Recite me link

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 16/03/2022 (We are continuing with all Covid-19 safety measures at our sites after the 24th February, including wearing face masks, until further notice.)

FAQs about your pregnancy during the pandemic

Can I bring someone with me to my scan or outpatient/community midwife 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 hospitals or birth centres:

  • You will both be required to wear a face mask or a visor – unless you are medically exempt or there is a clinical reason for you not to wear a mask.
  • Please wash your hands regularly, or use hand gel.
  • Walk on the left side of the corridor.
  • Social distancing measures will be in place in waiting areas – please observe them.

Unfortunately, at this moment in time, children are not allowed to attend your appointment.

We encourage all visitors to carry out their own lateral flow testing within 24 hours prior to travelling to our sites to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.

If your partner has tested positive please do not visit our site.

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 be with me when I am having my baby?

You can have up to two nominated birth partners with you throughout all stages of labour and this can include a doula.

Your birth partner/s can accompany you to maternity triage. They 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.

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 having an elective caesarean section birth, one birth partner can accompany you.

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 8am to 8pm daily.

A wristband will be given to your birth partner/s when they arrive at the hospital or birth centre to support you in labour. This wristband shows 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. Your birth partner/s are expected to observe social distancing measures and wear a 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.

 

Can my partner stay with me on the postnatal ward?

Only one of your nominated birth partners will be able to stay with you and your baby on the postnatal ward. The same partner can remain until discharge from the Postnatal ward. This must be the same person throughout. Please bring plenty of supplies for your birth partner’s stay, including something to sleep on. Partners can now leave the ward to return home, in order to re-enter the ward, they must be wearing their wristband. No children/siblings are permitted to attend the postnatal ward at present.

 

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.

 

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

If your birth partner/s has tested positive for Covid-19 they should not attend our sites. If you are in labour, please call the maternity department on 01892 633500 in order to make an individualised plan.

 

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

If you have tested positive 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.

 

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

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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?

We encourage all visitors to carry out their own lateral flow testing within 24 hours prior to travelling to our sites to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.

We also recommend you and your partner to carry out lateral flow testing during your pregnancy to help make sure any Covid-19 infection is picked up early and managed. 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

 

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 10/03/2022

Scan and Outpatient/Community Midwife Appointments

One birth partner is welcome to all maternity scans and outpatient appointments at Tunbridge Wells Hospital as well as our birth centres at Maidstone and Crowborough. Protecting our patients, staff and visitors is our priority. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, children are not allowed to attend your appointment.

When you arrive for your appointment at the hospitals or birth centres:

  • You will both be required to wear a face mask or a visor – unless you are medically exempt or there is a clinical reason for you not to wear a mask.
  • Please wash your hands regularly, or use hand gel.
  • Walk on the left side of the corridor.
  • Social distancing measures will be in place in waiting areas – please observe them.

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.

Triage, Antenatal Ward and Delivery Suite

You can have up to two nominated birth partners with you throughout all stages of labour and this can include a doula.

Your birth partner/s can accompany you to maternity triage. They 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.

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 having an elective caesarean section birth, one birth partner can accompany you.

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 8am to 8pm daily.

A wristband will be given to your birth partner/s when they arrive at the hospital or birth centre to support you in labour. This wristband shows 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. Your birth partner/s are expected to observe social distancing measures and wear a 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.

Postnatal Ward

Only one of your nominated birth partners will be able to stay with you and your baby on the postnatal ward. The same partner can remain until discharge from the Postnatal ward. This must be the same person throughout. Please bring plenty of supplies for your birth partner’s stay, including something to sleep on. Partners can now leave the ward to return home, in order to re-enter the ward, they must be wearing their wristband. No children/siblings are permitted to attend the postnatal ward at present.

Lateral Flow Testing

We encourage all visitors to carry out their own lateral flow testing within 24 hours prior to travelling to our sites to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.

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

If your partner has tested positive for Covid, please do not visit our sites.

We also encourage you and your partner to carry out lateral flow testing during your pregnancy to help make sure any Covid-19 infection is picked up early and managed. 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

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.

 

Temporary suspension of homebirth service

We are booking birth place assessments for all ‘low risk’ pregnant people who are more than 34 weeks. Please speak to your community midwife or phone our birth centres directly to arrange a birth place assessment or to discuss out of hospital birth options.

 

 

Re-introduction of out of area bookings

We are once again able to accept out of area bookings for a birth at MTW. 

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. Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you get your test result.
  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.

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.