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 a safe distance from staff in the scanning room and waiting area
  • wear a surgical face mask covering their nose and mouth – a support person will be asked to leave the hospital building and won’t be able to attend the ultrasound scan if they refuse to do so

If your support person is unable to wear a surgical face mask for any reason, they will be unable to join you for the scan so you may wish to consider bringing a different support person with you to your appointment.

We kindly ask you to be on time for your appointment so that we can have as few people in our waiting areas 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 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 appropriate social distancing is maintained in the waiting room.

Your support person may be asked to wait outside or in their cars provided until the time of the appointment.

After the scan, if no immediate counselling is required, the support person should leave the building while any additional care is provided.

 

Visiting antenatal and postnatal wards

  • Two people may visit antenatal/postnatal wards. A 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 and they must be able to wear a surgical face mask, unless they are medically exempt
  • Outside of labour, we cannot support visiting for someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 on antenatal and postnatal wards
  • Under current COVID-19 guidelines children are not able to visit our wards, apart from in exceptional or compassionate circumstances
  • We ask that visitors stay at the bedside and always maintain a safe distance from staff and other patients
  • 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.

 

Visitors and PPE (personal protective equipment)

  • All visitors must wear a surgical face mask covering their nose and mouth – we can provide one for you. If you are medically exempt, please make ward teams aware as they will be able to offer you alternative face protection
  • No personal, fabric face coverings should be worn in our hospitals
  • Please respect our staff and be kind if you are asked to put on a face mask or adjust it. Our teams are just doing their jobs and following national Infection Prevention and Control guidance by asking you to wear a face mask in our hospitals
  • All visitors will also be offered gloves and an apron if they are within two metres of the person they are visiting on our wards. Even if you are from the same household, wearing additional PPE helps to reduce the risk of contaminating the ward environment.

 

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 a safe distance from staff in the birthing room
  • Wear a surgical face mask covering their nose and mouth at all times – birthing partners will be asked to leave our hospitals if they refuse to do so
  • 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 if they need support. 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.

 

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 and they must be able to wear surgical a face mask.

 

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) and they must be able to wear a surgical face mask.

 

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 and they must be able to wear a surgical face mask.

 

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 and they must be able to wear a surgical face mask.

 

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 and they must be able to wear a face mask.
  • 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
  • Wearing a surgical face mask covering your nose and mouth at all times
  • Stay arm’s length apart 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. Please read the Visiting our Wards page.

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