Coronavirus, pregnancy and your health at Royal Surrey

Updated 16th of September 2022.

Thank you for using the maternity services at the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust. Our priority is ensuring that you, your baby and family remain safe and healthy.  Here is an update on the changes we have made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and government announcements.

We would like to reassure you that our maternity service, including our midwifery-led birthing suite and our homebirth service are fully operational. It is important for your safety and your baby’s safety that you continue to access antenatal, birthing and postnatal care. It is important to tell your midwife or maternity team if you have symptoms of coronavirus.You should also ask them for help with any other concerns as you usually would.

Covid-19 Symptoms

The signs of coronavirus according to Public Health England are:

  • High temperature (fever): this means that you feel hot to touch on your chest or back and your temperature is at 37.8 or above.
  • A new continuous cough: Coughing for more than an hour or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

If you think you may be unwell with Covid-19, please do the following:

  • Arrange a Covid-19 test via  https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
  • Inform your midwife directly or call our 24 hour advice line, Call a Midwife on 0300 123 5473 who will be able to advise you what to do.
  • Call 999 if you are severely unwell or are experiencing shortness of breath.

If you test positive for COVID-19 during your pregnancy but are well enough to stay at home or do not have any symptoms but Royal Surrey did not perform the test, then tell your community midwife or local maternity hub. This will help us to make sure that you and your baby are receiving the right care and any necessary follow up.

COVID vaccination in pregnancy

Covid-19 vaccine is strongly recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives. We recommend all pregnant people have their Covid vaccinations and booster when eligible. Make sure you access information so that you have the facts from trusted sources to help you make your decision (watch this video to learn the key facts) to help you make your decision. The Royal College of Midwives provide this guide to the COVID vaccine. Your midwife will also be able to discuss the Covid-19 vaccine with you and answer any questions you may have.

Booking your Covid-19 Vaccine/booster

Pregnant women across England can book a Covid-19 vaccine or booster appointment now using the National Booking System https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/  The Covid-19 booster vaccine dose should be offered at least 3 months after the previous dose.

For further information on the vaccine in pregnancy and breast feeding watch this clip.

For further information click here to access a Covid-19 vaccination guide.

Unfortunately we are no longer able to offer Covid vaccinations, please speak to your midwife for advice.

 

Face coverings in maternity

You must wear a surgical facemask when attending any area of the maternity service.  This includes all maternity hubs, hospital clinic areas, scanning rooms, birthing suites and wards. Masks are available at all hospital site and maternity hub entrances. 

We request that masks are worn on the antenatal ward and postnatal ward as much as possible to protect you, other women and our staff. You will not be required to wear a mask in active labour. 

Partners are required to wear a facemask at all times when in any area of the maternity service.  Masks must be worn over your nose and mouth, if you are exempt from wearing a mask you must wear a face visor.

Advice for Black, Asian & Ethnic Minority People

Research has found pregnant women of certain ethnic origins are more likely than other pregnant women to be admitted to hospital for coronavirus. Pregnant women over the age of 35, those who are obese, and those women who have pre-existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, also appear to be at higher risk of developing severe illness. 

Women with dark skin or those who always cover their skin when outside may be at particular risk of vitamin D deficiency and are therefore advised to take a daily supplement of vitamin D. This advice also applies to women who have little exposure to sunlight due to shielding or self-isolating. There have been some reports that people with low levels of Vitamin D are at an increased risk of serious respiratory complications if they develop COVID-19. However, there is not enough evidence to show that taking vitamin D prevents COVID-19 infection or is an effective treatment. You can purchase Vitamin D supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets

This video from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists tells you what to do if you feel unwell or have any concerns.

You can also view useful leaflets, translated for non-english speakers here.

If you have questions on how to be safe during your pregnancy speak to your midwife. 

Antenatal appointments

Routine midwifery appointments

All midwifery appointments are now being held face to face. Partners/support people and siblings are able to attend your appointment with you . You and your support person will be asked to wear a face covering and observe social distancing guidelines.

Scan appointments

You are welcome to bring your partner or support person with you to any of your scans during pregnancy.. Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate children at scan appointments.

We ask that hot drinks are not brought into the department but you are welcome to bring a bottled cold drink. Cold water dispensers are available in the department.

Obstetric/Doctor Appointments

You are welcome to bring your partner/support person to your appointment or they can join virtually should they prefer. You and your support person will continue to be asked to wear a face mask.

Coronavirus labour and birthing

If you are in labour, please call 24/7 advice line Call a Midwife on 0300 123 5473.

When you call, please tell our staff if you or anyone in your household has a new continuous cough or high temperature.

We have safe arrangements in place to enable us to see women with potential Coronavirus symptoms separately from those without symptoms. You will be cared for in the maternity unit by a midwife.

We recognise the value of support people in labour and therefore welcome up to two designated support people to accompany you during your labour and birth . We ask that you do not swap these designated people, unless they become unwell themselves and are unable to support you. Should this happen an alternative person is welcome to support you. Please note only one support person will be able to accompany you should you need to have a procedure in theatre.

Partners are required to wear masks throughout their visit, even in the side rooms. For the safety of our women and staff, visitors will be asked to leave if they do not wear their masks, or repeatedly remove them or wear them incorrectly.

What happens if you have a positive Covid-19 test ?

If you are in labour, have been admitted and your Covid-19 test is positive your partner/support person will be able to remain for labour and birth providing they have no Covid-19 symptoms. They must wear a face covering at all times on the delivery suite. However when they return home they are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

Coronavirus and postnatal care

After giving birth, you could be discharged home from delivery suite or transferred to Shere Ward. Your partner or one support person is able to be with you between the hours of 09:00 and 20:00. They are welcome to come for the whole day or a part of the day but must leave by 8pm.

Visitors, including siblings are welcomed on the Antenatal and Postnatal Wards between 10am and 12pm and 6pm and 8pm All women will receive a midwife appointment at their local maternity hub on the first day home following discharge. On day five, you will have an appointment at the hub to see a midwife or maternity support worker depending on your needs. They will also make a face-to-face appointment for you to see a midwife on day ten. The location of this appointment will depend on your circumstances. If you have Coronavirus symptoms, this appointment will be delayed.

Coronavirus and visiting maternity

Updated Thursday the 19th of May 2022

Ultrasound scans and antenatal appointments

You are welcome to bring your partner or support person with you to any of your scans during pregnancy. Your support person may be asked to wait in an alternative waiting area so that social distancing guidelines can be observed. We ask that hot drinks are not brought into the department.  You are welcome to bring a bottled cold drink, cold water dispensers are available in the department.

Please ensure you both wear a mask during your visit.

Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate children at scan appointments.

Birth partners during labour and on the antenatal ward

Two birth partners are welcome to accompany you 24/7 while you are admitted to delivery suite (including Midwife Led Unit, Recovery and HDU) - this is not dependant on stage of labour.

While you are on our antenatal (St Catherine’s) ward your main birth partner may attend to support you between 9am – 8pm.

One birth partner is welcome to support you in theatre if a caesarean section is required.

Partners are required to wear masks throughout their visit, even in the side rooms. For the safety of our women/pregnant clients and staff, visitors will be asked to leave if they do not wear their masks, repeatedly remove them, or wear them incorrectly.

Postnatal (Shere) Ward visiting

Entry to Shere Ward is via level G through a secure entry system to ensure the safety of newborn babies. Please press the buzzer and wait to be admitted and be careful to not allow anyone else who is not in your group to enter unless permitted by the reception staff.

Your main birth partner is welcome to join you on the postnatal ward between the hours of 09:00 and 20:00. Once partners arrive they are expected to remain by the bedside for the entirety of their visit and in the interest of infection control are asked to not use the tea/coffee machines or wander in the corridors.

We also can no longer support partners to have multiple entry and exists to the ward. If staying for the whole day, they may leave the ward between 12:00 to 14:00 where they are permitted to leave and return once only. Partners who leave to get refreshments are asked to eat/drink away from the ward as partners cannot remove their masks whilst on the ward.

Grandparents & siblings of the baby may visit you on Shere ward between 10:00-12:00 & 18:00-20:00. Max 2 visitors, including children, may visit at any one time (i.e., main birth partner and two additional visitors). You cannot exchange your partner for an additional visitor or swap your allocated birth partner.

Please observe the following infection control measures when visiting the ward to help us keep our patients and staff safe in the pandemic:

  • Do not visit if you or anyone in your household is unwell 
  • Masks must be worn at all times (masks must be worn over your nose and mouth)
  • If you are exempt from wearing a mask you must wear a visor
  • Use provided hand sanitiser prior to entering the ward

Coronavirus and antenatal classes

Our free antenatal courses are now being taught online. Some of our paid for antenatal courses and workshops are now available in a blended online and face to face format.  Further information about the courses on offer can be found here, our Facebook page and Eventbrite booking page 

More information

You can get more advice about the Coronavirus infection and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Health information and advice about Coronavirus

Government response to coronavirus on GOV.UK.

Healthy Surrey Your Pregnancy and COVID-19 FAQs

NHS England and NHS Improvement maternity leaflet - Coronavirus: Planning your birth

NHS England and NHS Improvement maternity leaflet - Coronavirus: Parent information for new born babies