at University Hospital Lewisham. Virtual tours of Queen Elizabeth Hospital will be available soon.

 

Homebirth Service

Our homebirth service is up and running as usual.

Greenwich Birth Centre

The Greenwich Birth Centre remains open in its usual capacity. 
 

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/first trimester screening scan

Booking blood tests, height, weight, blood pressure checks and Midstream Specimen of Urine (MSU) sample

 

16 weeks gestation

Telephone consultation

Confirmation of booking blood test 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 you are feeling unwell.

 

20 weeks gestation

Hospital appointment

Anomaly scan (sonographer)

Face to face midwifery appointment

Review ultrasound scan

Urinalysis and blood pressure check

 

28 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, blood pressure check, abdominal palpation, symphysial fundal height, full blood count, 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, symphysial fundal height, confirmation of next appointment date (midwife and maternity support worker)

 

36 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, BP, abdominal palpation, symphysial fundal height, confirmation of next appointment date (midwife and maternity support worker)

 

38 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, blood pressure check, abdominal palpation, symphysial fundal height, confirmation of next appointment date (midwife and maternity support worker)

 

40 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, blood pressure check, abdominal palpation, symphysial fundal height, membrane sweep, confirmation of next appointment date (midwife and maternity support worker)

 

41 weeks gestation

Local Community Hub

Urinalysis, blood pressure check, abdominal palpation, symphysial fundal height, membrane sweep, offer induction of labour (midwife)

 

 

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 information for pregnant women and their families surrounding Covid-19.

 

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.

 

Maternity discharge 

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


 

See, hear, respond, Barnado's

Best Beginnings and Barnado’s have teamed up to provide expectant and new parents with advice and support during the Covid-19 pandemic, all free of charge, without needing to leave home. They provide:

Online advice and Support

Daily information, access to hundreds of films and to other support including the confidential 24/7 crisis messenger text line. This is delivered via the RCM endorsed and NHS approved Baby Buddy app.

Group Work 

A series of three antenatal or postnatal sessions with other parents or parents-to-be covering a range of topics; including managing anxiety and stress to understanding your baby.  The sessions are run by two experienced facilitators one of which will be a midwife or an antenatal educator.

Therapeutic support

For parents that would benefit from one-to-one support, three hours of free customised support delivered by phone, or online by experienced practitioners.

If you are struggling with anxiety or difficult circumstances and need some extra help, sign up for three hours of free one-on-one support customized to suit your needs. Please follow this link for more information and to sign up: bestbeginnings.org.uk/see-hear-respond

 

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

 

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

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):

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