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 26/03/2021

FAQs about your pregnancy during the pandemic

Can I bring my child/ren with me to my appointments?

Children are not allowed to visit the hospital at this time unless they have a hospital appointment or need urgent medical treatment. Please come to all Antenatal appointments by yourself.

Due to limited appointment times we recommend you make every effort to attend your appointment. However, if you are unable to attend due to childcare difficulties, please contact the department you are expected to attend to re-schedule your appointment.

 

Can I have someone with me in labour?

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 only. The same partner can remain until discharge from the Postnatal ward. Please bring plenty of supplies for your birth partners stay.

Partners can visit for 1 hour between 4-5pm on the Antenatal ward for those who are admitted for reasons other than early labour or induction of labour. In line with the MTW Trust visiting policy, no other visitors can attend the wards.

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

In line with current legislation, pending review by government,
if you test positive for COVID-19 your support person must stay at or return home to self-isolate. Please be assured that you will be supported by our midwives and maternity staff during your stay.

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. As per hospital policy, this should be a surgical grade mask. If you are unable to bring one with you, this will be supplied at the entrance to the hospital.

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.

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. To help keep everyone safe and to help stop the virus from spreading we ask that you attend on your own initially.

You will be invited in for assessment if it is deemed necessary, even if you are unwell or isolating. If this is the case, you will be asked to use a different entrance and will be met by a midwife who will take you to Maternity Triage or Delivery Suite.

 

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, you must do so. If you are due to attend a face-to-face appointment with a midwife or doctor you must not attend. 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.

 

My child has been sent home from school/nursery and told to isolate, what advice do I follow?

If your child does not have any symptoms of Covid-19, the adults in the households do not need to isolate, meaning you can still attend any appointment. You should not, however, have any visitors to your home.

If your child has symptoms of Covid-19 you must follow government guidance on household isolation which can be found on the gov.uk website

 

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

To help keep everyone safe and to help stop the virus from spreading your birth partner must not attend the hospital if they are isolating or displaying symptoms of Covid-19. However, you may be permitted to bring an alternative birth partner with you when you are in labour as long as they are not symptomatic.

All birth partners need to wear a face covering at all times.

 

My birth partner 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?

You should call the Maternity department on 01892 633500 to make them aware that you are part of household isolation in order to make an individualised plan with you. In most cases you will still be advised to attend, however the rest of your household should remain in isolation until the swab 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. An individual plan of care will be made with you and the risks and benefits discussed in full so an informed choice can be made as to whether to delay your admission.

The safety of you and your baby is paramount and a decision to delay your procedure would only be made if the risk of complications of Covid-19 are higher than continuing with your induction or surgery.

 

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.

In line with current legislation, pending review by government,
if you test positive for COVID-19 your support person must stay at or return home to self-isolate. Please be assured that you will be supported by our midwives and maternity staff during your stay.

 

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 5 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.

 

More information:

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 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 reply.

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

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, unless you are medically exempt.

You are required to wear a surgical face mask for any appointment or scan within the hospital or with your midwife in the community. You do not need to wear a face mask when you are in labour however birth partners must wear surgical face mask 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

 

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.

Prior to any face to face contact, please ensure you have no symptoms or are not currently part of household isolation. 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.

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.