09/07/2020 | Press releases

Updated guidance for visiting our maternity units

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) is easing visiting restrictions further in maternity services to support pregnant women and their families.

Some restrictions have remained in place for everyone’s safety due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. However, they have been under constant review so that changes can be made when it is safe to do so.

Today the Trust’s maternity teams are happy to announce that from Monday, 13 July visiting for birthing partners at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals will be reinstated.

From the same date, one birthing partner will be able to support women from the start of the induction of labour process and first day postnatal visits from a community midwife will also be reintroduced.

Visiting to antenatal/postnatal wards

A woman’s birthing partner will be able to visit her for 45 minutes each day that she is in hospital. They will no longer have to wait 48 hours before they can come in, but we ask that this visitor remains consistent and the visit must be booked in advance.

The ward clerk or healthcare professional looking after a woman on the ward will be able to arrange the visiting slot.

All appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) will be worn by staff and visitors must also wear a surgical face mask when they are on the wards.

 Induction of labour

One birthing partner may come to hospital with a woman at the beginning of the induction of labour process and can stay with her until 8pm.

If she needs extra support, or is very likely to go into labour after that time, her birthing partner can stay with her. If not, our staff will politely ask the partner to go home at that point and they will be called back in if labour is established during the night.

We ask that birthing partners bring in their own refreshments and facemasks to help reduce their movement around the ward.

First day postnatal visiting

First day at home face to face postnatal visiting will also be reintroduced for every woman and baby who is discharged from the postnatal ward.

Community midwives will carry out a risk assessment before a home visit and families will be advised about how they can prepare for the midwife’s visit too.


Other arrangements in maternity services

To keep everyone safe, the following restrictions remain in place:

  • Only one birthing supporter/partner may accompany a woman in labour
  • Only one birthing supporter/partner may attend with a woman for an elective Caesarean section
  • Only pregnant women (the patient) may also attend these appointments:
  • Maternity triage
  • All antenatal appointments (including appointments with a consultant)

This is so footfall can be safely managed and social distancing can be maintained in clinic rooms and treatment areas.

Director of Midwifery Anna Shasha said: “Part of our promise to women and their families was that we would introduce changes in maternity services gradually and safely.

“We are really pleased we can further relax the visiting policy on our wards from Monday, 13 July and that women will be able to have someone with them during the induction of labour process.

“We will monitor the changes we are making closely to keep women, their babies and our staff safe. More updates will be shared about any further easing or increasing of restrictions as the pandemic continues.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we continue to do our very best to protect women and their babies during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.”

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