Maternity appointments and visits

 

Some specific guidance and visiting restrictions remain in place in maternity services to keep everyone – patients, visitors, and staff – safe.

However, anyone showing any symptoms of COVID-19, or anyone feeling unwell, should not visit our wards or accompany pregnant people to any appointments. This is essential to help prevent the spread of any infection, not just COVID-19.

 

Attending ultrasound scans (including early pregnancy units)

One adult (ideally from the same household) can attend all ultrasound and fetal medicine scans with someone who is pregnant.

You may choose to be accompanied by a different support person at different appointments, if all the necessary safety measures are followed to make sure you, your support person, other hospital users and staff are safe.

Children cannot attend ultrasound scans at this time.

In our scanning areas, you must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19. A pregnant person and their support person are respectfully asked to:

  • maintain an arm’s length distance from staff in the scanning room and others in the waiting area
  • be on time for your appointment. If you are more than 10 minutes late, we may not be able to scan you on that day and will have to reschedule your appointment

We’ve redesigned our waiting areas to allow a support person to attend ultrasound and fetal medicine scans. Just report to reception when you arrive and you will be told where to sit. This is so we can make sure arm’s length distancing is maintained in the waiting room.

 

Visiting antenatal and postnatal wards

  • Two adults (one birthing partner and one other), may visit antenatal/postnatal wards. The selected birthing partner may visit anytime between 8am and 8pm and a second visitor may accompany them for a booked one-hour slot during that time
  • They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • We are also welcoming siblings of newborn babies to our postnatal wards. These sibling(s) visits should be discussed and agreed with the ward teams in advance
  • Outside of labour, we cannot support visiting for someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 on antenatal and postnatal wards
  • We ask that visitors stay at the bedside and maintain an arm’s length distance from staff and other patients wherever possible
  • Apart from bathroom breaks, a birthing partner should not be popping in and out of the ward during visiting hours. Please have any necessary drinks, snacks or belongings with you when you arrive
  • Visitors should wash / sanitise their hands regularly, especially before and after their visit to the ward
  • Visitors may be asked to leave the ward for several reasons, such as a medical emergency. If this happens, please respect our staff and kindly do so when asked.


Apart from when you’re visiting our A&E departments and urgent treatment centres (UTCs), visitors no longer have to wear a surgical face mask in our hospitals.

However, if you would prefer to wear a surgical face mask during your visit, they are still available at all main entrances, or you can ask a member of staff on the ward or department you are visiting who will be able to supply one for you.

 

Birthing partners

  • Two birthing partners may accompany someone in labour at our hospitals from the point of their admission. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19 and they must be able to wear a surgical face mask.

Birthing partners must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19 and are respectfully asked to:

  • Maintain an arm’s length distance from staff in the birthing room, where possible
  • Stay at the bedside and remain in the birthing room with their partner

 

Induction of labour

  • One support person (ideally from the same household) may have 24-hour access to the antenatal ward with someone who is pregnant. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19

 

Caesarean sections

  • One support person may attend our hospitals with a pregnant person for an elective caesarean section. Following the birth, the support person may stay in the recovery area and will then be able to go to the postnatal ward, in line with current visiting guidance. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19

 

Maternity triage / day assessment units

  • One support person (ideally from the same household) may attend all appointments in maternity triage at Colchester Hospital and the day assessment unit at Ipswich Hospital, but they may be asked to wait outside if our waiting areas are busy until the time of the appointment so that social distancing can be maintained. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19

 

Early pregnancy units

  • One support person (ideally from the same household) may attend all early pregnancy unit appointments, but they will be asked to wait outside or in their cars until the time of the appointment. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19

 

Consultant antenatal clinics

  • One support person (ideally from the same household) may attend all consultant antenatal appointments, but they will be asked to wait outside or in their cars until the time of the appointment. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19

 

Community antenatal and postnatal midwife led clinics

  • One support person (ideally from the same household) may attend all community antenatal and postnatal midwife led appointments, but they will be asked to wait outside or in their cars until the time of the appointment. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • If your appointment is not at an ESNEFT site, please check the visiting guidance at that venue in advance or ask your midwife who can help

 

Got a question or need some support?

If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your baby, please contact your midwife. They can answer any pregnancy related questions or concerns whenever you need support.

Maternity helplines are also available:

  • Colchester Hospital: 01206 742 369
  • Ipswich Hospital: 01473 702 666

Help us stop the spread

ESNEFT is asking everyone to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Washing and sanitising your hands regularly, especially before and after your visit/appointment
  • Staying an arm’s length apart from other patients, visitors and staff wherever possible

 

Our hospitals

This guidance covers Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and Clacton Hospital.

Please be reminded other visiting restrictions apply in other areas of our hospitals, which remain under regular review. Read more on the Visiting our Wards page.

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