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Maternity services FAQs

Can I have someone with me at my scan appointments?

You will be able to attend your 12 week scan with one non-symptomatic adult from the same household or support bubble (ideally the birth partner). For all other additional routine scan appointments, including your 20 week scan, please attend alone.

These measures have been put in place to protect our patients, staff and visitors, which includes being able to ensure we can maintain social distancing in our waiting areas and appointment rooms. We will continue to keep this guidance under review.

Finding out the baby's gender at the 20 week scan

If you wish to know the sex of your baby but would like to wait until you're with your partner or family to find out, you can ask for the gender to be written down and placed in an envelope until you are ready to find out. As of Monday 9 November, images from your 20 week scan are free of charge while the measures are in place.

What happens if I receive unexpected news during the 20 week scan?

Your partner may wait outside the hospital during your appointment and if there is any unexpected news during your scan, we can call them to join you in the appointment room so you can both discuss any issues with the sonographer.

Are there any exceptional circumstances which would allow me to be accompanied for the 20 week scan?

If you believe that you have additional needs that need to be taken into account please contact the Matron by calling switchboard on 0117 923 0000.

Can I still birth on the Midwife Led Unit (MLU)?

Yes, the unit remains open and we are dedicated to keeping it open to facilitate the women that are booked there. All facilities on MLU are open.

We are lucky that we are separate from the main hospital and we are seeing a large reduction in people attending St. Michael's Hospital.

If your partner has coronavirus symptoms please respect the safety of your baby and all other women, their babies and staff who are caring for you. It is not appropriate for them to attend the unit whilst they have symptoms.

Can I have a birth partner with me?

Yes for the birth you can have a birth partner of your choice. In these difficult times it may be worth having a back-up birthing partner, just in case your first choice partner has coronavirus symptoms.

Please be aware that once on Central Delivery Suite (CDS) or the MLU your partner cannot leave the birth room. It might be worth bringing in some snacks. We will provide a hot drink and water if required.

What shall I do if my birth partner is unwell and has symptoms of Covid-19?

If your partner has the symptoms please respect the safety of your baby and all other women, their babies and staff who are caring for you. It is not appropriate for them to attend the unit whilst they have symptoms.

When will my birth partner have to leave after the birth?

Once your baby is born and you are transferred up to the ward for postnatal care your partner will need to leave the hospital please. If you are going home within 2-3 hours of your baby's birth, your partner may stay in the room with you on Central Delivery Suite. This may also be possible if you gave birth in the Midwifery Led Unit, if capacity allows. This means that you can all go home together.

There  will be no visiting on the post natal wards apart from in exceptional circumstances. If you believe that you have additional needs that need to be taken into account please contact the Matron by calling switchboard on 0117 923 0000.

Can I still use water for pain relief and the birth?

Yes, as long as you are free of symptoms of Covid-19 this is still available to you.

Where can I ring for support?

On the front of your hand held records you will have local telephone numbers for your midwifery team in the community who can help, as always.  The CDS at the hospital you are booked to birth your baby at is still open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Please continue to ring us and talk to us.

Should I still ring someone if I have reduced fetal movements, pain, bleeding any other symptoms that I am worried about?

Yes please contact us so we can ensure you and your baby are well. We have precautions in place to protect you and your baby. It is really important that we still see you but you will be asked to attend on your own. We will give you a surgical mask to wear on arrival at St Michael's and the staff will be wearing a mask, apron, gloves and googles for yours and their protection.

How can I access antenatal education?

We are currently designing materials that we can share with you electronically as you are no longer able to attend antenatal classes. As soon as these are ready, your midwife will be able to share them with you should you ask for them.

Breastfeeding support

We continue to run a tongue tie division service as long as you and members of your household are well.  A breastfeeding support service (additional to your community midwife) is provided but is now mostly by telephone to minimise exposure. The Health Visitors also have help lines for you to ring if you require breastfeeding support and the number will be shared with you by your community midwife on discharge from maternity services. Please remember that there are many useful links on the Pregnancy App that will provide additional support.

Postnatal Care

On leaving the hospital, the community midwives will continue your postnatal care although the number of visits may well be reduced but dependant on your needs. They will telephone before visiting to ensure that everyone in the household is well. If you haven't heard from the midwife by 3pm, please call the community base, the number is on the front of your notes. Many of the bases are offering postnatal care in clinics rather than coming to your home. The midwife will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and will need access to handwashing facilities. If in your home, they will ask that they see you and your baby in a room near the entrance to the house and ask that no one else is in the room, again to minimise exposure to the virus. They will need to dispose of the PPE (except for glasses and mask) in your bin.