Maternity appointments and visits

 

Please have a quick test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) before coming to our hospitals

From Monday 12 April 2021, the following guidance will apply at ESNEFT hospitals. However, anyone showing symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) should not visit or accompany patients to any appointments.

 

  • Attending ultrasound scans (including early pregnancy units)

    One support person (ideally from the same household or support bubble) can attend all ultrasound and fetal medicine scans with someone who is pregnant. They must not be positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have any symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and they must be able to wear a face mask. You may choose to be accompanied by a different support person at different appointments, as long as all the necessary safety measures, including current lockdown guidance, are followed to make sure you, your support person, other hospital users and staff are safe

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

  • Maintain a 2 metre distance from staff in the scanning room and waiting area
  • Wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth at all times – 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 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 will be asked to wait outside, in their cars or in the marquees 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 to antenatal and postnatal wards

  • One support person (ideally from the same household or support bubble as the patient) may visit antenatal and postnatal wards for two hours a day.
  • They must not be positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have any symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and they must be able to wear a face mask.
  • Visiting slots must be pre-booked with ward teams in advance.
  • We ask that this visitor remains consistent and is the same for each visit.
  • Under current Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines children are not able to visit our wards, apart from in exceptional / compassionate circumstances.
  • 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.
  • We ask that visitors stay at the bedside and maintain a 2 metre distance from staff and other patients at all times.
  • Visitors should ideally not leave the ward during their visiting slot. Please have any necessary drinks, snacks or belongings with you when you arrive.
  • Please be on time for visits and kindly leave the maternity unit once the two hour slot comes to an end.
  • Visitors should wash / sanitise their hands regularly, especially before and after their visit.
  • Visitors may be asked to leave the ward for a number of reasons, such as a medical emergency. If this happens, please respect our staff and kindly do so when asked.

 

Birthing partners

  • One support person may accompany someone in labour at our hospitals from the point of admission. They must not be positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have any symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and they must be able to wear a face mask.
  • We need to be able to maintain social distancing in our birthing rooms, so unfortunately we cannot increase the number of birthing partners any further at this time.

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

  • maintain a 2 metre distance from staff within the birthing room
  • wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth at all times – birthing partners will be asked to leave the hospital building 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 or support bubble) may attend the antenatal ward with someone who is pregnant from when they are admitted, up until 8pm – as long as social distancing can be maintained. They may return if the pregnant person is transferred to delivery suite overnight, or they can come back to the antenatal ward from 8am the next day. They must not be positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have any symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and they must be able to wear a face mask.

 

Caesarean sections

  • One support person (ideally from the same household or support bubble) may attend with a pregnant person to settle them on to the postnatal ward before an elective Caesarean section. To maintain social distancing on the ward, the support person will be asked to wait in their cars, outside our maternity units or in the on-site marquees provided until the pregnant person is ready to go to theatre, unless there are compassionate / exceptional circumstances. Following the birth, the support person may stay in the recovery area and will then be able to go to the postnatal ward where their two hour visit will begin. They must not be positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have any symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and they must be able to wear a face mask.

 

Maternity triage / day assessment units

  • One support person (ideally from the same household or support bubble) may attend all appointments in maternity triage at Colchester Hospital and the day assessment unit at Ipswich Hospital, but they will be asked to wait outside, in their cars or in the marquees provided until the time of the appointment. They must not be positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have any symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and they must be able to wear a face mask.

 

Early pregnancy units

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

 

Consultant antenatal clinics

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

 

Community antenatal and postnatal midwife led clinics

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

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

 

Rapid Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing

We will continue to offer rapid Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, also known as lateral flow testing, at ESNEFT hospitals to:

  • pregnant people and their support person attending 12 and 20 week scans
  • birth partners accompanying someone in labour
  • visitors to our neonatal units
  • pregnant people and their support person attending fetal medicine appointments.

 

Help us stop the spread

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

  • Following the national rules of lockdown (see gov.uk)
  • Washing your hands regularly, especially before and after your visit
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Following social distancing guidance

 

Our hospitals

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

Please be reminded restricted visiting policies in other areas of our hospitals, which remain under regular review, are unchanged for now. Read more here.

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