Maternity appointments and visits


Maternity teams at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) have extended visiting times for birthing partners at Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton hospitals.

Visiting to antenatal and postnatal wards

  • A person’s birthing partner will be able to visit them on the ward for two hours each day that they are in hospital. This is an increase from the 45 minutes previously in place.
  • We ask that this visitor remains consistent and the visit must be booked in advance. The ward clerk or healthcare professional 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 our wards.

Our teams continue to review all existing visiting and appointment arrangements to keep everybody safe.

Attending ultrasound scans

From 8am on Monday 7 December, one adult from the same household can attend all scans with someone who is pregnant at Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton hospitals.

For everyone’s safety and to reduce the overall number of people in our hospitals, we must ask that the person brought to the appointment is the same person every time. We regret also that under current circumstances, children are not permitted into the department.

Whoever you bring with you for your 12 week scan, must be who you then bring with you to all your other scans.

If in future any of our hospital wards or areas are affected by cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19), those areas will be closed to visitors, in line with infection prevention and control guidance, and this situation may need to change.

Guidance for partners attending scans

 In our maternity scanning areas, you:

  • Must confirm you are free of COVID-19 symptoms before coming into the area
  • Should maintain maximum distance from staff in the ultrasound room and waiting area
  • Must keep your face covering on – masks are available at all hospital entrances if you need one

If your partner refuses to wear a face covering they will be asked to leave the area but the scan will continue. If your partner is unable to wear a face covering they will be unable to join you for the scan.

We ask you to be on time for your appointment so that we can have as few people in our waiting area as possible. If you are more than 10 minutes late, we may not be able to scan you on that day and will have to re-book your appointment for another day.

Birthing partners

  • Only one birthing partner may accompany a person in established labour
  • Induction of labour: One birthing partner may come to hospital with a pregnant person at the beginning of the induction of labour process to settle them on to the ward (up to 90 mins). The partner will then be asked to leave until the person is in established labour
  • Caesarean sections: Only one birthing partner may attend with a woman for an elective Caesarean section


Only someone who is pregnant may attend the following appointments:

  • Maternity triage

All antenatal appointments (including appointments with a consultant)

Please be aware that in exceptional circumstances, including breaking sad news or a bereavement, visiting and additional attendance of appointments will be supported by maternity teams.

If an expectant parent has any concerns about their health or the health of their baby, we would urge them to contact their midwife who can answer their pregnancy related questions or concerns whenever they 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 Coronavirus (COVID-19) by

  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water
  • Wearing a face mask in our hospitals
  • Following social distancing guidance


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