COVID-19 (coronavirus): Advice for pregnant women, new parents and their families ​​​​​

This information is a combination of the national guidance and information about our local maternity service. We will update this regularly as the situation changes. 

Visit the NHS coronavirus pages for the latest information on symptoms, testing and isolation.

Pregnancy and Coronavirus - British Sign Language (NHS on YouTube)

Pregnancy and Coronavirus (BSL) | NHS

Click here to read specific information for pregnant women issued by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. ​​​​​

Please note that visiting is restricted to a single birthing partner only across antenatal, labour and post-natal areas in all of our maternity units.

Having your baby at Hampshire Hospitals

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Planned caesarean sections and inductions of labour.

If you are having a planned caesarean section or induction of labour, both yourself and your birthing partner should self isolate for 14 days before your admission.

For women who do not know until nearer the planned time, it is important that you and your birthing partner self isolate until you are admitted to hospital. 

Visiting restrictions

Whilst on the labour wards, one birthing partner can remain with you throughout your stay. Visiting on our postnatal wards is restricted to the same birthing partner and from 8am until 8pm only.

- If a woman is labouring whether from her labour starting spontaneously or from an induction her birthing partner can be with her 24 hours a day.

- When women attend for an induction of labour their birthing partner can be with them 8am to 8pm and then return once they are in established labour.

 - If they are not labouring (eg. sleeping) overnight, then the birthing partners can return to the ward at 8am the next morning.

- If women require transfer from the antenatal or postnatal wards to the labour ward overnight for any reason, the birthing partner can be contacted, with the consent of the woman, to be with her.

We are limiting attendance to one partner/ support person at obstetric ultrasound scan at 12 and 20 weeks.

Partners must follow social distancing guidelines and wear a face mask at the appointment. They may need to wait outside of the department until called for the examination, due to waiting room capacity.

At this time partners/ support person will not be permitted to attend any other scans, including antenatal clinic appointments with consultants/ other medical staff.

Keeping those in our care, our staff and visitors safe remains our top priority, and we are continually reviewing our visiting guidelines in line with national guidance.

Advice for pregnant women who are currently well

 

Please contact your GP surgery as usual to arrange a booking (first) appointment if you have not been seen by a midwife. We will offer you a telephone booking appointment where possible.  

Our early pregnancy unit (EPAU) is open as usual. Women who are less than 14 weeks and have pain and bleeding should contact the EPAU for advice, we will offer a scan if needed.

Your midwife will see you for your routine antenatal appointments, where GP surgeries are closed we are making arrangements to run clinics in other locations. Your midwife will contact you if your appointment has to be moved.

We will continue to offer routine scans and screening appointments to women who are well. In order to keep our patients and staff safe, we are minimising the number of people visiting our hospitals. As part of this, all antenatal scans at 12 and 20 weeks are currently taking place at Andover War Memorial Hospital - and only one person is able to attend with women who require scans.

We would like to reduce the number of people in our waiting areas to help social distancing and people attending to support women who require a scan may be asked to wait outside until called if the waiting area becomes too busy.

If you are under the care of a consultant obstetrician you will be offered antenatal clinic appointments as usual. If it is possible to have a telephone appointment instead this will need to be arranged in advance, we will provide information on the process for this as soon as possible.

Women who have underlying health problems like diabetes, heart or lung diseases such as significant asthma maybe more at risk from COVID-19 and should strongly consider self-isolating. 

All women should follow the usual advice about staying healthy in pregnancy. This means eating well, exercising when possible and cutting out alcohol and stopping smoking.

If you have any concerns about your pregnancy such as pain or reduced movements please contact the Day Assessment unit as usual. The midwife will give you advice and agree when and where you should be seen.

All antenatal classes and tours of the maternity unit have been suspended until further notice. We will offer additional information on line as soon as we are able.

We are continuing to support women who are well to give birth in Winchester, Basingstoke and Andover as well as at home. This may be reviewed on a daily basis as the situation changes. Please contact Labour Line when your labour begins and the team will be able to give you the latest information.

You can only have one birth partner with you in labour, you are not able to swop support partners. The same person who is your birth partner is the only visitor who can visit you during your hospital stay. We will consider a second person to be with you only if there are exceptional circumstances, please talk to your midwife.

We have restricted visiting in place across our hospitals. At this time we are not able to allow anyone other than your birth partner to visit. This includes the baby’s brothers and sisters.

We are encouraging all women to consider breastfeeding to help protect the baby.

 

Advice line for pregnant women

An advice line is available for pregnant women, allowing them to speak to midwives and maternity support workers about their questions and concerns, both in terms of COVID-19 and generally.

Women should call 01962 824481 and the line will initially be open from from 0800-1600, seven days a week, with a view to extending these times in the near future.

Women should continue to call Labour Line if they are going into labour, or the Day Assessment Unit if they have immediate concerns about themselves or their babies.

Outside of the advice line hours, women should continue to call the relevant contact numbers on their maternity notes.

Information for pregnant women who are well but are self-isolating because they live with someone who may have COVID-19

Please let staff know that you are self-isolating before you come to hospital or are seen by our team in the community. This is so that we can give you the best care to keep you, your baby and our team safe.

Pregnant women who are exposed to COVID-19 are not thought to be at increased risk of miscarriage. If you are less than 14 weeks pregnant and have any pain or bleeding please contact EPAU for advice.

Pregnant women are not thought to be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 virus or to be more likely to experience complications if they do have it. Please follow the current advice for self-isolating. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/ .

If you are due to see your midwife for a routine antenatal appointment please contact her in advance and let her know that you are self-isolating.  Your midwife will talk to you and decide whether you need to be seen or if your appointment can be delayed.  Your midwife will agree when and where you will have your next antenatal appointment.

If you are due to see your consultant obstetrician for a routine antenatal appointment you will be contacted by the consultant’s team. You may be able to have a telephone appointment with the consultant’s team if you don’t need to be examined. If you need a face to face appointment with the consultant before your self-isolation ends, special arrangements for you to attend your appointment will be made.

If you are under the care of a consultant and need to be seen for a specialist appointment e.g. with the diabetic team, haematology or fetal medicine, please contact our Antenatal Clinic Midwives directly for advice on: 01256 314720 for Basingstoke, or 01962 825585 for Winchester.

If you have any concerns about your pregnancy such as pain or reduced movements please contact the Day Assessment unit as usual. The midwife will give you advice and agree when and where you should be seen.
 

Giving birth

Any woman who has someone in her household who is unwell or has been self-isolating due to COVID-19 contact will be asked to come into Basingstoke to give birth in our maternity isolation area.

We have been advised that we should care for women who are unwell, or at risk of developing COVID-19, in hospital and offer them additional care in labour:

  • The current recommendation is that we ask you to have continuous fetal monitoring in labour so we can monitor your baby closely.
  • We may ask to take blood tests in labour.
  • We will encourage you to have an epidural in labour. This is to reduce the chance of you needing a general anaesthetic. Unfortunately we are not able to offer you use of the birth pool. Your midwife will talk to you about other pain relief options depending on your needs and health in labour.
  • We will delay clamping the baby’s umbilical cord for a short time when he or she is born unless there are specific reasons why this is not advisable.
  • We will have a member of our neonatal team present at the birth in case your baby may need some additional help with his or her breathing when he or she is born.
  • We will assess your baby at birth and he or she will remain with you unless you or the baby are unwell and need extra care in our high dependency or neonatal unit.
  • We will test the baby for the COVID-19 virus. We will make a specific plan with you for the care of yourself and your baby after birth. This will depend on your condition at the time, the type of birth you have and whether you and your baby need any further treatment.

We will also do these things if you are having a planned caesarean section.

At present there is no evidence that women who may have COVID-19 need to change the way they are intending to give birth. If you are seriously ill the team caring for you will make a plan for your birth with you and your birth partner.

We are strongly advising women to breastfeed as this may offer the baby additional protection and other health benefits.

You will be given advice about ways to limit the chance of baby catching the virus after birth.

Information for pregnant women who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19

Please let staff know that you have symptoms of COVID-19 before you come to hospital or are seen by our team in the community. This is so that we can give you the best care to keep you, your baby and our team safe.

Please see the NHS website for the latest advice on caring for yourself with the virus https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/ .

Most people are expected to have only mild to moderate symptoms. If you are experiencing any worrying symptoms that you cannot cope with, or you have not improved after seven days please contact NHS111 online for advice https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ .

Please contact your community midwife and let her know that you are unwell. You do not need to be seen by a midwife unless you have concerns about your pregnancy such as reduced movements.  

If you have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection you should be offered an antenatal ultrasound scan two weeks after your recovery; your community midwife will arrange this.

If you are due to have an antenatal appointment in the next 14 days please discuss this with your midwife. Your midwife will talk to you and decide whether you need to be seen or if your appointment can be delayed.  Your midwife will agree when and where you will have your next antenatal appointment.

If you are due to see your consultant obstetrician for a routine antenatal appointment you will be contacted by the consultant’s team. You may be able to delay your appointment or have a telephone appointment with the consultant’s team if you don’t need to be examined. If you need a face to face appointment with the consultant while you are unwell, special arrangements for you to attend your appointment will be made.

If you are under the care of a consultant and need to be seen for a specialist appointment e.g. with the diabetic team, haematology or fetal medicine, please contact our Antenatal Clinic Midwives directly for advice on: 01256 314720 for Basingstoke, or 01962 825585 for Winchester.

If you have any concerns about your pregnancy such as pain or reduced movements please contact the Day Assessment unit as usual. The midwife will give you advice and agree when and where you should be seen.

 

Giving birth

Any woman who is unwell due to COVID-19 or is still recovering from the virus will be asked to come into Basingstoke hospital to give birth in our maternity isolation area.

We have been advised that we should care for women who are unwell, or at risk of developing COVID-19, in hospital and offer them additional care in labour:

  • The current recommendation is that we ask you to have continuous fetal monitoring in labour so we can monitor your baby closely.
  • We may ask to take blood tests in labour.
  • We will encourage you to have an epidural in labour. This is to reduce the chance of you needing a general anaesthetic. Unfortunately we are not able to offer you use of the birth pool. Your midwife will talk to you about other pain relief options depending on your needs and health in labour.
  • We will delay clamping the baby’s umbilical cord for a short time when he or she is born unless there are specific reasons why this is not advisable.
  • We will have a member of our neonatal team present at the birth in case your baby may need some additional help with his or her breathing when he or she is born.
  • We will assess your baby at birth and he or she will remain with you unless you or the baby are unwell and need extra care in our high dependency or neonatal unit.
  • We will test the baby for the COVID-19 virus. We will make a specific plan with you for the care of yourself and your baby after birth. This will depend on your condition
  • at the time, the type of birth you have and whether you and your baby need any further treatment.

We will also do these things if you are having a planned caesarean section.

At present there is no evidence that women who may have COVID-19 need to change the way they are intending to give birth. If you are seriously ill the team caring for you will make a plan for your birth with you and your birth partner

We are strongly advising women to breastfeed as this may offer the baby additional protection and other health benefits.

You will be given advice about ways to limit the chance of baby catching the virus after birth.

Information for birth partners

If your birth partner does not have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) they can still come into hospital with you.

In line with national advice, all partners of patients with symptoms will be given a mask to wear due to having close contact with another person who may have coronavirus, which will be given to them prior to entering the hospital building. Only one birth partner may accompany you and other visiting restrictions are in place across our hospitals, which can be found here.

If your birth partner does have symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19, they should self-isolate and not attend the unit with you. We understand that this may be stressful or upsetting, so please think about a potential alternative birth partner who may be able to accompany you.

Maternity tours suspended

Tours of the maternity units at all three of our hospitals are currently suspended as a precaution to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Breastfeeding support

Information about Hampshire breastfeeding support can be found here

Guidance for women on home visits

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Please click on the links below for information relating to each hospital:


Caesarean Section Survey

We are reviewing  the information we provide to parents about giving birth when you have had a Caesarean Section in the past. We would like to know your views on what information is most helpful and how you would like to receive it. We have a short survey we would like you to complete, it takes around 4 minutes.  We want feedback from anyone who is currently expecting a baby and using our maternity service, or who has had a baby with us in the last two years.

Click here for the survey, which will be open until Friday 31 July.  


We want you to have information to help you to make choices about where you have your baby and what support you have before and after your baby is born.

The below websites will go through your choices, and give you space to record decisions about your care and choice of birthplace.
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Think you are in labour?

24 Hour Labour Line

A Labour Line midwife will take your history and discuss your birthing plan with you. They will make arrangements with you for your birth and ongoing care.

0300 123 9001

Wherever you plan to give birth the midwife on the Labour Line will be your first point of contact.

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The Friends and Family Test

We value your feedback, and want to make our services as good as possible for you. That’s why we’ll be asking you the following simple question regarding your use of our Maternity Services:

How likely are you to recommend our maternity services to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?

We will ask you to rate and comment on your experience by completing our paper survey. Your feedback is anonymous and will be used to improve our service. It is free to respond.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust works in partnership with Envoy Messenger to deliver this service. If you do not wish to participate you can simply reply ‘STOP’ when you receive the message. We will not send you any further texts.

If you have not provided us with a telephone number, you can still complete a Friends and Family Test survey card when leaving the department and post it into the confidential feedback box.

For more informa on on the Friends and Family Test, please visit www.nhs.uk/friendsandfamily or contact the Trust’s Customer Care Team on 01256 486766.

NHS Maternity Services Survey 2020

This Trust will soon be carrying out a survey to find out what women who have recently given birth think about their experiences of antenatal care, childbirth and postnatal care. This is part of a national programme to improve patients’ experiences of maternity care. 

Women aged 16 years and over who have recently given birth under the care of one of our hospitals (Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital or the Royal Hampshire County Hospital), Hampshire Hospitals maternity centre at Andover War Memorial Hospital or at home, may receive a questionnaire by post asking about their experiences. 

They will be asked about various aspects of their antenatal care, labour and postnatal care, feeding and care at home. An external survey contractor, Picker Institute Europe, is administering the survey on behalf of the CQC so that people’s responses are anonymous.

Obtaining feedback from women who use our maternity services and taking account of their views is really important for bringing about improvements in the care we provide and understanding what really matters to women. We will work with our staff and patients to use the feedback from this survey to help improve experiences of the care we provide.

Taking part in the survey is voluntary and people’s responses are anonymous. The results of the survey will be presented in a form that does not allow any individual’s answers to be identified. If you are selected to take part your contact details will be used by researchers to post a questionnaire to your home address to carry out the survey. 

If you do not wish to take part, or have any questions about the survey please contact our customer care team on 01256 486766 or customercare@hhft.nhs.uk.

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