This information is a combination of the national guidance and information about our local maternity service. We will update this regularly as the situation changes. 

Visit the NHS coronavirus pages for the latest information on symptoms, testing and isolation.

Pregnancy and Coronavirus - British Sign Language (NHS on YouTube)

Click here to read specific information for pregnant women issued by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. ​​​​​

Please note that visiting is restricted to a single birthing partner only across antenatal, labour and post-natal areas in all of our maternity units.

Information about the health of pregnant women who have a COVID infection and the effect for them and their babies has been collected since the start of the pandemic. There is growing evidence showing that women who are pregnant are at increased risk of serious consequences from coronavirus (COVID-19). The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have now placed all pregnant women in an “at risk” clinical risk group within the COVID-19 vaccination programme. These risks increase further if you have medical problems (like diabetes or high blood pressure) or are overweight, over 35 years old, from a Black or Asian background or are in the last trimester of pregnancy.

The vaccine may cause short-term mild side effects (such as a sore injection site or mild fever) but has been shown to be beneficial by:

  • Reducing severe disease in pregnant women (over 96% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with severe symptoms of COVID since February 2021 were unvaccinated).
  • Reduce risk of stillbirth and preterm birth for babies.
  • Reduce risk of transmission to other vulnerable people in your household, family, workplace or staff caring for you in the maternity service.

Is it safe?

Several hundred thousand pregnant women across the world have already received a COVID-19 vaccine, and no safety concerns have been identified.

  • There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines used in pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirths, congenital abnormalities or birth complications. Having a UK approved COVID-19 vaccine is safer than having COVID-19 itself.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is not “live” which means you cannot catch COVID from the vaccine, however, antibodies (the immunity that your body creates when you have the vaccine), can protect your baby by crossing through the placenta or breastmilk to your baby. Many other non-live vaccines have been safely given in pregnancy for many years (including flu and whooping cough vaccines).
  • COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant women or to a developing baby.

When should I have the vaccine?

You can have the vaccine at any stage of pregnancy or after giving birth, there is no need to wait until after the first 12 weeks. The first and second doses of the vaccine should be given 8 weeks apart and the booster dose after a further 3 months. If you have already started the vaccination course you can continue in pregnancy and will be advised to have the same type of vaccine as a second dose, even if there has been a long delay since your first vaccine. If you have recently had a COVID infection you should wait for 28 days from your first symptoms, or from your positive PCR test if were asymptomatic, before booking a vaccination.

For more information about the COVID vaccine please click here. We have also prepared a video of health professionals from across Hampshire discussing vaccination in pregnancy and whilst breast feeding. It can be accessed by clicking this link

To find our where you can get a COVID vaccination locally please call 119 or click here for more details. 

To keep our maternity units safe for everyone, including our staff, visiting guidance is in constant review and may be updated during your stay with us. Visiting is in conjunction with our inpatient policy for testing for Covid-19. You and your support partners are tested for Covid-19 on admission (PCR test). Results will be reported to you.

All support partners, visitors and siblings MUST be Covid-19 negative and have completed any recommended voluntary government isolation period, where applicable. Anyone visiting the ward MUST wear a surgical mask (unless exempt or children under 8 years of age) throughout their visit. You will also be asked to wear a surgical mask, other than when you are in labour or holding your baby.

If you are COVID positive and your support partner is visiting they must remain in your isolation room throughout your stay in the hospital. If they choose to remain in the hospital until discharged home, (please do not share the bed for infection control purposes) they must ensure they have clean clothes, food etc. If they return home, we cannot allow re-admittance to the ward.

The neonatal unit will not allow you to visit if you are Covid-19 positive, and your support partner visiting will be at the discretion of the neonatal unit – please discuss with the neonatal unit.

Antenatal ward

  • ONE support partner may stay overnight
  • Support partner will have a PCR test on first admission (repeated if admission for more than 3 days)
  • ONE visitor and siblings 4 pm to 6 pm only
  • ALL support partners, visitors and siblings must be symptom-free of Covid-19 and well, throughout their visit
  • We will ask for proof of a negative LFT undertaken on the same day as visiting, for ALL visitors on arrival to the ward. Siblings will have their temperature taken on arrival.

Postnatal ward

  • ONE support partner may stay overnight
  • Support partner will have a PCR test on first admission (repeated if admission for more than 3 days)
  • ONE visitor and siblings between 4 pm to 6 pm
  • ALL support partners, visitors and siblings must be symptom-free of Covid-19 and well, throughout their visit
  • We will ask for proof of a negative LFT taken on the same day as visiting, for ALL visitors on arrival to the ward. Siblings will have their temperature taken on arrival
  • Partners who chose to return home overnight must provide a negative LFT taken that same day on arrival to the ward.

Labour ward

  • ONE support partner – may stay throughout labour
  • Support partner and the visitor will have a PCR test on first admission (repeated if admission for more than 3 days)
  • ONE visitor and siblings may visit after the birth if requiring a stay in the labour ward for up to 2 hours
  • ALL support partners, visitors and siblings must be symptom-free of Covid-19 and well, throughout their visit
  • We will ask for proof of a negative LFT undertaken on the same day as visiting, for ALL visitors. Children will have their temperature taken on arrival.

Antenatal clinics / Maternity Day Assessment Unit & Ultrasound scanning

  • ONE support partner may accompany you to your appointment
  • NO siblings are to attend any clinic / scan appointments
  • ALL support partners, must be symptom free of Covid-19 and well
  • We will ask for proof of a negative LFT undertaken on the same day as the appointment.

 

 

updated 6.5.2022

Please see the attached information

If you are having a planned caesarean section, both yourself and your birthing partner will be asked to book COVID swabs at the hospital to be performed at the same time as your pre-assessment appointment. Following these swabs you should both isolate at home until your admission – usually 24-48 hours later.

An advice line is available for pregnant women, allowing them to speak to midwives and maternity support workers about their questions and concerns, both in terms of COVID-19 and generally.

Women should call 01962 824481 and the line will initially be open from from 0800-1600, seven days a week, with a view to extending these times in the near future.

Women should continue to call Labour Line if they are going into labour, or the Day Assessment Unit if they have immediate concerns about themselves or their babies.

Outside of the advice line hours, women should continue to call the relevant contact numbers on their maternity notes.

Please let staff know that you are self-isolating before you come to hospital or are seen by our team in the community. This is so that we can give you the best care to keep you, your baby and our team safe.

Pregnant women who are exposed to COVID-19 are not thought to be at increased risk of miscarriage. If you are less than 14 weeks pregnant and have any pain or bleeding please contact EPAU for advice.

Pregnant women are not thought to be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 virus or to be more likely to experience complications if they do have it. Please follow the current advice for self-isolating. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/ .

If you are due to see your midwife for a routine antenatal appointment please contact her in advance and let her know that you are self-isolating.  Your midwife will talk to you and decide whether you need to be seen or if your appointment can be delayed.  Your midwife will agree when and where you will have your next antenatal appointment.

If you are due to see your consultant obstetrician for a routine antenatal appointment you will be contacted by the consultant’s team. You may be able to have a telephone appointment with the consultant’s team if you don’t need to be examined. If you need a face to face appointment with the consultant before your self-isolation ends, special arrangements for you to attend your appointment will be made.

If you are under the care of a consultant and need to be seen for a specialist appointment e.g. with the diabetic team, haematology or fetal medicine, please contact our Antenatal Clinic Midwives directly for advice on: 01256 314720 for Basingstoke, or 01962 825585 for Winchester.

If you have any concerns about your pregnancy such as pain or reduced movements please contact the Day Assessment unit as usual. The midwife will give you advice and agree when and where you should be seen.
 

Giving birth

Any woman who has someone in her household who is unwell or has been self-isolating due to COVID-19 contact will be asked to come into Basingstoke to give birth in our maternity isolation area.

We have been advised that we should care for women who are unwell, or at risk of developing COVID-19, in hospital and offer them additional care in labour:

  • The current recommendation is that we ask you to have continuous fetal monitoring in labour so we can monitor your baby closely.
  • We may ask to take blood tests in labour.
  • We will encourage you to have an epidural in labour. This is to reduce the chance of you needing a general anaesthetic. Unfortunately we are not able to offer you use of the birth pool. Your midwife will talk to you about other pain relief options depending on your needs and health in labour.
  • We will delay clamping the baby’s umbilical cord for a short time when he or she is born unless there are specific reasons why this is not advisable.
  • We will have a member of our neonatal team present at the birth in case your baby may need some additional help with his or her breathing when he or she is born.
  • We will assess your baby at birth and he or she will remain with you unless you or the baby are unwell and need extra care in our high dependency or neonatal unit.
  • We will test the baby for the COVID-19 virus. We will make a specific plan with you for the care of yourself and your baby after birth. This will depend on your condition at the time, the type of birth you have and whether you and your baby need any further treatment.

We will also do these things if you are having a planned caesarean section.

At present there is no evidence that women who may have COVID-19 need to change the way they are intending to give birth. If you are seriously ill the team caring for you will make a plan for your birth with you and your birth partner.

We are strongly advising women to breastfeed as this may offer the baby additional protection and other health benefits.

You will be given advice about ways to limit the chance of baby catching the virus after birth.

Please let staff know that you have symptoms of COVID-19 before you come to hospital or are seen by our team in the community. This is so that we can give you the best care to keep you, your baby and our team safe.

Please see the NHS website for the latest advice on caring for yourself with the virus https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/ .

Most people are expected to have only mild to moderate symptoms. If you are experiencing any worrying symptoms that you cannot cope with, or you have not improved after seven days please contact NHS111 online for advice https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ .

Please contact your community midwife and let her know that you are unwell. You do not need to be seen by a midwife unless you have concerns about your pregnancy such as reduced movements.  

If you have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection you should be offered an antenatal ultrasound scan two weeks after your recovery; your community midwife will arrange this.

If you are due to have an antenatal appointment in the next 14 days please discuss this with your midwife. Your midwife will talk to you and decide whether you need to be seen or if your appointment can be delayed.  Your midwife will agree when and where you will have your next antenatal appointment.

If you are due to see your consultant obstetrician for a routine antenatal appointment you will be contacted by the consultant’s team. You may be able to delay your appointment or have a telephone appointment with the consultant’s team if you don’t need to be examined. If you need a face to face appointment with the consultant while you are unwell, special arrangements for you to attend your appointment will be made.

If you are under the care of a consultant and need to be seen for a specialist appointment e.g. with the diabetic team, haematology or fetal medicine, please contact our Antenatal Clinic Midwives directly for advice on: 01256 314720 for Basingstoke, or 01962 825585 for Winchester.

If you have any concerns about your pregnancy such as pain or reduced movements please contact the Day Assessment unit as usual. The midwife will give you advice and agree when and where you should be seen.

 

Giving birth

Any woman who is unwell due to COVID-19 or is still recovering from the virus will be asked to come into Basingstoke hospital to give birth in our maternity isolation area.

We have been advised that we should care for women who are unwell, or at risk of developing COVID-19, in hospital and offer them additional care in labour:

  • The current recommendation is that we ask you to have continuous fetal monitoring in labour so we can monitor your baby closely.
  • We may ask to take blood tests in labour.
  • We will encourage you to have an epidural in labour. This is to reduce the chance of you needing a general anaesthetic. Unfortunately we are not able to offer you use of the birth pool. Your midwife will talk to you about other pain relief options depending on your needs and health in labour.
  • We will delay clamping the baby’s umbilical cord for a short time when he or she is born unless there are specific reasons why this is not advisable.
  • We will have a member of our neonatal team present at the birth in case your baby may need some additional help with his or her breathing when he or she is born.
  • We will assess your baby at birth and he or she will remain with you unless you or the baby are unwell and need extra care in our high dependency or neonatal unit.
  • We will test the baby for the COVID-19 virus. We will make a specific plan with you for the care of yourself and your baby after birth. This will depend on your condition
  • at the time, the type of birth you have and whether you and your baby need any further treatment.

We will also do these things if you are having a planned caesarean section.

At present there is no evidence that women who may have COVID-19 need to change the way they are intending to give birth. If you are seriously ill the team caring for you will make a plan for your birth with you and your birth partner

We are strongly advising women to breastfeed as this may offer the baby additional protection and other health benefits.

You will be given advice about ways to limit the chance of baby catching the virus after birth.

If your birth partner does not have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) they can still come into hospital with you.

In line with national advice, all partners of patients with symptoms will be given a mask to wear due to having close contact with another person who may have coronavirus, which will be given to them prior to entering the hospital building. Only one birth partner may accompany you and other visiting restrictions are in place across our hospitals, which can be found here.

If your birth partner does have symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19, they should self-isolate and not attend the unit with you. We understand that this may be stressful or upsetting, so please think about a potential alternative birth partner who may be able to accompany you.

Tours of the maternity units at all three of our hospitals are currently suspended as a precaution to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Virtual tours are available here. 

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