Some guidance and visiting restrictions remain in place in maternity services to keep everyone – patients, visitors, and staff – safe.
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 can attend all ultrasound and fetal medicine scans with someone who is pregnant. Unfortunately, children cannot attend ultrasound scans.
In our scanning areas, you must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19. If you test positive, please call us immediately on the telephone number on your appointment letter. We will need to put alternative arrangements in place to scan you safely and to protect others.
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
Visiting antenatal and postnatal wards
- From Monday 19 September two adults (one birthing partner and one other) may visit antenatal/postnatal wards anytime between 8am and 8pm
- All visitors are urged to wear surgical face masks – more information on why is on our news pages
- 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.
From Wednesday 28 September all visitors to wards in ESNEFT hospitals must wear surgical face masks. The move is being introduced to protect patients and keep them safe after an increase in cases of COVID-19 in ESNEFT hospitals.
Face masks must also be worn when visiting our A&E departments and urgent treatment centres (UTCs) and high risk areas, such as wards where patients are being treated for cancer or respiratory illnesses. You will be advised what the guidance and requirements are in those areas by ward teams.
Face masks are still available at all main entrances, or you can ask a member of staff on the ward or department you are visiting who can supply one for you.
- Two birthing partners may accompany someone in labour at our hospitals from the point of their admission. Birthing partners must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19.
Induction of labour
- One adult 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
- One adult 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 adult 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. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19
Early pregnancy units
- One adult may attend all early pregnancy unit appointments. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19
Consultant antenatal clinics
- One adult may attend all consultant antenatal appointments. They must not be positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of COVID-19
Community antenatal and postnatal midwife led clinics
- One adult may attend all community antenatal and postnatal midwife led appointments. 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