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.
Page updated 16th June 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
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- Updated 16th June 2020
Effective from the 26th March 2020
The Trust has made the difficult decision to limit all visiting across both hospital sites. This is to limit the risk of exposure to both patients and staff. We understand this is distressing for many; however we would like to emphasise that this decision has not been taken lightly and after careful consideration of government guidance.
With immediate effect the following applies:
- No accompanying visitor/partner permitted to attend scan or any antenatal appointment, including maternity triage. Please come to these appointments alone.
- No visiting permitted on the Antenatal ward. This includes admission for induction of labour.
- Only 1 birthing partner on labour ward and must be symptom free from COVID 19. As part of government guidance, this person should also be from your own household. This person will be given a pink wristband which must be worn at all times.
- Only 1 supporting partner on the Postnatal ward. This will be the same person as the birth partner and has the pink wristband.
- These restrictions apply for both Maidstone and Crowborough Birth Centres.
- NO CHILDREN will be allowed to visit the hospital at all.
PLEASE NOTE: Your birth partner will only be able to attend once you are in established labour and are ready to be transferred to delivery suite. Once your birth partner has joined you in the hospital they will not be able to leave and come back again so please ensure you bring enough supplies with you (this includes infant formula milk if you are planning to bottle feed). Unfortunately the hospital canteen is closed to patients currently but you will be able to access to limited refreshments on the ward.
“As part of our commitment to ensuring you, your family and our staff remain safe during this challenging time we have taken the following precautions. These may cause concern, but please be assured that we are doing our utmost to ensure your experience whilst with us is as positive as possible.
- Women who are fit and well with no signs or symptoms of COVID 19 will be permitted one nominated partner to support them in labour and the post-natal period. This will be supported with a name band system and will be subject to a wellbeing assessment on admission of both you and your birth partner.
- Birth partner must not be from different households; this is in line with Government advice in an attempt to reduce cross infection.
- It is with regret that the visiting on the AN ward and triage remains unchanged; there is no visiting during this time.
- External services such as stem cell collection and placental encapsulation practitioners will not be permitted entry during this time.
If you or your partner have symptoms of COVID 19, or you have been in self- isolation for the last 14 days due to suspected illness, after careful consideration of the latest guidance we will not be able to permit anyone other than the labouring woman.
This decision is supported by Government guidance that states anyone displaying symptoms or part of a 14 day isolation should not leave their house. This includes supporting someone in labour.
This will be under regular review due to changing situation with COVID 19 pandemic. If there are advances in confirming immunity or the Public Health England guidance changes regarding self- isolation and social distancing we may make changes to the restrictions.”
We understand that this may cause challenges for you and we appreciate that this may cause feelings of worry. If you need to discuss your individual circumstances with a midwife then please contact email@example.com
We are extremely grateful for your continued understanding; we will review this policy on a regular basis in line with government and Trust guidance. Thank you
UPDATE 16th JUNE
Despite government easing of some lockdown restrictions- our visiting policy remains the same as above. The Trust is reviewing the visiting restrictions at all of our hospital sites regularly and we will update these pages with any changes.
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
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. We recognise that this is an exciting and important time for families and so we have decided to allow, for a short time only, 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
UPDATE 16th JUNE 2020
From 15th June we are re-introducing our homebirth service at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.
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
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:
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.
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
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.
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
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- Updated 8th April
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.