Maternity during Covid-19

Like all areas of NHS care, Maternity Services at NNUH are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to provide you with clear information so that you know about the changes we have made to our Maternity Services during this period. National guidance is being issued regularly and we aim to keep you as up to date as possible. We would also like to reassure you that the health and safety of you and your baby continues to be a priority to us.

Antenatal – before your baby is born

Who should I contact if I have reduced fetal movements?

It is important that if you have any reduced fetal movements, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, headaches or feel generally unwell you should contact our Maternity Assessment Unit 01603 287328 / 287329 without any delay. For more information on reduced fetal movements, visit the kickscount website.

Should I still attend my antenatal appointments?

If you are well, you should attend your antenatal care as usual unless you are contacted by your midwife. Some appointments will be conducted virtually, via video or telephone link rather than face-to-face with the midwife. Please make sure we have the most up-to-date telephone number for you.

Should I still attend my appointment if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you or a member of your household have Covid-19 symptoms, and you have an appointment due in the next 14 days you should call Medicom 01603 481222 (regarding a Community Midwife appointment) or Antenatal Clinic 01603 286795 (regarding an Antenatal Clinic or Ultrasound Scan appointment).

Can my partner attend appointments with me?

We ask that you attend your antenatal appointments alone. This also applies to Ultrasound Scan appointments. Where possible you will be able to video a small section at the end of your scan.

Labour and Birth

We have created separate zones and are following government guidance to care for those who have or are suspected to have Covid-19. This aims to keep women who are unaffected safe and well. Maternity staff will take all appropriate precaution including strict hygiene measures, social distancing when possible and appropriate use of protective clothing like gloves, gown and a medical mask.

It is important that you contact us if you think you are going into labour. We will be able to talk to you and give you the most appropriate advice.

Homebirth 01603 481222

Midwifery Led Birthing Unit 01603 288260

Hospital Birth 01603 287328 / 287329

Who can be with me during labour and birth?

Only one birthing partner is allowed. If they have any symptoms of Covid-19, they must not come with you. Please think about arranging an alternative birthing partner if this is the case.

Can I still use gas and air?

If you do not have symptoms of Covid-19 there is no evidence that gas and air (Entonox) cannot be used in labour. If you have suspected or confirmed Covid-19 the Obstetric and Anaesthetic teams will discuss your pain relief options with you.

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 your birth plan should still be followed as closely as possible, however, if your breathing suggests that an urgent delivery is needed, you may be recommended to have a caesarean.

Is water birth still an option?

Yes it is, however, it is not recommended for people with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 due to the virus being present in faeces.

Is the homebirth service still available?

If you have a home birth planned, the service is still continuing at present unless you have or have had symptoms of Covid-19 in which case you will be asked to give birth on delivery suite as additional monitoring for you and your baby is recommended.

Postnatal – after your baby is born

Can I have visitors on the postnatal ward?

As of 8th April 2020, partner visiting will be between 2pm and 6pm. If you are discharged out of these hours your partner will be able to come to the ward to collect you. Please note that this also includes only one person attending Blakeney to collect you and your baby.

What contact will I have with my midwife when I go home?

Upon discharge home, your community midwifery team will be informed that you have returned home. The number of face-to-face visits may be reduced but there will be additional telephone contact.

A community midwife will contact you the day after your discharge to check that you and your baby are well. You will then receive a telephone call from the community midwife when your baby is three days old (noting that the day of birth is day 0). On day five, the community midwife will visit you at home, your baby will be weighed and the newborn bloodspot test (heel prick test) will be offered. When your baby is approximately 10 days old, providing all has been well on the previous visits, the midwife will call you to check progress. If all is well this is the point at which your care will be transferred to the Health Visitor who will contact your 10-14 days later.

In addition to using appropriate PPE in your home, midwives will exercise strict hygiene and social distancing measures.

Can I still register my baby’s birth?

The government has asked all local authorities to defer birth registrations until we are through the current pandemic period. Norfolk County Council will update their website page when they can start registering births again. You will be able to make a claim for child benefit or universal credit prior to the birth being registered during this period.

Feeding Support

There is a lot of evidence that breastfeeding is a very good way of reducing the risk of babies developing infectious diseases.

We recommend as much contact with your baby as possible, washing hands vigilantly.

There is currently no clinical evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breastmilk. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any risks of transmission of the virus through breastmilk or by being in close contact with your baby.

The infant feeding team will continue to provide support to mums with babies under 28 days old. We have set up a face-to-face specialist feeding support clinic in the community where you can be seen for a one-hour appointment by one of the feeding team. Referrals will be via your midwife.

Additional telephone support can be arranged Monday–Friday 9am–3pm by emailing the team.

If you are bottle feeding with formula or expressed milk, strict adherence to sterilisation guidelines is recommended.

Useful leaflets and additional information

We’d highly recommend visiting Just One Norfolk which is filled with lots of useful maternity information.