Last modified 7th May 2020
If you are advised to go to the maternity unit or hospital, pregnant women are asked to travel by private transport, or arrange hospital transport.
If you have Coronavirus symptoms, please alert the maternity unit reception once on the premises, before going into the hospital so that they can prepare the right support for you and the team looking after you.
The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives have released a statement saying that birth partners should be encouraged during birth, as it makes a significant difference to the safety and well-being of women in childbirth. You will be asked to only bring one birth partner with you. Many NHS Trusts are asking partners not to attend antenatal visits; however, this should not impact your birth.
If your chosen birth partner has had symptoms of Coronavirus in the past 7 days , they will not be allowed to go into the maternity suite, in order to protect other women and babies as well as NHS staff. Birth partners will be asked about symptoms when arriving.
Your birth partner may be asked to stay with you throughout and not go to other parts of the hospital. Your maternity team will let you know what is expected of you.
It is recommended that you have a second-choice birth partner in case your partner develops symptoms.
In the weeks leading up to your due date, it may be a good idea for you and your partner to self-isolate in order to avoid getting the virus. Try to get your shopping delivered by companies, family, or friends. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the shopping.
Wash your hands every two hours, even if you’re not leaving the house. If you are required to go into the unit to have any checks, then please do so. You will be asked to attend any antenatal appointments alone in most cases.
Your maternity team will do everything they can to respect your birth choices, as well as protect the wellbeing of you and your baby. In the vast majority of cases, if your birth partner does not have Coronavirus symptoms, then they will be allowed to attend your birth. If your first-choice birth partner does have symptoms, it might be worth thinking of another birth partner that can be with you.
You may have your temperature checked and be asked about Coronavirus symptoms as you arrive at the maternity unit.
Your team may be wearing protective clothing, including face masks – please do not let this alarm you. This is to protect them and you.
Women who have symptoms of Coronavirus are being requested to birth in the hospital – your team will give you more information about local services. This is so that the baby’s heart can be monitored, and that your oxygen levels can be monitored hourly. These measures are precautionary and can only take place in the hospital where both doctors and midwives are present.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that you should not give birth vaginally, or that a Caesarean section would be safer. If you do have difficulty breathing or your team is concerned then they may recommend that you have a Caesarean section – this will be communicated to you.
There is a chance that Coronavirus could be passed onto a baby in the womb, but the evidence of this is very limited. Your maternity team will be practising very strict infection control measures, and a neonatal team will be on hand if your baby has suspected Coronavirus to provide care.
Home births and midwifery-led units that are not co-located with an obstetric unit rely on ambulance services to transfer to hospital if more support is needed; therefore, some of these services may have been limited in your local area due to staff shortages and additional pressure on the ambulance service. Please check with your local team – this is to ensure you have the care you might need.
If you have Coronavirus symptoms, it is recommended that you give birth in the hospital, so that you and your baby can be monitored by doctors and midwives.
If your local maternity team is still able to provide you with a home birth, then it is worth asking them how to best prepare and what may have changed.
If you have Coronavirus symptoms then it is not recommended that you have a water birth, as the virus can be found in faeces, and this could pass to your baby in the water. Water births may also limit your team’s protective equipment.
If you have no symptoms, your maternity team will let you know if this is a service that they can offer at this time and if anything may have changed.
There is no evidence currently that you cannot use gas and air (Entonox) or have an epidural or spinal block during labour, and this is the same if you have Coronavirus symptoms.