Last modified 10th July 2020
Keep washing your hands regularly, with hot water and soap, for at least 20 seconds. Especially before touching your baby.
Visitor numbers in hospital may be restricted, and you will only be allowed to have your birth partner with you after you have given birth. Your partner may need to leave after the birth of your baby, depending on local facilities. This is to protect you, your baby, other families, and the team caring for you.
If this is your choice, at this time you will still be able to practice skin-to-skin and stay with your baby provided that your baby is well and does not require any support from the neonatal care team. Your care team will advise you about risks and benefits if you do have Coronavirus symptoms.
You will still be able to breastfeed your baby if this is your choice, as there is currently no evidence that breast milk can carry the virus. Although precautionary measures should be taken to reduce the risks of passing it on in other ways.
The recommendation once you have returned home is to maintain social distancing rules set out by the Government. When you return home, please wait to let your family and friends have a cuddle with your baby.
Pregnant women are still classed as “clinically vulnerable”, which means you should be especially careful and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene.
The guidance is now:
- You can meet in groups of up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household). Even inside someone’s home you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.
- When you are outside you can meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines.
- Those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in the bubble, but you should not change who you have formed a support bubble with.
- You can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (where you need to keep social distancing).
You should be contacted by your maternity team at day 1, day 5 and day 10 as a minimum. They will contact you more if you or your baby need extra support.
Your first visit after you have left hospital will be in person, and here are a few ways to prepare for that visit:
- Let your maternity team know if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19 before the visit.
- Open the window of the room your visit will take place in.
- Please open the doors for the midwife that’s visiting to prevent them touching as many surfaces as possible.
- Other members of your household should be at least 2m apart from the visiting midwife.
- The midwife will be wearing protective clothing when they visit.
- Wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles.
- Try to avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding from the bottle or breast.
- Consider wearing a face mask while feeding, if available.
- Follow recommendations for pump cleaning after each use.
- Consider asking someone who is well to feed your baby if you have Coronavirus symptoms.
It is recommend that you follow strict adherence to sterilisation guidelines if you are using a bottle. If you are expressing breast milk in hospital, a dedicated breast pump should be used.
Breastfeeding: there is no evidence that the virus can be carried in breastmilk, and there is a wealth of evidence that breastfeeding reduces the risk of babies developing infectious diseases. If you do have symptoms of Coronavirus, please do talk to your maternity team, family about the risks and benefits. You should be supported by your maternity team with whatever choice you make.
Although the risks are very low, you may be concerned that your baby could get coronavirus. There are certain things you can look out for below. It’s important you that you not delay seeking help if you have concerns – it’s better to check these things.
Many babies with the virus will not show signs of illness and will recover fully. Some can develop an unstable temperature and/or a cough. Babies with infections do not always develop a fever.
- If your baby has a cough, fever or feels usually hot or cold, but otherwise will, then call NHS 111.
- If your baby is jaundiced or feeding poorly call your midwifery team.
- If your baby shows any signs which concern you in relation to their breathing, colour or movement, unusually hot or cold, but otherwise well, then call 999 straight away.
If you’re generally worried about your baby’s health, there is NHS advice and guidance that will help you figure out what to do next.
Please do still contact a healthcare professional, the 111 team, or 999 if you are concerned. Even at this time, they will want to hear from you if you are worried.