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.
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.
Unfortunately we are no longer able to offer Covid vaccinations, please speak to your midwife for advice.
Face coverings in maternity
You and your partner must wear a surgical facemask when attending any area of the maternity service unless you are exempt (evidence of exemption is not required). 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.
Inpatients are no longer required to wear masks.
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.
If you have questions on how to be safe during your pregnancy speak to your midwife.
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.
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.
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 remain with you at all times and is welcome to stay overnight.
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 Wednesday 11th of January 2023
Ultrasound scans and antenatal appointments
You are welcome to bring your partner or support person with you to any of your scans during pregnancy. 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 and stay overnight to support you. Chairs are provided for partners next to each bed on the ward. Partners will be asked to sign a contract if staying overnight and asked to observe rules to ensure all inpatients privacy, dignity and comfort are maintained.
Visitors are welcomed 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
You can get more advice about the Coronavirus infection and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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