NUH Maternity Covid-19 FAQ’s
We understand that this may be an anxious time for women who are pregnant and are due to give birth during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have made some alterations to our service in response to pandemic to keep you, your family and our staff safe.
Please see the tabs below for more information.
If you have any concerns please contact your midwife.
*NEW: Visitors Code*
We have created an FAQ document about wearing surgical face masks in hospital and information on who needs to wear them and when, in addition to an information leaflet. You can download theses documents by clicking the links below:
What to expect when you come to our hospital for a routine scan or appointment
Information for adults who are accompanying someone who is pregnant, to a routine appointment and/or routine ultrasound scan within our maternity services.
A person who is pregnant can bring one adult from the same household with them to all routine pregnancy scans and routine appointments.
To keep you and other people in our hospital safe, please follow these guidelines.
- Please do not attend the hospital if you are unwell, self- isolating or experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms.
- You must:
- Wear a hospital surgical facemask whilst in the hospital and during the scan, unless you are exempt. Facemasks are available at all main entrances of our hospital and in clinic areas. If you are exempt please wear a visor
- Maintain 2 metres social distancing
- Use the hand sanitiser provided when entering the hospital and antenatal clinic.
- Please do not bring children to your appointment. Children will not be permitted in the clinic area or scan room, and staff will not be able to look after them.
- You will:
- Not be asked to wait in the antenatal clinic waiting area before the scan.
- QMC: Be asked to wait in the corridor leading to ward B26, adjacent to the Antenatal clinic. Please stand in the marked areas to maintain social distancing.
City Hospital: Be asked to wait outside the maternity unit in the main maternity foyer. Please be seated on the socially distanced seating areas. If the seats are fully occupied, please wait outside in the garden area or in your car.
- Your partner will call you in/ collect you, in time for the start of the scan, at the meeting point.
- Please be aware that scan times cannot be delayed, so please make sure you are ready in the designated waiting area
- Please turn off mobile phones and devices before entering the scan room
- When entering the scan/clinic room please sit in the designated chair, and remain seated throughout. The chair has been socially distanced to maintain your safety and that of our staff.
- Eating and drinking is not permitted within the scan/clinic room.
- After the scan or appointment, accompanying adults will be asked to leave the antenatal clinic area so paperwork and clinical review can be carried out.
The Government has announced that twice weekly rapid Covid-19 test, (lateral flow test) is available to everybody and that tests can be ordered online.
As a way of staying safe and to help reduce the infection rates, we recommend that both the person who is pregnant and their partner/supporter take a rapid Covid-19 test, (lateral flow test) regularly - in particular for attending scan and clinic appointments.
Lateral flow testing kits are available in the community for anybody to be able to perform them in their own home twice a week, and record them. You can get them through the following links:
Once you have recorded your result online, you will get an email and a text message to confirm your result.
The person who is pregnant and their partner/supportive adult should bring proof of a recent negative test with them to each appointment ie photo of test if no text message.
If both adults have access to lateral flow tests via a different route, eg their employer or a school bubble, should bring proof of their latest regular test. ie photo of test if no text message.
NUH Maternity FAQ’s: COVID-19
Should I still attend my antenatal appointments in the community?
Yes - maternity care is essential and you should still continue to attend all hospital antenatal appointments unless you have been informed otherwise. Do not attend if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of Covid-19. In this case, you should contact your community midwife for further advice.
As all antenatal classes have been cancelled, is there a virtual tour or more information on the Maternity Units?
We are offering online antenatal classes, alongside our physiotherapists which will be delivered by Microsoft Teams. If you wish to book one of our classes or require more information, please visit our webpage by clicking the below link:
We have produced 10 short videos which are available on our social media pages, including videos for the antenatal, labour and postnatal period – these include information regarding active birth, latent phase of labour and what to expect at home. Our videos are also available on YouTube which you can access using the QR code below:
When I think I’m in labour will my partner have to drop me off and wait for confirmation of my labour before being able to stay and support me?
If you are attending in suspected labour you will be seen on Labour Ward where you are assessed in a single room and social distancing can be practised - therefore your partner can be with you. If you are found to be in early labour/latent phase you may choose to go home together, or stay on the antenatal ward for observation – but this would be without your partner if it’s outside of our visiting sessions.
If your labour is confirmed as established on arrival, or once you return from home/the antenatal ward in established labour your partner can be with you until the birth of your baby and for a period of time after birth.
When my partner comes to pick me and my baby up, can they still come to the ward?
The staff will help you with your baby and your belongings to meet your partner outside the ward doors. If you prefer, a car seat can be dropped off at the ward doors by your partner, or you can carry/use a sling to take your baby to your mode of transport where they then should be transferred to a car seat.
How will I care for my baby alone on the ward if I can’t move following my caesarean birth?
NUH Maternity wants to reassure everyone that our members of staff will be there to support all women on our wards with the care of their baby. Each woman will have access to a call bell to ask for assistance when unable to care for their baby alone.
How long will I be expected to stay in hospital after a caesarean birth?
This will be dependent on how you and your baby are feeling, but if the surgery is straightforward and there are no concerns with you or your baby you should be able to go home within 1-2 days.
I’m booked for Induction of Labour, at what point can my partner be with me?
If you are being cared for in the induction area, there might be up to 4 women in a bay. There is hand soap and sanitiser gel available and we would encourage you to wash your hands regularly. Visiting on our induction lounge follows the same visiting time slots as our wards, where you will be allocated to a time slot based on your bed number. Our time slots are: 14:00-15:30 or 18:30-20:00.
After initially commencing the induction process on the ward, once you have onset of regular contractions, your cervix starts to dilate, your waters break, or we have any concerns about the wellbeing of you or your baby you will be transferred to the labour ward. From this point, your birth partner can then be with you for the length of your labour and birth.
If the pessary does not start onset of regular contractions, you will be transferred to the labour ward to have your waters ‘broken’ and start a hormone drip– again at this point, your partner would be able to come into labour ward and be with you for the duration of this until birth and the initial postnatal period.
The induction process takes a different amount of time for each woman - there is no way of predicting the time frame, unfortunately - however from onset of regular contractions/waters breaking you would be transferred from inductions to labour ward, at which point your partner could join you.
Are you still offering Out-Patient Induction of Labour at this time?
Yes, currently if you meet the criteria out-patient induction can still be offered. This would involve attending the hospital for your induction to be started with a pessary. After initial checks of you and the baby and the pessary being inserted you could then go home again to wait for labour to establish. You would return to the hospital when you experience regular contractions, your waters break, you have any concerns about you or your baby or after 24 hours if your labour hasn’t established. Please ask your midwife or the Induction Ward if you want more information about outpatient induction or visit our website by clicking the below link:
I’m worried about all the recent changes in information that birthing partners will be stopped completely?
We have no intention of stopping birth partners from being present in labour - when mothers are in a single room and social distancing can be maintained effectively. However, all decisions the Trust make with regard to this will follow Government Guidance so it is very difficult for us to predict how these will escalate. We do, however, understand the importance of a birth partner being present during labour and birth and will implement as many measures as possible to keep this a safe option during the pandemic.
I’m low-risk and was booked to have my baby on the Sanctuary Birth Centre/Homebirth - I understand these services are not available during Covid-19. What options do I have for care on Labour Ward?
Our Sanctuary Birth Centre has now partially reopened – we have opened two sanctuary rooms each at QMC and City which include birth pools. In the unlikely event that both rooms are in use, Midwifery-led care is provided on the labour ward, so you will still be cared for in the same way. Midwives will encourage you to adopt your birth plan as much as possible. If you would like to use a birthing pool for your labour - this is still an option. There is one birthing pool on each site (one at City, one at QMC) on the main labour ward. Please let your midwife know if you would like to use this at the time of your labour. The birthing pools cannot be pre-booked but will be offered on a first come first serve basis. Sometimes the pool might not be available at the time of your admission, but may become available during your labour – at which point you would be able to move rooms should you still wish. If you are occupying a pool room and no longer wish to use these facilities, you might be asked to move to another room in order to allow someone else to use it.
We are pleased to be able to offer our home birth service again on a case-by-case basis – if you were booked for a home birth please contact your community midwife for more information.
As everyone is practising social distancing, what do I do for childcare options when I’m in labour – are there childcare facilities available for my older child?
There are no childcare facilities within our maternity units. As labour is classed as an exceptional circumstance/medical care, childcare during labour can be arranged with a family member or friend who is in a ‘low-risk’ category. If this is not something you feel you can do, your partner would have to remain at home for childcare and an alternate birth partner could be used in this case. Again, this birth partner must be symptom-free in order to attend our unit.
If you or anyone in your household has these symptoms you should not attend our Maternity Unit. You should contact the Maternity Unit where you are booked for more information and should follow the Government Guidance on self-isolation.
If your birth partner has symptoms of Covid-19 they should not attend with you in labour – in this instance, you can attend with an alternative birth partner.
What if I have symptoms of Covid-19 but think I’m in labour?
You should phone your Maternity Unit as normal, they will advise you of when you need to attend in labour and you will be cared for in a separate, isolation area. You will still be cared for by a Midwife but this Midwife will not care for anyone else in labour on this shift and will be wearing appropriate PPE to prevent the spread of infection.
NUH Maternity FAQ’s: COVID-19 Testing
We offer testing for Covid-19 to all women who are admitted for any reason to the maternity wards. Together with the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Maternity Voices Partnership chair, we have put together these FAQs to answer some of the questions people have raised.
Why do I need a swab test for Covid-19?
The Government has recommended expanding testing for Covid-19 to people admitted to the hospital. This will help to ensure that we can keep you, your baby, our members of staff and the wider community safe. You may have a positive test result without having symptoms of Covid-19, and this may mean we would advise that you should not bring a birth partner with you to hospital, who lives in the same household, not to use the birth pool or have a home birth.
What effect does coronavirus have on pregnant women?
You can find more information on the NHS website by clicking the link below
When will I be offered the Covid-19 swab test?
All pregnant women will be offered the Covid-19 swab at the time of their admission to our hospital.
This includes admission for induction of labour, elective caesarean section, a hospital birth on the labour ward and a stay in hospital during your pregnancy or after birth.
Do I need to have the Covid-19 swab taken?
It is your choice whether to have the Covid-19 swab test or not. It is recommended to help stop transmission of the virus. If you have any questions or worries about taking the Covid-19 swab test, please talk to your midwife or doctor. If you decide not to have the swab test, this will not impact on your maternity care. Our staff will continue to wear appropriate PPE to care for all maternity patients regardless of whether they have had a swab taken.
In order to protect their vulnerable patients, our Neonatal Unit are restricting access to those without a Covid-19 status on admission, therefore if you decline a swab for Covid-19 you will not be permitted to visit your baby on the Neonatal Unit.
I am booked for an elective Caesarean birth or Induction of Labour – will I need to come into hospital prior to my appointment for a swab?
Prior to your booked Elective Caesarean Birth, you will be offered an appointment within our antenatal assessment centre to attend for a pre-operative covid-19 swab. This usually takes place 2-3 days before your caesarean section date. We ask that following your swab you and your family isolate until you have had your surgery. You will not be contacted if your result is Negative. If your result is Positive, a midwife will contact you, inform you of the result and discuss your ongoing care.
When will I get the result of my Covid-19 swab test?
Our labs aim to get results back within 24 hours. If you and your baby have already gone home when a positive result is received, we will inform you and advise you of any precautions you need to take. We will not advise you if you have a negative result, as this will not change any previous advice given about your pregnancy/birth. You may also opt-in to have a text message with your result, more information on this can be given at the time of your swab being taken.
I understand the swab results will not come back for around 24 hours; if I attend in labour would I still be able to use the birth pool even though my result is not likely to be available?
If you have no symptoms of Covid-19 you will still be able to use the birth pool for labour and birth, without a swab result being available. Unfortunately, the pool will not be available for those who have symptoms of Covid-19, or those women who have had a positive test returned.
Are you also offering Covid-19 swab tests for my birth partner or other people in my household?
No, following current Government advice the swabs are offered to all inpatient admissions only. NUH are not offering swabs for birth partners/relatives (or other people in your household). You will be able to have a birth partner of your choice during your labour and birth, as long as they do not have symptoms of Coronavirus, are not self-isolating or are otherwise unwell. Any person with symptoms of Covid-19 should not attend to support a woman in labour and should phone NHS 111 for advice regarding self-isolation and available testing. The Royal College of Midwives recommends that you have a ‘standby’ birth partner, just in case the person you wanted is unable to support you.
If my Covid-19 test result is positive during my admission, how will my care change?
Midwives and obstetricians will support you as you plan for your labour and birth. If your result is positive, we will move you to a separate area within the ward to isolate you from any women who do not have Covid-19 or are awaiting test results, to keep them safe. Also, the PPE staff will be wearing alters slightly when you are in labour.
Unfortunately, the birth pool will not be available for those who have had a positive test returned. However, you will still be supported to be mobile, use birthing equipment such as a birthing ball, and birth in a position of your choice. You will still be able to have access to pain relief options, such as gas and air and an epidural.
If you test positive for Covid-19, your birth partner cannot be from the same household as you, as they will need to self-isolate at home. You can arrange an alternative birth partner who is symptom-free. If you have tested positive/have symptoms of Covid-19 and require birth in the operating theatres such as a forceps or Caesarean birth, it will not be possible for a birth partner to attend with you in the operating theatres. Our midwives and obstetricians will be there to fully support you throughout your labour and birth.
After your baby is born, you will still be able to have skin-to-skin and hold and care for your baby – it is not recommended for mothers and babies to be unnecessarily separated and you can still breastfeed your baby, if this is your chosen feeding method. You will be given advice by the staff caring for you about the signs of an unwell baby, but the evidence suggests the risk of transmission is low.
I am booked to have a home birth; will I be offered a swab test for Covid-19?
No - the guidance is to offer Covid-19 testing to all hospital admissions. The midwives will continue to wear PPE. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 we will not be able to offer you a homebirth.
What if I’ve already been discharged home when my positive result comes through?
A member of the maternity team will notify you by phone, and advise what precautions you should take at home. The midwife contacting you will also inform your Community midwife and GP of your positive result.
I have recently had my baby at NUH and have now gone home; will I be offered a test?
We are not currently offering retrospective testing. If you or anyone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19 you should contact NHS 111.
For any further questions about Covid-19 tests, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any concerns about you or your baby you should contact your midwife or maternity unit directly.