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We have created this page to keep all our local Coronavirus (Covid-19) information central for you to easily access. Please check this page regularly for updates on visiting, appointments and pregnancy information related to Covid-19. We are working incredibly hard to keep you up to date with the latest information, therefore all relevant information will also be posted on our MTW Maternity Facebook page.

As information changes so rapidly during this time, we advise you to use reputable sources for information such as RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) and Public Health England as these sites are regularly updated with government issued advice.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have published a regularly updated Frequently Asked Questions for Coronavirus related information.

Page updated 07/10/2021 (We are continuing with all Covid-19 safety measures at our sites after the 19th July until further notice.)

FAQs about your pregnancy during the pandemic

Can I bring someone with me to my scan appointments?

You are welcome to bring a support partner with you to all maternity scans and outpatient appointments at Tunbridge Wells Hospital and Maidstone Hospital as well as our birth centres in Maidstone and Crowborough.

When you arrive for your appointment at the hospital’s or birth centre’s main entrance:

  • You and your support partner will have your temperatures taken by a staff member
  • You will both be required to wear a hospital supplied disposable surgical face mask or a visor – unless you are medically exempt or there is a clinical reason for you not to wear a mask
  • You will be asked to make your way to the waiting area where social distancing measures will be in place – please observe them

Unfortunately, at this moment in time, children are not allowed to attend your appointment due to social distancing measures being in place.

If your support partner has tested positive then we expect them to follow national guidance and isolate at home.

Twice weekly rapid testing is now available to everybody. You and your birth partner are advised to take up this opportunity during your pregnancy. For details on where to get a lateral flow test kit or testing please visit – https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

Some community midwife appointments may be hosted in venues such as GP surgeries and Children’s Centres which operate their own visiting policies. Please clarify this with your community midwife beforehand to avoid disappointment or inconvenience.

 

How many people can I have with me when I’m in labour?

You can have up to two nominated birth partners, which can include a doula, with you throughout all stages of labour. Your birth partner/s will be asked to wait outside triage while our midwives make you comfortable in an allocated room, but as soon as you are settled they will be invited in to support you.

Your nominated birth partner/s can leave Tunbridge Wells Hospital, or Maidstone Birth Centre, and return at a later time, or the following day, throughout all stages of labour but only one of your nominated birth partners will be able to stay with you and the baby on the postnatal ward at the hospital. Please note, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, patients and visitors during the pandemic, once a birth partner, or partners, has been chosen you cannot change who they are.

A wristband will be given to your birth partner/s when they arrive at the hospital, or birth centre, to support you. The wristband proves they have been with you previously. They must not remove it or give it to another person as they must show it to staff at the main entrance when they return. The wristbands will be different colours as one will indicate which nominated birth partner will be staying with you on the postnatal ward once the baby has been delivered. Entry is also subject to a temperature check being carried out by staff on the door. Your birth partner/s are expected to observe social distancing measures and wear a hospital supplied disposable surgical face mask at all times while in the hospital or birth centre – unless they are exempt or there is a clinical reason for them not to wear a mask.

If you are having an induced labour, one birth partner can support you on the antenatal ward with the second birth partner being invited in once you have been transferred to the delivery suite. If you are an inpatient on the antenatal ward and you are not in early labour or being induced, your birth partner/s can visit you between 4pm and 5pm daily.

 

I have tested positive for Covid-19, can my birth partner/s be present during my labour/admission?

If you have tested positive for Covid-19, please call the maternity department on 01892 633500 in order to make an individualised plan.

 

Do I need to wear a face covering?

Yes, you are required to wear a face covering for any appointment or scan within the hospital or with your midwife in the community. When you arrive at the hospital you will be supplied with a disposable surgical face mask.

You do not need to wear a face mask when you are in labour or admitted to a ward, but should wear a face mask when in public areas of the hospital. You should also ensure you are wearing a mask when a member of staff comes into your room.

Your birth partner/s must wear a hospital supplied disposable surgical face mask at all times.

You and your birth partner/s will be asked to follow these measures at all times. If the measures aren’t followed your birth partner/s will be asked to leave, unless they are exempt for medical reasons.

 

 I am worried about my baby’s movements; can I still come into hospital?

Yes. Access to urgent midwifery care remains the same. If you have any concerns about you or your baby, such as change in movements, vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain, please call maternity triage as soon as possible on 01892 633500.

You will be invited in for assessment if necessary, even if you are unwell or isolating.

 

What happens if I am contacted by NHS Track and Trace and told to isolate?

If you have received a notification from NHS Track and Trace and been told to isolate or you have had a positive PCR, you must do so. If you are due to attend a face-to-face appointment with a midwife or doctor you must not attend, unless you are advised to do so by your midwife. In this instance, please contact the relevant area to re-arrange your appointment for when your isolation period ends or to arrange a telephone appointment instead.

  • Midwifery liaison for community midwifery appointments- 01892 633488/638158
  • Ultrasound appointments – Maidstone 01622 224241 or Tunbridge Wells 01892 633043
  • Antenatal clinic appointments- Maidstone 01622 224293 or Tunbridge Wells 01892 638035

If you are in labour or have any concerns about you or your baby it is important you still phone maternity triage on 01892 633500 – inform them you are isolating during this call. You will still be invited in for assessment if necessary.

 

My birth partner/s is isolating/has Covid-19 symptoms can they still attend hospital and be with me while I am in labour?

If your birth partner’/s has Covid-19 symptoms, they should arrange a PCR swab as soon as possible. Visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test for more information.

If your birth partner/s has tested positive for Covid-19 or has been told to isolate they should continue to do so. If you are in labour, please call the maternity department on 01892 633500 in order to make an individualised plan.

 

My birth partner/s or a member of my household is awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test; can I still come into the hospital if I am in labour or due for induction of labour or an elective caesarean?

In order to make an individualised plan with you, you should call the maternity department on 01892 633500 and make them aware that a member of your household is in isolation. You will still be advised to attend; however, the member of your household should remain in isolation until the result is known.

 

What happens if I have symptoms of Covid-19 and I am due to come into the hospital either because I am in labour or due for induction of labour or an elective caesarean?

If you have Covid-19 symptoms or have received a positive test result prior to your admission, you should call the maternity department as soon as possible on 01892 633500 so an individual plan of care can be made with you. You will still be able to come into hospital and you will be cared for in our dedicated area on delivery suite.

 

If I develop symptoms of Covid-19 whilst I’m an inpatient will my care change?

If you are suspected of having Covid-19 or test positive you will be cared for in our dedicated area on delivery suite. This helps us to keep all our patients safe whilst you are an inpatient. All of our rooms are single occupancy so you are not at any additional risk if you are cared for in this dedicated area.

 

Will I be tested for Covid-19 when I come into hospital either because I am in labour or due for induction of labour or an elective caesarean?

All inpatients are asked to have a Covid-19 test on admission and again after five days if you are still in hospital. This is a swab that is taken from your nose and throat. The results are available within 24-48 hours so you may not receive the result until you are discharged.

 

Do I or my birth partner/s need to carry out a regular Covid-19 testing?

Twice weekly lateral flow testing is now available to everybody. You and your birth partner/s are advised to take up this opportunity during your pregnancy to help make sure any Covid-19 infection is picked up early and managed. For details on how you can get a lateral flow test kit or testing please visit – https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

 

Can I have the Covid-19 vaccine if I am pregnant?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). For further information please speak to your midwife, GP or obstetrician or visit:
COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy information leaflet – https://www.gov.uk/…/covid-19-vaccination-women-of…
RCM and RCOG decision aid and videos – https://www.rcog.org.uk/…/2021-02-24-combined-info…
More information:

As information changes so rapidly during this time, we advise you to use reputable sources for information such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Public Health England as these websites are regularly updated with government issued advice.

If you have a question about your pregnancy or baby, contact your community midwife on 01892 633488 / 638158.

For urgent enquiries, phone our maternity triage on 01892 633500 / 634664.

For Covid-19 (Coronavirus) related questions or concerns please email: mtw-tr.maternitycovid19@nhs.net  – we will respond as soon as possible. Please do not email any urgent clinical concerns as there may be a delay in replying.

 

 

 

Visiting Policy - Updated 25/10/2021

Following the increase of Covid-19 in the community, particularly amongst school aged children, we have taken the difficult decision to no longer allow children to visit on the maternity wards. We are pleased to be able to continue to allow two birth partners, which can include a doula. They will be asked to wait outside triage while you are made comfortable in an allocated room but as soon as you are settled they will be invited in.

Only one of the nominated birth partners will be able to remain with you and baby on the postnatal ward, however this decision will be kept under constant review. Please note, once a birth partner has been chosen you cannot change who they are. If you are having an induced labour, one birth partner can support you on the antenatal ward with the second birth partner being invited in once you have been transferred to the delivery suite. If you are an inpatient on the antenatal ward and you are not in early labour or being induced, your birth partner can visit you between 4pm and 5pm daily.

A birth partner is welcome to all maternity scans and outpatient appointments at Tunbridge Wells Hospital as well as our birth centres in Maidstone and Crowborough but unfortunately, we are not able to allow children to attend.

We have to be responsive and sensitive to the evolving situation and thank you for your understanding .


Partners are welcome to all maternity scans and outpatient appointments at Tunbridge Wells Hospital as well as our birth centres in Maidstone and Crowborough.

When you arrive for your appointment at the hospital’s or birth centre’s main entrance:

  • You and your partner will have your temperatures taken by a staff member
  • You will both be required to wear a hospital supplied disposable surgical face mask or a visor  – unless you are medically exempt or there is a clinical reason for you not to wear a mask.
  • You will be asked to make your way to the waiting area where social distancing measures will be in place – please observe them. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, children are not allowed to attend your appointment with you and will not be permitted.

If your partner has tested positive then we expect them to follow national guidance and isolate at home.

If you test positive ahead of your hospital, birth centre or outpatient appointment, please let your midwife know and await advice on what to do next.

Some community midwife appointments may be hosted in venues such as GP surgeries and Children’s Centres which operate their own
visiting policies. Please clarify this with your community midwife beforehand to avoid disappointment or inconvenience.

Twice weekly rapid testing is now available to everybody. To help make sure any Covid-19 infection is picked up early and managed, both you and your birth partner/s are encouraged to take up this opportunity during your pregnancy. For details on where to get a lateral flow test kit or testing please visit – https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). For further information please speak to your midwife, GP or obstetrician or visit:
COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy information leaflet – https://www.gov.uk/…/covid-19-vaccination-women-of…
RCM and RCOG decision aid and videos – https://www.rcog.org.uk/…/2021-02-24-combined-info…

 

Once again, we would like to thank you for your continued  support, patience and understanding during these difficult times.

Temporary suspension of homebirth service

Due to significant pressures on our maternity services, we have taken the extremely difficult decision to temporarily suspend our homebirth service.

We would like to express our sadness with this decision and understand this will be disappointing to those who have chosen a home birth but your safety remains our priority. The maternity team are working tirelessly to minimise the impact on your pregnancy experience and this decision will be reviewed regularly.

We have made provisions at our stand-alone birth centre at Maidstone, where we would invite you to birth. Please contact Maidstone Birth Centre (01622 220160/1) or your community midwife to discuss your options. We also have home from home settings available at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

*This decision is reviewed fortnightly.

Out of area referrals temporarily suspended

Unfortunately, due to increased demand on our maternity services Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend out of area referrals for the next three months as of Monday 24 May 2021.

Pregnancy and planning for the arrival of your baby is an exciting time so we understand this news will be disappointing for many women and we are very sorry, however this action is necessary to ensure the safety of the women and families we care for.

We will continue to support anyone who already has an appointment to meet with the maternity team to discuss their care up to and including Sunday 23 May 2021.

Other birthing choices available in Kent and Medway can be found on the Bump Birth and Beyond website – https://kentandmedwaylms.nhs.uk/ If you live outside of these areas then please visit your local NHS Trust’s website to see what other options are available to you.

We would like to reassure you that our decision will be kept under regular review and we will inform you of any changes at the earliest opportunity.

If you are unsure whether you live in MTW’s maternity services catchment area, please contact the midwifery booking team – mtw-tr.maternityselfreferral@nhs.net

If you live in MTW’s catchment area please click here to be taken to our self-referral form.

Once again we thank you for your patience and understanding as well as your support over the recent months.

Symptoms and Self-isolation

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

What to do if you have symptoms

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they’re mild:

  1. Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.
  2. Stay at home and do not have visitors (self-isolate) until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test. Check if people you live with need to self-isolate.
  3. If you have any concerns phone our maternity triage on 01892 633500 – available 24 hours 7 days a week

Get a PCR test to check if you have COVID-19 on GOV.UK

 

 

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination

You can be vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) if:

  • you’re pregnant or think you might be
  • you’re breastfeeding
  • you’re trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future

If you’re pregnant

If you’re pregnant and have not had a COVID-19 vaccine yet, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

This is because these vaccines have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified.

If you’ve already had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for your 1st dose and did not have any serious side effects, you should have it again for your 2nd dose.

The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.For further information please speak to your midwife, GP or obstetrician or visit:

COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy information leaflet – https://www.gov.uk/…/covid-19-vaccination-women-of…

RCM and RCOG decision aid and videos – https://www.rcog.org.uk/…/2021-02-24-combined-info…

Booking your vaccination appointments

If you’re aged 16 or over, you can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online.

If you’re under 40, you’ll only be shown appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

If you’re 40 or over, you’ll be asked if you’re pregnant to make sure you’re only shown appointments for these vaccines.

If you’re breastfeeding

You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccines and cannot pass it to your baby through your breast milk.

If you’re breastfeeding, the vaccines you can have depends on your age:

  • if you’re 40 or over, you can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines
  • if you’re under 40 and do not have a health condition that increases your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine

The Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines are preferable in people under 40 because of an extremely rare blood clotting problem linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccine side effects

Fertility and COVID-19 vaccination

There’s no evidence the COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant.

There’s no need to avoid getting pregnant after being vaccinated.

Face Coverings

You and your birth partner are required to wear a face covering for any appointment or scan within the hospital or with your midwife in the community. As per hospital policy, this should be a hospital supplied disposable surgical grade mask.

You do not need to wear a face mask when you are in labour or admitted to a ward, but should wear a face mask when in public areas of the hospital. You should also ensure you are wearing a mask when a member of staff comes into your room.

Birth partners must wear a surgical grade face mask at all times.

You and your support person will be asked to follow these measures at all times. Non-compliance will result in your birth partner being asked to leave, unless they are exempt for medical reasons.

 

Hand Hygiene

It is incredibly important to wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This reduces the chance of transmitting the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) amongst surfaces and your mouth, nose and eyes. Try to remember not to touch your face and wash your hands before and after eating.

The poster below gives you a guide to thorough handwashing.

Changes to antenatal care

Some of your antenatal appointments may be performed over the phone. Your midwife will be able to answer any of your questions related to pregnancy and will advise you when you will be seen face to face.

Please ensure your contact details are up date as we will need to contact you. Please be aware that calls from the Trust will be made from a withheld number and due to the volume of calls that we will need to make will only try to contact you twice. If you think you have missed a call from us, please contact your midwife.

If you have urgent clinical concerns please contact Maternity Triage as normal.

Infant feeding advice

Breastfeeding Drop-ins

Due to the introduction of social distancing measures, the drop in clinics for breastfeeding support have been suspended. You can still access practical advice from the Kent and Medway Beside You website as well as more information on our Infant Feeding page. If you have any concerns around infant feeding please use the email below:                                   

mtw-tr.infant-feeding-specialists@nhs.net

Please note: that emails will be checked regularly but may not be responded to straightaway, so for any urgent concerns please speak to your midwife or maternity triage.

Colostrum collection

We are still offering a colostrum collection service so please ask your midwife about your suitability and for a colostrum collection pack. We have a video you can watch for more information and a practical demonstration here.

Tongue tie Service

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Tongue tie service has been temporarily suspended during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. We would urge you to visit the Unicef Baby Friendly website as well as Kent and Medway Beside You for any breastfeeding advice.

Remember to ALWAYS contact a health professional in an emergency

 

Breastfeeding

There is a wealth of evidence that breastfeeding reduces the risk of babies developing infectious diseases. There are numerous live constituents in human milk, including immunoglobulins, antiviral factors, cytokines and leucocytes that help to destroy harmful pathogens and boost the baby’s immune system. There is no evidence at this time that Covid19 can be passed through breastmilk. Therefore, considering the protection that human milk and breastfeeding offers the baby and the minimal role they play in the transmission of respiratory viruses, it seems sensible to do all we can to continue to promote, protect and support breastfeeding. (UNICEF BFI March 2020)

To help breastfeeding be successful, we recommend that mothers and babies should stay together as much as possible; to have skin-to-skin contact; to feed their baby responsively and have to on-going support when this is needed (see online resources on our Facebook page). When you choose to mixed feed, we are encouraging them to maximise the amount of breast milk they are able to give, or if you choose, to be supported to return to full breastfeeding.

Maximising breastmilk video

Maximising Breastmilk and Re-lactation Guidance

Formula feeding

We encourage you to continue adhering to current guidance on washing and sterilising equipment. We also encourage you to bottle feed responsively, including pacing feeds and limiting the number of people who feed your baby.

 

Practical information for parents if they have Covid-19 and are caring for their baby

If parents/carers have Covid-19, please take precautions to limit the spread of Covid-19 to the baby by:

▪ Washing hands thoroughly before and after contact with the baby.

▪ Routinely cleaning and disinfecting any surfaces touched.

▪ Cleaning any infant feeding equipment, including breast pumps, bottles and teats thoroughly before and after use.

▪ Practicing respiratory hygiene, including during feeding, for example by avoiding coughing or sneezing on the baby and by wearing a face mask or suitable alternative if available.

▪ Parents should take care to avoid falling asleep with their baby, see our information on Co-sleeping and SIDS, Safer sleep for babies

Sleep and night time resources from Unicef

Supporting close and loving relationships

Regardless of feeding method, it is essential that babies’ needs for emotional attachment with their parents/primary caregiver continue as normal. Keeping your baby close and responding to their need for food, love and comfort are all essential for babies’ health, wellbeing and development. In addition, this will enhance your mental wellbeing in the postnatal period.

Adapted from UNICEF BFI Statement April 2020  ‘ INFANT FEEDING DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK’

Contact Us

We are receiving a large volume of calls so please use the most appropriate contact method for your need.

If you have an urgent clinical concern please contact Maternity Triage: 01892 633500– available 24 hours 7 days a week.

To contact your community midwife please call Midwifery Liaison: 01892 633488/638158– available Monday-Friday 0800-1630

We have set up a dedicated email address for all of your Covid-19 (Coronavirus) questions, concerns or queries. This email is checked regularly and we will respond as soon as possible. Email: mtw-tr.maternitycovid19@nhs.net Please do not email urgent clinical concerns as there may be a delay in reply.