Coronavirus guidance

Restrictions remain in place and inside all of our hospitals you still need to wear a mask, wash your hands and follow social distancing. Please see information for visitors > before you plan on visiting.

Maternity services FAQs during coronavirus

It is extremely important that during the coronavirus pandemic, all pregnant women continue to access regular care throughout their pregnancy and following the birth of their baby.

Latest visiting guidance

We are continuing to provide routine antenatal care in community midwifery and hospital settings at both our Derby and Burton sites.

View changes to our maternity services visiting guidance >
(Last updated 19 April 2021)

Do not reduce your number of visits without agreeing first with your maternity team.

Covid-19 vaccine for pregnant women

Covid-19 can cause complications in pregnancy and pregnant women who contract Covid have a higher risk of intensive care admission than women of the same age who are not pregnant (sourced via link below).

During your pregnancy you will be offered the Covid-19 vaccination. Receiving two doses of the vaccine is the safest and most effective way of protecting you and your baby from the potentially dangerous infection. These vaccines do not contain live coronavirus and cannot infect a pregnant woman or her unborn baby in the womb.

As social restrictions ease across the UK, pregnant women who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, may choose to limit the close contact they have with those they do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19, particularly if they are in the third trimester and when Covid-19 disease levels in the general community are high.


Resources

COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for all women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding (opens in new window) >

Visiting on maternity wards (antenatal and postnatal)

We are really pleased to welcome support partners back into the maternity wards and offer an increase in visiting time to four hours a day, but please read the details below carefully.

It is essential for hospitals to keep some restrictions in place to prevent further spread of coronavirus. We ask that you respect the guidance we have put in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

Your support partner is the only person who can visit. Please ask your support partner to ring the ward after 9am to check your bed number before they visit:
 

  • Royal Derby Hospital | Ward 314 | 01332 785620
  • Queen's Hospital Burton | Ward 11 | 01283 566333 extension 4071/3054
     

Your support partner will be given a wristband on arrival to the ward and must wear this during their designated visiting time on the postnatal ward area. We are sorry but no children are allowed to come into the maternity unit and no support partners will be able to stay overnight.


For your support partner to visit he/she must

  • Have no symptoms at all of coronavirus
  • Wear a mask or face covering at all times
  • Use hand sanitiser before coming into the ward and when leaving
  • Only visit at the designated time – see below
  • Wear the wristband provided
  • Not leave the ward for the toilet or to smoke
  • Stay by the bedside at all times and not walk around the ward
  • Ring the call bell if he/she needs anything
  • Leave when asked to by the staff
  • Take part in the government’s lateral flow test programme and report results twice a week before appointments and visits. The support partner must take the test the same day, and confirm the test result with the Trust on arrival, as well as logging it on the NHS Digital online platform at home, and provide proof of the test result(s) taken that day.


Visiting times on postnatal wards for support partners

Visiting times on postnatal wards for support partners
  Royal Derby Hospital (Ward 314) Queen's Hospital Burton (Wards 11 &12)
Odd beds 3:30pm - 7:30pm 10am - 2pm
Side rooms 1pm - 5pm 12pm - 4pm
Even beds 11am - 3pm 2:30pm - 6:30pm


We trust that you understand the reason for these measures and we appreciate your support so that support partners can have some time with mum and baby.

FAQs about our maternity services during Covid-19

Q: What is classed as “active labour”?

A: The clinical definition of active or established labour is when contractions become regular and painful, and the cervix (neck of the womb) begins to continuously dilate from about 4cms dilated. However, every woman’s labour is different and we assess each woman’s needs on an individual basis and do not focus on just the dilatation of the cervix.

Before active labour commences many women experience early or latent phase of labour. This is when women start to notice contractions which may be painful and there is some change to the cervix as it begins to dilate. Woman may also notice a mucus plug or “show” which is passed vaginally.

This stage of labour can come and go and can last for a few hours or a few days. During this time we would encourage women to remain mobile, make sure that baby is moving well and stay at home if possible. Using some coping strategies such as warm baths and relaxation to support this early labour phase often helps.


Q: If I attend with my support partner when I am in not in “active labour” will they be asked to wait elsewhere while I am examined?

A: If you present in spontaneous labour and appear to be progressing, you will be admitted to a single labour room and your support partner will be able to accompany you.

If you are in early labour and are admitted to a multiple bedded area for assessment of the onset of labour, I’m afraid we will ask you support partner to wait outside. If labour is not progressing, you do not appear to be in active labour and you and your baby are well, you will be encouraged to return home with your support partner and come back to the hospital when you feel you need to.


Q: How will support partners know when they can return, will staff contact them promptly?

A: Our experience is that many women like to call their support partner themselves to ask them to return either when they know labour is progressing or if they are being moved to a single room for labour to be started. Our staff know how important it is for support partners to accompany women during childbirth so if a woman is not able to contact their support partner directly, our staff will do this for you. Please make sure that you give the correct contact details for your support partner to the midwife who is caring for you.


Q: What support would I get on the post natal ward when my support partner has to leave?

A: Not all women have to stay on a postnatal ward after giving birth, it depends on individual circumstances of both the mum and baby.

Our wards are staffed by a team of maternity staff, midwives, maternity support workers, health care assistants, housekeepers and receptionists. We also have student midwives on the wards as part of their training. We understand that this is a very unsettling time for women and their support partners, however we want to reassure you that the staff are there 24 hours a day to help and support all our new mothers and women who require a hospital stay whilst still pregnant. The staff will help you with, personal hygiene needs, infant feeding and caring for your baby as well as completing the daily examinations you and baby will require. Please ask for help or support if needed.


Q: If I am being induced but it is taking a long time, is my support partner allowed to visit?

A: Our hospitals wards, bays and departments are varying sizes. Due to the layout of some of these areas we are not able to support safe social distancing. Having several people together in a small space, even when wearing face coverings, increases the chance of spreading infection. Therefore, if your induction is taking place in an induction bay, your support partner will not be allowed to visit. Once you reach active labour and are able to move to a private labour, your support partner will be able to return.


Q: If you’ve been living with your support partner this whole time whilst being pregnant, why can’t they come with you to all of it?

A: COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Many people do not experience symptoms, known as ‘asymptomatic’, and therefore will not know they are carrying the virus and are able to pass it onto others. Throughout the pandemic we have put the safety of our patients and staff as our highest priority and therefore have had to limit the number of people allowed into clinical areas. This plays an important part in reducing the spread of infections in a hospital environment.

Whilst many women have healthy pregnancies, we do provide care for many other women and babies who may be vulnerable to infection and therefore it is vitally important that we adhere to strict social distancing rules and minimise the number of individuals who have access to our wards.

We are swabbing all women who are admitted to our wards, but are not able to swab support partners. Your support partner will be asked screening questions if they are attending with you in labour and as long as they do not have any symptoms, they can remain present. A support partner isolating due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should not attend the unit.


Q: Am I better to have my baby at home where my support partner can support me at all points of labour?

A: Where it is safe to do so, we are able to support women’s choice for a homebirth. It is important to make sure that you have discussed this with your community midwife or the team that are providing maternity care to you beforehand so that the appropriate plans to support your choice for place of birth can be made.


Q: This can be damaging to women’s mental health and the partners – what are you doing to support them?

A: We understand that these are very unsettling times for pregnant women, their partners and their families which is not helped by frequent public health information changes. If you are concerned regarding your mental health, please speak to your midwife or a member of your maternity team. We are able to direct families to local support networks and groups who are able to offer additional support if required. Your maternity teams are here to listen to you.


Q: Should I consider changing the hospital I give birth at?

A: Patient choice is important in the NHS and we would encourage all families to carefully consider where they wish to be cared for. We’re very clear that the safety of our services is the highest priority and would therefore encourage women and their families to continue to choose University Hospitals of Derby and Burton for their care.


Q: How can I make a complaint?

A: Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service are here to help when you want to raise concerns or make a complaint.

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) >

Samuel Johnson Maternity Unit information

The Trust took the decision to temporarily close the Maternity Unit at Samuel Johnson Community Hospital in March 2020 to ensure that we could continue to provide safe services to women and their babies. The service remains suspended, but we will keep our communities informed about any updates.

Our priority is the safe care of women and babies and this can only be done with good staffing levels. As the team at Samuel Johnson is quite small, it means sickness and self-isolation would have a greater impact on the service they could deliver.

Covid-19 has been unprecedented and unpredictable, which has meant that we are not able to set a date for Samuel Johnson Maternity Services re-opening yet. Whilst Covid-19 restrictions are easing for the public, this is not the same for hospitals and we need to ensure that we have the staff to continue to deliver safe care for our women at every step of their journey.

We recognise that birth place choice is important to women and we have done everything possible to ensure this continues by offering alternative birthing options at Queen's Hospital Burton, Royal Derby Hospital and Derby Birth Centre.

As soon as we have any updates we will ensure widespread communications to pregnant women, Derbyshire and Staffordshire Maternity Voices Partnerships and the wider public.

Thank you for your understanding. 

Wearing face masks/coverings in our hospitals

All patients and visitors must wear a face covering on entrance to the hospitals and throughout the duration of their visit. The measures are an important part, alongside social distancing, of reducing the spread of Covid-19 in our hospitals and to keep our patients and communities safe.

Visitors on wards will be provided with a surgical face mask, which must be worn at all times during their visit.


Do I need to wear a face mask in labour?

Women in labour will not have to wear a face mask. When you enter the hospital please wear a face mask or covering if you feel able to until you get to the labour ward. From there the staff will let you know when it can be removed. 

You may have one birthing partner providing they are not symptomatic or unwell, but will need to wear a face mask while in the maternity unit. 

Ultrasound scans

It is important you attend scans as usual. If you are displaying symptoms of Covid-19 please contact the department in advance. 

Partners of pregnant women, or their chosen support partner, can attend all scans.

We are asking the pregnant lady and their support partner to take part in the government’s lateral flow test programme and report results twice a week before appointments and visits.


Order a lateral flow test (opens in new window) >


If anyone is experiencing difficulty obtaining a test, please discuss this with us at your next appointment.

To take part, the pregnant lady and her support partner must take the test the same day, and confirm the test result with the Trust on arrival, as well as logging it on the NHS Digital online platform at home, and provide proof of the test result(s) taken that day. Support partners who are unable to confirm a negative test result will not be able to attend antenatal or ultrasound scan appointments.

We continue to request that children should not attend with you to maternity appointments. It is important to arrive on time for your appointment. We ask mums-to-be to make sure that they allow plenty of time to park, to find the department, and for Covid-19 checks to be completed. If you are late for your scan appointment this may need to be rescheduled.


To attend, partners will need to:

  • Not show any Covid-19 symptoms and not be isolating.
  • Respond to some screening questions in advance.
  • Wear a face covering until getting to the department and then change into a surgical face mask, and adhere to social distancing guidance at all times.
  • And, when attending, wait outside the scan department until called. A bespoke buzzer system has been installed to alert partners of when to come into the department.
  • Take part in the government’s lateral flow test programme and report results twice a week before appointments and visits (see above).


No filming allowed in the scanning room 

The focus for the Sonographer during the scan is to complete all the required FASP checks of the baby and identifying any potential anomalies or concerns. Therefore, we cannot allow any filming or photography during the scan as this can be distracting and increases the changes of missing abnormalities.  

We are currently still sexing babies if requested by the pregnant patient and if it's possible, however we will not extend the scanning times to do this as this is not part of the required FASP checks.


Frequently asked questions:


What should I expect when attending my scan?

Pregnant women and their support partner should arrive before their scan time. You will both be asked screening questions about if you have experienced any Covid-19 symptoms, will be given hand sanitiser and provided with a surgical face masks which should be worn at all times.

Pregnant women will be able to wait in the scan waiting area, while support partners will be given a buzzer and asked to wait in a designated area nearby. Support partners will be given an information sheet to explain the process.  

When it is time for the scan, the buzzer will alert support partners to make themselves known to a member of staff and they will be shown through to the scan area.

The scan cannot be delayed, so support partners should stay in the designated waiting area, otherwise they may miss the scan.

 

Who can I bring with me?

Where possible, the person they bring with them should be from the same household or bubble.

Unfortunately, we are not able to allow children in the scan department or in the scan room. This is because it is a clinical assessment and it is important that the Sonographer is able to concentrate, alongside being unable to maintain social distancing with any additional people in the room.

 

What to do if I or anyone in my household has Covid symptoms or are unwell?

Please do not attend your appointment if you or anyone in your household are showing symptoms of Covid-19, or have had diarrhoea and vomiting in the past 48 hours. Please phone the department and we will work with you to be able to see you safely at another time.

 

Why can’t support partners wait in the waiting area?

The waiting area is quite small and we cannot maintain social distancing there with both support partners and pregnant women in the room. In order to ensure everyone’s safety, support partners will have a separate waiting area outside.

Attending in labour

Please contact the number of the hospital you are booked at to give birth. You will be asked some screening questions during your telephone call and advised where to attend.

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus or are self-isolating you must inform us before you arrive at the hospital. If you fall into this category you will be asked to put on a mask whilst we transfer you to an isolation room.

Women attending in spontaneous labour can be supported by one support partner. Good hand hygiene should be used frequently whilst in the unit and entry to and from the ward area must be kept to an absolute minimum.

A support partner who is symptomatic /unwell or is self–isolating should not attend the unit and must remain at home. We are also asking support partners to take part in the government’s lateral flow test programme. The support partner must take the test the same day, and confirm the test result with the Trust on arrival, as well as logging it on the NHS Digital online platform at home, and provide proof of the test result(s) taken that day.

We are currently not recommending the use of the birthing pool for woman with suspected or confirmed coronavirus.


While you are in our care

Please remember that behind every mask is a smile.

You can still expect us to communicate clearly with you.

You will still be able to have access to pain relief options, including gas and air and an epidural.

You will still be able to be mobile, use a birthing ball and birth in a position of your choice.

Your midwife or obstetrician will support you at this time as you plan for your labour and birth. This might include changing your plan for your birth or transferring your care to a different maternity service. Your midwife or obstetrician can help you with this.

In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact your named midwife/midwifery team (see your hand held records for details).

Use of the birthing pool

As long as you do not have any symptoms of Covid-19, we are still able to offer the use of the birthing pool for labour and birth at both our Derby and Burton sites. The midwives caring for you will be required to wear PPE.

Induction of labour

Following confirmation of a negative home lateral flow test, we are now able to facilitate one adult support partner to accompany women undergoing induction of labour on a labour ward or in the inpatient antenatal bay at Royal Derby Hospital and Queen's Hospital Burton during the day. Overnight stays for support partners cannot be accommodated at present.

Women who require induction of labour will be informed of the date and time to attend the labour ward.

Caesarean section

Women requiring planned caesarean section will be informed of the date and time to attend the unit. You will be given an appointment for a Covid-19 swab two days before.

Please do not be concerned about this, if your results are positive you are still able to have your caesarean, it just means that we can better manage your care while in our hospitals.


If you are booked for a caesarean at Royal Derby Hospital

Your Covid-19 swab appointment will be at the Antenatal Clinic at Royal Derby Hospital by pre-booked appointment.


If you are booked for a caesarean at Queen's Hospital Burton

Your Covid-19 swab appointment will be at the Maternity Assessment Unit by pre-booked appointment.


Information for caesareans at all sites

Women attending for a planned caesarean section can be accompanied by their support partner to the ward and can be present in theatre during the operation. The support partner will be asked to wear a surgical face mask and adhere to infection prevention and control measures. All medical and midwifery staff in theatre will be wearing full PPE, this is standard, but they will be smiling behind their masks.

The support partner will be supported to stay with mother and baby in the recovery area on labour ward and for four hours after transfer to the postnatal ward. We are also asking support partners to take part in the government’s lateral flow test programme. The support partner must take the test the same day, and confirm the test result with the Trust on arrival, as well as logging it on the NHS Digital online platform at home, and provide proof of the test result(s) taken that day.

Women who have undergone a planned caesarean section without any complications and where baby is fit for home should be discharged after around 24 hours on the ward if safe to do so.

In cases of emergency caesarean section where immediate delivery of the baby is required (known as category 1 caesarean section), partners will be asked to wait outside theatre during the operation, this is in line with usual practice. The support partner will be able to accompany the mother in the recovery area.

Women who have undergone emergency caesarean section may require hospital stay longer than 24 hours.

Partners staying after birth

Following a straightforward, uncomplicated birth, where safe to do so, you are able to leave the hospital approximately six hours after the birth. Support partners can remain with mum and baby during this time.

If this is not possible or admission to the ward is necessary, we will encourage the parents to spend time together on the labour ward following the birth, which is usually for around four hours and politely ask that the support partner returns home following admission of mother and baby to the postnatal ward.

Visiting is allowed on the postnatal ward for four hours each day, so depending on the time of day that mum and baby are admitted, it may be possible for support partners to visit later that day.

Usually after a caesarean a stay in hospital of approximately 24 hours is required.

We understand how important time together as a family is and we will do everything we can to get you discharged as soon as possible, as soon as it is safe for you and your baby.

Homebirth service

Due to current pressures affecting all areas within maternity services we’ve made the difficult decision to suspend our home birthing service. The safety of mothers and babies remains our priority and we need to base midwives across our hospital sites to ensure we provide safe services to all women in our care.

We recognise that this will be upsetting for women who have chosen to birth at home as their preferred option. Our midwives are contacting those women to discuss alternative options.

Postnatal care

Babies will not be separated from their mothers unless there is a clear clinical need.

Breast feeding is still encouraged.

There is restricted visiting on the postnatal ward to protect patients and prevent the spread of coronavirus, including to reduce the risk of infection to unwell mothers and babies who require medical admission.

Postnatal care after being discharged home will still be provided by the community Midwifery teams. Visits will be assessed on and individual basis and women will be contacted by the community midwife before they arrange a home visit. We politely ask that when the midwife attends she sees the mother and baby alone in a separate room away from other family members where possible.


Maternity leaflets