Frequently asked Questions during the Covid 19 Pandemic

 Frequently asked questions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Please see below some of the frequently asked questions that we have received from women and families who use our maternity service. If you have any questions related to your personal care, please speak to your midwife. If you have any other questions, please contact the Somerset Maternity Voices Partnership.

 

COVID-19

What if I have symptoms of COVID-19 (temperature above 37.8C and a new continuous cough)?

If you already have an appointment booked with your maternity team and you have any of these symptoms, please let your midwife know and we will reschedule your appointment seven days from the start of your symptoms. If a member of your household has any of these symptoms then your appointment will be rescheduled for 14 days from the start of their symptoms.

I am newly pregnant and would like to book in for maternity care

Please complete a self-referral form via our website: https://www.somersetft.nhs.uk/maternity/maternity-pregnancy-and-birth/maternity-self-referral/ Once we have reviewed your form, a community midwife will be in touch to arrange your booking. This will be completed over the telephone and you will be asked to attend a follow up appointment for blood pressure and blood tests to be completed. For pregnancy related information please see:  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/

How will my 16 week appointment work?

All of your appointments after your booking will be face to face. The midwife will discuss the results of any screening tests you choose to have, and any changes to your antenatal care pathway.

How will my consultant appointments work?

Your appointments will differ depending on what you are being referred for. Face to face appointments - will take place in the antenatal clinic at Musgrove Park Hospital, and we ask that you attend this appointment on your own. Virtual appointments – we are currently rolling out our Attend Anywhere video appointment system, which allows your consultant to talk to you and your partner via video call. You will need a device which allows you to be seen and heard, but full instructions will be sent to you. Telephone appointments – some appointments are still being held via telephone while we roll out the video system. For those that would prefer telephone still, you will be able to select this option.

Who can attend scans?

You can be accompanied by your nominated birthing partner at your 20 week scan. We are sorry but due to social distancing, and for the protection of you and of our staff, you will be asked to attend all other scans alone during this time. We are working hard to improve the scanning facilities to support partners attending for the 12 week scan as well and will let you know as soon as we can do this.

How will my 25 week antenatal appointment work?

This will be face to face, but not all women will need to have this appointment as it is usually only for women experiencing their first baby or those who have additional needs.

How will my appointments from 28 weeks until birth work?

Your midwife will arrange to see you face-to-face at one of our antenatal clinics at 28, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 (first baby) and 41 weeks. At each appointment your midwife will ask you to call/text them when you arrive at the premises and they will call/text you when you can come into the clinic. Please be patient as some appointments may take longer. Your midwife will contact you to discuss your birth preferences between 34 and 36 weeks. Some of our community antenatal and postnatal clinics may be in different locations than usual but will still be in your local area. We will inform you of any changes before your appointment.

How will the postnatal care following the birth of my baby work?

A midwife will visit you at home the day after you leave hospital or the day following the birth if you had your baby at home or at the Bridgwater Hospital Mary Stanley Unit. Your midwife will discuss both your wellbeing and care and agree with you when you next need to be seen. When your baby is around 5 days old, you will be asked to attend one of our clinics to assess your baby’s wellbeing, feeding, weight and to offer newborn bloodspot screening. For more information please see: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/newborn-blood-spot-test/

Can I video call my partner during my scan appointment?

Unfortunately not. We were keen to support this in these exceptional circumstances and have trialled it, but sadly it was too distracting for our sonographer. These appointments monitor the wellbeing of your baby and our sonographer needs a high level of concentration. You will be able to take a photo of your scan when our sonographer has finished. 

I want to know the sex of my baby, but want to find out with my partner

Your partner is now allowed in with you for your 20 week scan, assuming they are well and are not showing any symptoms of coronavirus. If there is any reason why they cannot be present, just let the sonographer know and they can write it on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope for you. You then have the choice of when to share the exciting news.

Will I still have a glucose test if I need to have one?

Yes, these tests are still taking place. You may be asked to attend a different location to have this performed. Your community midwife will let you know about any changes to plans. 

Will the whooping cough vaccine still be given?

The majority of whooping cough vaccines are given when you come to your 20 week scan. We are aiming to continue to offer this vaccination while we have available staff to do this, but this may change at short notice. 

What supplies do I need to bring in for me if I am coming in for induction?

You need to bring in your bag with everything you require for you and your baby. Your community midwife should have a list of these essentials. You do not need to bring in bath towels. We provide food and drink, including special diets, although please bring in any specific foods you might like. Please do not bring in perishable foods as we are unable to put them in a fridge.

Can I still have a birthing partner?

We are currently allowing one birthing partner who must not have any symptoms of COVID-19, to be with you throughout your care. If you are giving birth at our Bracken Birthing Centre at Musgrove Park Hospital or our Mary Stanley Birthing Centre at Bridgwater Hospital you may have two nominated partners present in the pool rooms only.

If I am being induced when can my partner come into support me?

You will be admitted to the antenatal ward and your partner will be able to stay with you during your induction of labour from the time you are admitted until 7pm and/or your transfer to our labour ward when you are in established labour

When I am in labour can my partner leave the room?

You will need to bring in any snacks you want to eat. Your partners will be asked to restrict movement in and out of the birth room. The midwives will provide light refreshments for partners throughout your stay on labour ward. No other visitors will be allowed in the unit during this time. Smoking is strictly forbidden on our hospital site.

Can my partner come into theatre with me for my planned Caesarean section?

The person who comes to the unit with you on the day of your Caesarean section can come into theatre with you and can remain with you in recovery. This is usually around two hours following your caesarean. Once you are transferred to the postnatal ward, your partner will be able to visit you during the allocated hours. Most caesarean sections are performed under a local (spinal or epidural) anaesthetic. If for any reason this is not possible and you need to go to sleep (general anaesthetic) your partner will not be allowed in. This has not changed and is the usual practice even before COVID-19.

How long can my partner stay with me after the birth?

Partners can stay while you are in the labour ward or birthing centre. This is usually around 2 hours. It is usual to use this time as a new family, having skin to skin and feeding the baby. Should you need some extra care you will be transferred to our postnatal ward, where your partner can now visit you during allocated times.

Can I go home quickly after the birth?

If both you and your baby are well and do not need any ongoing observation or treatment we are keen to support you going home from the birthing room.

Can I still have a home birth?

Yes we are currently still offering home births. Where you choose to birth is an individual discussion for every mum-to-be and you should talk it though with your midwife. It is important to make sure you have all the information available to you before making a decision that is right for the safety and wellbeing of you and your baby. If you are having a home birth, we ask that you have one birth partner with you and that any other members of the household remain in a different room. By doing this you’ll be supporting social distancing, as well as protecting our homebirth team.

Are water births still available?

Water births are still available but not if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Unfortunately we are unable to offer any additional birth pools at this time.

Can I Facetime during labour, birth or midwife appointments if my partner unable to attend due to childcare or COVID-19?

Sadly we cannot support this for scans however, at present we are happy to support at antenatal appointments in the community and during labour.

What is the procedure for partners collecting mum and baby?

During visiting times partners can come into the ward to help mum and baby. Outside of these times partners are asked to pull up outside the unit and we will help mum and baby to the car.

What about social distancing?

While you are in hospital we ask that you minimize your movements around the ward areas to ensure the Government rules are met as far as possible.  Please remember these rules are still important when you go home with your baby.

Can I still breastfeed if I have symptoms of COVID-19? 

If you are admitted to hospital with symptoms of COVID-19 or other illness but are still able to look after your baby you should stay together with your baby. If you need support with caring for your baby, but are still able to breastfeed, we will support you to stay together, with one additional person able to stay with you. If you are too poorly to feed your baby we will do everything we can to support you to express milk in a safe way so it can be stored and fed to your baby. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through breast milk. Infection can be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone else. We would encourage you to: wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding at the breast, by tube or bottle clean the breast pump thoroughly following local infection / COVID-19 control procedures – your midwife can advise you on this clean and sterilise all pumping and feeding equipment thoroughly following local infection / COVID-19 control procedures – your midwife can advise you on this express, label and store breast milk as per unit guidance – your midwife can advise you on this Click here for  UNICEF UK BABY FRIENDLY INITIATIVE STATEMENT ON INFANT FEEDING DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Which appointments can I have my partner with me for?

Every area where maternity care is provided has been assessed to make sure it is COVID-19 secure and safe for you and your midwife. Every attempt is being made to enable you to have your partner or carer with you at all midwifery appointments, but please know there will be variation across the different facilities used. Please discuss this with your community midwife. Ultrasound scans – your partner can attend the 20 week scan Induction of labour – your partner can attend during visiting time. They will be called in when you need support Labour – your partner can attend at all times in all labour settings Postnatal – your partner can attend at visiting times.

What are the visiting times?

Visiting times on wards are 14.00 to 19.00.

When will my partner be able to come to the all scan appointments with me?

Our maternity service has to relocate the ultrasound service to a different area where there is more space. Once this has happened we can start to increase the opportunities for partners to attend the 12 week scan. This is being undertaken as a priority as we will keep you updated.

Can I still choose to have my baby at the Bracken Birthing Centre or Mary Stanley (Bridgwater Hospital) Birthing Centre?

Yes the birthing centres are still open. As with homebirths you should talk through with your midwife to see if this is an option for you.

What happens if I am on my own and the scan shows there is a problem with my baby?

Your partner will called to come and support you in a private area, where the midwife can talk to both of you and give you time to ask any questions. If your partner is not on site, then this can be done using FaceTime or a phone call. You will be supported at this time.

Would my labour care be different if I test positive for COVID-19?

The latest advice recommends that women with symptomatic confirmed or suspected COVID-19 have their labour and birth on the labour ward where additional observation and monitoring can be provided if concerns develop at any time about mum or baby. In asymptomatic COVID-19 positive mums who are on a low risk pathway, care can continue as normal for low risk pregnancy. In a symptomatic mum there will be an agreed plan of care with a senior doctor. The use of PPE by the care team will be the same. If you need to go to theatre for any reason, you may notice slightly different face masks being used.