Changes to maternity services
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are reviewing our maternity service guidelines on a regular basis. The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and individuals and teams remains our absolute priority.
So we can protect everyone from the spread of Covid-19, it is important that anyone coming to one of our hospital sites follows the latest Government Covid-19 guidelines.
One partner or supporter can attend all antenatal ultrasound scans, outpatient appointments, clinic and triage visits at our hospitals subject to appropriate PPE being worn (which may include a mask and visor in areas where social distancing is not possible - visors will be provided by our maternity team if required).
Lateral flow testing
In line with Government recommendations for twice-weekly lateral flow testing and the importance of keeping everyone safe during this pandemic, we are recommending that all pregnant women and support people undertake a twice-weekly lateral flow Covid-19 test during pregnancy.
This is so that we can maximise the safety for everyone, including pregnant women, their babies and our hospital patients. This will allow us to make sure any COVID infection is picked up early and effectively managed.
Please note: this is a recommendation and it will not change the level of PPE worn by public or staff, it is an extra layer of protection. We will also not refuse to see someone if they decline testing.
How to order a lateral flow test
- Order your test online here – it can be delivered to your house or collected from a local pharmacy or collection point.
- Carry out a test 24 hours prior to an antenatal appointment at GP or hospital (as part of the twice weekly routine testing) and log your results.
- You will receive an email with the result which can be shown to your midwife or health professional and they will make a record of this.
Where women and their support people test negative for Covid-19 and both staff and support people follow IPC guidelines, including use of PPE, the additional risk of Covid-19 transmission is likely to be small.
What if I get a positive result?
If you receive a positive result, please do not worry: the majority (more than two thirds) of pregnant women who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 will be asymptomatic; most symptomatic women experience only mild or moderate cold/flu-like symptoms.
- Arrange PCR test via the Government website or contact 119.
- You will be advised to contact the maternity services area where your appointment was scheduled prior to attending an appointment and you will need to arrange PCR test to check if the positive result is accurate.
- You can still be seen at our hospital for emergency care such as reduced movements or concerns. Please let the team know before you arrive so that extra precautions can be taken to avoid transmission.
- Non-urgent routine appointments may need to be rescheduled or conducted by telephone.
- You will still be able to give birth at our hospital sites if you have a positive result – please do not worry. Please let us know beforehand so that extra precautions can be taken to avoid transmission and help keep everyone safe.
What if my support person/ birth partner receives a positive result?
If your partner receives a positive result, a confirmatory PCR test will be required to check if the positive result is accurate.
Unfortunately they would not be able to attend clinic visits, appointments or birth with you. You can select an alternative support person who has not tested positive for Covid-19. Further information can be found in this document available on the NHS England website
Visiting times for antenatal, postnatal, transitional care impatient wards and induction suite (induction visiting is in addition to the 3 hour initial visit):
Please see the following information which contains up-to-date information in relation to:
When you arrive at the department, you'll receive clear instructions about whether you need to wear a visor as well as a mask – if you need to wear a visor we will provide this for you.
One birth supporter is invited to attend all pregnancy ultrasound scans as well as outpatient appointments (at our hospitals only - this does not apply to GPs as this will be at the discretion of individual GP practices), antenatal clinics and antenatal day unit.
The pregnancy ultrasound scans include:
Early Pregnancy Assessment scan (EPAU)
Please note: Children are not be able to attend ultrasound scan appointments. This is so that we can ensure that high levels of infection control are maintained in order to protect the safety of all patients, staff and visitors. If you do not have any childcare please do not bring children with you as we will be unable to accommodate your scan.
Our maternity triage provides unplanned and emergency maternity care for women who have concerns about their pregnancy or think they are in labour. We encourage women to contact triage for advice 24-7. Many women in early labour choose to remain at home until their labour becomes more established. When women come to triage we aim to assess them within 30 mins of arrival and make a plan of care. Women in established labour will be transferred to labour ward or the birth centre.
One birth partner or supporter can be present during triage visits and will be required to wear a face mask and visor whilst in triage (this is due to our triage area being very small and so maintaining social distancing is difficult.)
One birth partner will be welcome to attend admission to the Labour Ward, Bronte Birth Centre and Pinderfields Birth Centre. Birth partners are required to stay in the birthing room for the duration of their visit and wear face masks.
Birth partners must at all times observe national guidance on social distancing in relation to the prevention to the spread of Covid-19.
They will be welcome to stay for a few hours after the birth until transfer to the postnatal ward.*
One birth partner or supporter can attend the admission to the induction bay and stay for up to three hours following admission. During this time the initial assessment and administration of induction medication will take place along with post medication administration assessments.*
Following this period, Triage and antenatal ward visiting arrangements will apply to the induction bay. (Where one designated partner becomes unwell and cannot attend, another may be nominated in their place.)
Maternity theatres – PACU
One birth partner is welcome to attend from admission to approximately two hours after birth. (Where one designated partner becomes unwell and cannot attend, another may be nominated in their place). They can also attend for up to two hours between 6pm - 8pm, unless there are exceptional circumstances.*
- All partners, visitors or other supporters must be checked on arrival that they do not have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection or other indications that require a self-isolation period (e.g. recent foreign travel to some countries, recent contact with an infected person), and under either circumstance, they must leave the clinical premises and return home immediately.
- *An essential visitor is also permitted to attend (essential visitors are supportive individuals required by women with specific communication or care needs, e.g. a carer or interpreter.)
- All partners, visitors and other supporters must wear face masks / and visors if required for the duration of the time they are in the hospital.
- All partners, visitors and other supporters must take all reasonable steps to remain with the woman for the duration of the time they are in hospital. They are strongly discouraged from walking around ward and departmental areas to reduce the risk that social distancing cannot be maintained.
To ensure that we can maintain our levels of safety for everyone, it is important for everyone to follow the expert national guidance on social distancing and self-isolation, staying at home wherever possible, to help limit the spread of COVID-19, protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and individuals and teams remain our absolute priority.
Antenatal, postnatal, transitional care, inpatient wards and induction suite
One visitor is invited to attend during the following times:
* exceptional circumstances apply.
(Where one designated visitor becomes unwell and cannot attend, another may be nominated in their place.)
One visitor is invited to attend for up to two hours 6pm - 8pm, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
The above includes a designated/nominated visitor observing national guidance on social distancing (where one designated visitor becomes unwell and cannot attend, another may be nominated in their place).
Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not come to the hospital, even if these symptoms are mild or intermittent, due to the risk they pose to others.
When you arrive at the maternity unit or department you are visiting, clear instructions about whether you need to wear a mask and/or visor – if you need to wear a visor it will be provided by us. Visors will need to be worn in clinical areas where it is not possible to maintain social distancing due to the environment.
- You must always bring and wear a mask or face covering (apart from in exceptional circumstances). This must not be touched or removed while inside the hospital.
- If a visor is required, we will provide this for you.
- Please follow the two metre social distancing guidance wherever possible in the hospital. You will witness that this is not possible for staff when caring for patients and staff will be wearing additional PPE to keep everyone safe.
- There are floor and seat markings to help people stay 2 metres apart, new safety screens at reception desks, and limits on numbers of people in lifts.
- Avoid touching any surfaces, entering and leaving the setting as quickly as possible using the most direct route.
- Please do not use the most direct routes as ‘green routes’ are for cancer patients.
- At Pontefract Hospital please use the main entrance and the lifts next to WH Smiths.
- Adult visitors must wear their own face mask or face covering at all times (see exception above).
- Ward staff may have to restrict or shorten visits in order to maintain social distancing.
- It is important to maintain the two metre social distancing during visits and as you enter and leave the hospital building, including all communal areas and lifts.
- Avoid touching any surfaces, entering and leaving the setting as quickly as possible using the most direct route.
- Hand hygiene - using the disinfectant hand sanitiser provided or soap and water where available:
- on arrival to the hospital on entering the ward/department
- when donning/doffing relevant PPE/face coverings
- on leaving the patient bed space and ward/department
- on leaving the hospital building
- as soon as they get home.
- Please avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth or mask/face-covering with unwashed hands.
- Please cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
- Please bring as few belongings as possible to minimise the risk of infection.
- Minimal dining areas are available for the public at present.
- That ward staff will be wearing PPE.
We are currently reviewing the recent national publication 'Supporting pregnant women using maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic' guidance published on 14 December 2020 which is regarding birth supporters being present throughout the whole maternity journey.
We appreciate the importance and value in having a birth supporter present during the maternity journey and aim to provide safe and personalised maternity care.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities, individuals and teams remains our absolute priority and we are currently undertaking risk assessments across all areas to enable us to implement this safely and as soon as we can.
The Trust supports one birth partner during labour as well as the immediate postnatal period.
As long as visiting guidance is followed, visitors do not need to self-isolate afterwards as a result of the visit. If at any point a visitor displays symptoms of COVID-19 they should self-isolate at home and organise a test, members of their household should also self-isolate for 14 days.
This information is in line with the ‘Visiting healthcare inpatient settings during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (5 June 2020) which replaces previous NHS ‘Visitor guidance’ (8 April 2020)
MY Maternity Facebook page
Please join our Facebook page where you can find out more information about pregnancy and birth and postnatal services. You can also access the messenger service to get in touch with a midwife if you have any questions.