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.

Maternity visiting policy and attending antenatal scans:

Like all NHS Trusts, MTW has had to review and carry out risk assessments of all of its services, including the ultrasound services at both of our hospital sites to determine whether or not it is safe to allow partners to attend antenatal scan appointments.

Our Maternity service team carried out a risk assessment and an extensive review of both routine obstetric ultrasound services and also our Early Pregnancy and Acute Gynae scanning service to ensure they can be delivered safely. The team has met with a range of stakeholders, including our Maternity Voices Partnership representative, and also sought comments from a wide range of staff groups such as sonographers on both sites, as well as many of our senior midwives, consultants, and the screening coordinator midwife team. Conversations on social media as well as direct feedback from patients have been taken into consideration too.

Following the risk assessment and review, the team concluded that at this moment due to the size and layout of the shared waiting areas and scan rooms, and staff welfare it is not safe to invite a partner to attend routine scans.

The decision has not been taken lightly and we do not underestimate the impact of these restrictions for those who are expecting and their partners. These measures are in place for everyone’s safety and we are working hard to find a solution so partners can attend routine scans in the very near future.

We appreciate the need for support for those who may be receiving unexpected or difficult news. For those who find themselves in this situation our staff will encourage partners to attend. A dedicated quiet space has been specifically set up for this purpose.

If it is anticipated that there is a higher risk of an adverse outcome, partners will be able to attend at the beginning of these scans.

Exceptions have also been made for safeguarding reasons for those under the age of 18 and those with learning disabilities.

We continue to review our policy about partners accompanying those who are pregnant to routine antenatal scans and appointments. Once local prevalence of Covid has reduced and/or we have an effective vaccine we will be pleased to welcome partners to all appointments and scans.

For our visiting policy please go to the patients and visitors page.

Page updated 30/10/2020

Symptoms and Self-isolation

Do not leave your home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Do not leave your home if you have either:

  • 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 change or loss in smell or taste

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Please do not attend any midwifery or hospital appointments if you have any of the above symptoms. You should contact your midwife and let her know that you are self-isolating.

Self-isolation helps stop coronavirus spreading

Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

This is called self-isolation.

If you are self-isolating, you must:

  • not leave your home for any reason, you can use your garden, if you have one.
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
  • ensure your family (who live with you) follow the same guidance

If you or anyone in your household has symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) please read this Stay at Home guidance from Public Health England.

Face Coverings- Updated 16th June

Please note that from the 15th June 2020, all visitors to the hospital and birth centres are required to wear face coverings to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

You are required to wear a face covering for any appointment or scan within the hospital of with your midwife in the community. You do not need to wear a face covering when you are in labour or admitted to a ward, however birth partners must wear face coverings at all times.

Please see the main hospital website for more information here

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.

Visiting Policy during the Covid-19 Outbreak

 

  • Maternity Departments– A partner of a person in labour is able to stay throughout labour including in the early stages of labour and during induction of labour on the antenatal ward. The same partner can remain until discharge from post-natal ward. For people/parents in the antenatal ward, but not in labour, only the nominated birth partner may visit. To ensure we follow local infection and prevention control measures, NO visitor/partner is to attend a scan or any antenatal appointment unless the person having the scan is under the age of 18, in which case the partner and a parent/guardian can attend, or the person has a learning disability, in which case one partner or carer can attend. This must be by prior arrangement only. Pregnant people are welcome to record part of their scan to share with family and friends following their appointment and a free photo of their scan will also be given to them at the end of their appointment. Should unexpected news be delivered to the person during their scan whilst they are on their own, they will be allowed to bring in one other person to support them. Three dedicated quite spaces have been set up specifically for this purpose. NO children permitted in any Maternity Departments.

Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit

Emergency Gynae Assessment Unit/Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre

All services are continuing as normal through the Early Pregnancy/Emergency Gynae assessment units. If you under 12 weeks pregnant and experience any bleeding or pain that concerns you, please speak to your GP.

  • There is NO visiting permitted at this time
  • Please attend alone, with your partner/relative remaining in the car park until the appointment is concluded.
  • If attending the EGAU/EPAC service, you will be asked questions over the telephone screening for symptoms of Covid-19. Should you need to attend the department, you will have your temperature checked upon arrival to the department.
  • Staff in the department will be wearing PPE, consisting of a face mask, plastic apron, goggles or face mask.

Please visit our Gynaecology service page for more information

 

Ultrasound scans

We have had to make some difficult decisions during the pandemic, one of which being the restriction on all partners and family attending antenatal scans, due to the difficulty of maintaining a safe social distance within the clinical rooms and waiting areas. Please attend your ultrasound scans on your own. We recognise that this is an exciting and important time for families and so we can offer a short video of the scan to be taken. This will occur at the end of your scan appointment when the sonographer has been able to complete the medical examination. Please do not film the sonographer under any circumstances.

Please note: This will only apply for antenatal scans and will not apply to early pregnancy scans and be only be available for the duration of the Covid 19 pandemic.

 

Elective caesarean group pre-op sessions

If you have an elective caesarean booked within the next few weeks, there are some changes you should be aware of.

The group pre-op sessions have been cancelled in order to comply with social distancing. Instead you can access the important information slides here.

You will be contacted by the Antenatal clinic to invite you to your individual pre-op appointment to collect your medication and have your bloods taken. This usually takes place a few days before your surgery is booked.

On the day of your surgery, you will be admitted at a pre-arranged time to be prepared for theatre. Your birth partner will not be able to stay with you while you wait but will be able to attend once you are ready to go to theatre. Please remember that your birth partner must be symptoms free from Covid-19 (temperature or cough) in order to accompany you.

We understand that this may cause some worry but please be assured that our staff are here to keep you safe and will offer any support you might need.

Once your baby has been born, you will be transferred to the postnatal ward. Your partner is able to stay here with you but will not be able to leave and return so please bear this in mind and make sure you have enough supplies.

Changes to antenatal care

In order to minimise face to face contacts, some of your antenatal appointments will be performed over the phone. Your midwife will be able to answer any of your questions related to pregnancy and will advise you if you need to be seen face to face.

For any face to face contact, please ensure you have no symptoms or are not currently part of household isolation. Your midwife will likely call you prior to your appointment in order to ask you screening questions. Please remember that you must attend your appointment on your own and you will not be able to bring any children with you.

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 appointments with a Consultant or Doctor booked, you will be contacted by phone to discuss your ongoing care.

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

Home Births-Updated 16th June 2020

Please be aware that current Covid-19 restrictions still apply at homebirths to keep you, your family and our midwives safe.

If you are interested in giving birth at home please discuss this with your midwife at your next appointment. A homebirth assessment will need to be carried out within your home from around 36 weeks of pregnancy. Please be aware that there are some restrictions in place in order for us to introduce this service safely. These include;

  • Your temperature and your birth partner’s temperature will be taken regularly. You may be advised to give birth in hospital if you have a raised temperature
  • There must be a suitable area for the midwife to put on/take off personal protective equipment
  • We ask that only one birth partner is present in the birthing room. Children must be looked after by another adult in a separate room

As a Trust we are committed to supporting our out of hospital births including at home and at our two freestanding birth centres so please visit our Choosing where to have your baby page for more information.

Infant feeding advice- Updated 21st April

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.

Please note: The contact email has been changed due to a technical fault. Please use the updated email above.