If you think you may have symptoms of Coronavirus >, follow the national guidance and self-isolate for 10 days. Please see our information for visitors > before you plan on visiting one of our hospitals. If you, or a member of your family has tested positive for Coronavirus, please find resources to aid your/their recovery on our Coronavirus - Supporting your recovery > page.
*Please note: this page is updated regularly, please continue to check back for the latest advice and information.
While pregnant women have been placed into the 'vulnerable' category by the Chief Medical Officer during coronavirus, we would like to reiterate that the evidence we have so far is that pregnant women are still no more likely to contract the infection than the general population. What we do know is that pregnancy, in a small proportion of women, can alter how your body handles severe viral infections. This is something that midwives and obstetricians have known for many years and are used to dealing with.
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. Here at UHDB we are continuing to provide routine antenatal care in community midwifery and hospital settings at both our Derby and Burton sites.
We are still providing routine face to face appointments for expectant mothers or new mothers and babies when it is safe to do so, some appointments can now take place over the telephone. Whilst we continue to provide regular appointments, the venue for these may change and if this is the case you will be informed by your community midwife or the hospital team in advance.
If you are well at the moment and have had no complications in your previous pregnancies, the following practical advice may be helpful:
If you notice that your baby is not moving or the movements have changed or reduced, you still need to call the hospital you are booked to give birth at immediately. Even if you think you may have COVID 19 symptoms you must contact the hospital and we will arrange for you to be seen in an isolation area to check you and your baby are healthy. Do not wait for your next midwife appointment.
Due to Covid-19, this year more than ever it’s important for pregnant women to get the flu vaccination. Flu can be very serious during pregnancy for both mums-to-be and their babies, it can also leave women at higher risk of complications and in some cases can develop into pneumonia.
The flu vaccination is free for pregnant women and is safe at all stages of pregnancy, so ask your GP or Midwife when you attend your antenatal appointments at our hospitals.
For more information on the flu vaccination, or any other vaccination in pregnancy, please speak to your Midwife or you can find out more on the NHS website >
The UK Chief Medical Officer has decided that, given the limited information currently available about how COVID-19 could affect pregnancy, it would be prudent for pregnant women to increase their social distancing to reduce the risk of infection.
All pregnant women, regardless of how far through their pregnancy they are, should observe the social distancing guidance available on the Government website. Advice includes the avoidance of contact with people who are known to have COVID-19 or those who exhibit possible symptoms:
Women who are more than 28 weeks pregnant should be particularly attentive to social distancing and minimising contact with others. Major new measures have been announced for people at highest risk from Coronavirus, this includes pregnant women with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired).
The Derby Community Parent Programme (DCPP) is a volunteer support programme. During the current time whilst pregnant women are encouraged to socially distance and remain at home, DCPP have set up a new safe and secure Facebook group for new and expectant parents who have had, or are expecting to have, their baby at Royal Derby Hospital.
This is a really great opportunity for expectant or new parents to build relationships and obtain support from their communities during the period of change faced by managing COVID 19.
Find out more here:
Staffordshire Maternity Voice Partnership offer additional online support:
We know this is a challenging time for expectant mothers and new parents. Information and guidance is regularly changing and we will make every effort to keep women and families updated. Our priority is to provide safe maternity care and to support a positive birth experience for all during this time of change and service reconfiguration.
Despite these changes we will still support you with the many choices available, positions for labour, aromatherapy, relaxation support using music during labour, pain relief options, mobilisation, infant feeding support etc. Please talk to your maternity teams if you require further information.
The choices of where to give birth are:
Royal Derby Hospital
Queen's Hospital Burton
Please click on the boxes below to find out more about any changes to the services you will be accessing.
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 mucous 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 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 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 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 partner and come back to the hospital when you feel you need to.
Q: How will partners know when they can return, will staff contact them promptly?
A: Our experience is that many women like to call their 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 partners to accompany women during childbirth so if a woman is not able to contact their partner directly, our staff will do this for you. Please make sure that you give the correct contact details for your partner to the Midwife who is caring for you.
Q: What support would I get on the post natal ward when my partner has to leave?
A: 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 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 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 partner will not be allowed to visit.
Q: If you’ve been living with your 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 partners. Your 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 birth 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 partner can support me at all points of labour?
A: We have recently reinstated our homebirth service. 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.
However, in some of the communities we serve we have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases since the start of September and are regularly reviewing the services we provide.
Q: Given the recent guidance released by NHSE in association with RCoG, RCM and SCoR why has this not changed at your trust?
A: We welcomed the recent NHSE guidance. In the past couple of weeks we had used this guidance to plan the reintroduction of partners to some areas in maternity. However, in some of the communities we serve we have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases since the start of September and have therefore had to pause the easing of restrictions.
Q: This damaging 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.
From Monday 15 June 2020 all patients and visitors should 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.
We have a limited supply of surgical facemasks that will be offered to patients and visitors who arrive without a face covering and visitors on wards will be provided with and asked to wear a surgical face mask at all times during their visit. Exceptions are allowed on an individual basis for vulnerable people, people with disabilities, children and those with certain medical conditions (e.g. asthma).
It is important that your clinical care is not compromised so in situations when wearing face covering makes communication too difficult, coverings can be removed with the appropriate social distancing followed. However, for the safety of our staff we would ask that you wear your covering if you are able to.
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.
Yes, but remember - we are wearing smiles behind the masks.
Due to a recent change in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements, all staff in all clinical areas of the maternity departments and community will wear a face mask and eye protection when providing clinical care, even if you don’t have any symptoms of COVID 19.
We know that this might cause some anxiety however the masks are there to keep you and the staff safe and although you can’t see it, the staff will still be wearing their smiles.
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. We’ve made some changes to provide safe maternity services and to support a positive birth experience for all.
It is important you attend scans as usual. If you are displaying symptoms of Coronavirus (a new, persistant cough and/or a temperature of 37.8 degrees or higher) please contact the department in advance.
From Monday 28 September, we are pleased to announce that we are re-introducing partners of pregnant women, or their chosen birth partner, to attend the dating (12 weeks) and anomaly (20 week) scans. We continue to request that children should not attend with you to maternity appointments.
To be able to reintroduce partners to the 12 and 20 week scans, partners will need to:
No filming allowed in the scanning room
We appreciate attending your ultrasound scan along may be upsetting, however this arrangement is in place to protect women, babies and staff by reducing the number of people in the department. The focus for the Sonographer during the scan (especially in these emotional challenging times) 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.
What should I expect when attending my scan?
Pregnant women and their partner should arrive at the department five minutes 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 partners will be given a buzzer and asked to wait in a designated area nearby. Partners will be given an information sheet to explain the process.
When it is time for the scan, the buzzer will alert 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 partners should stay in the designated waiting area, otherwise they may miss the scan.
Who can I bring with me?
Pregnant women can bring a maximum of one person with them to their 12 and 20 week scans only. Where possible, the person they bring with them should be from the same household or social 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 partners wait in the waiting area?
The waiting area is quite small and we cannot maintain social distancing there with both partners and pregnant women in the room. In order to ensure everyone’s safety, partners will have a separate waiting area outside.
Can partners also attend clinic appointments, blood tests and other scans?
Unfortunately at the moment, partners are only able to attend the 12 week (dating) scan and 20 week (anomaly) scan. Any blood tests, clinic appointments and other scans should be attended alone. This is being reviewed regularly.
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 due to a family member 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 birth 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 birth partner who is symptomatic /unwell or is self–isolating should not attend the unit and must remain at home.
We are currently not recommending the use of the birthing pool for woman with suspected or confirmed Coronavirus.
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).
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.
Women who require induction of labour will be informed of the date and time to attend the labour ward.
Out-patient induction of labour will be offered where safe to do so. This means that following the start of the induction process and until labour starts, women will be able to return home. Women returning in labour can be supported by one birth partner.
At Royal Derby Hospital where possible admission for induction of labour will now take place in a two bedded assessment bay on the labour ward. We ask that if a birthing partner attends he/she stays for the initial admission to the ward and then returns home. When labour starts and women are transferred into a labour room, their birthing partner can then join them. The reason for this is that we are aiming to support social distancing in the induction bay on labour ward by reducing the number of people spending long periods of time together in close proximity.
At Queen’s Hospital Burton, induction of labour takes place on a maternity ward with Antenatal and post-natal women. In the best interests of all patients on that maternity ward, we ask that the birthing partner attends for the initial admission to the ward and then returns home. When labour starts and women are transferred to the labour ward, their birthing partner can then join them.
Following a straightforward, uncomplicated birth, where safe to do so, we will be asking you to make arrangements to leave the hospital approximately six hours after the birth. 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 and politely ask that the birth partner returns home following admission of mother and baby to the postnatal ward.
Women requiring planned caesarean section will be informed of the date and time to attend the unit.
We are encouraging all women who are booked for a planned (elective) Caesarean Section to attend a pre-booked appointment 48 hours in advance to be swabbed for Covid-19. 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:
From Saturday 16 May we are encouraging women who are booked for a planned (elective) Caesarean Section to attend the ANC at RDH for COVID testing (woman only) by attending a pre-booked appointment.
If you are booked for a caesarean at Queen's Hospital Burton:
From Sunday 17 May we are encouraging women who are booked for a planned (elective) Caesarean Section to attend the Maternity Assessment Unit for COVID testing (woman only) by attending a pre-booked appointment.
Information for caesareans at all site:
Women attending for a planned caesarean section can be accompanied by their birth partner to the ward and can be present in theatre during the operation. The birth partner will be asked to wear a surgical face mask and adhere to infection prevention and control measures. It is important to understand that all medical and midwifery staff in theatre will be wearing full PPE, we appreciate that this may raise anxiety, however this standard has been agreed locally.
The birth partner will be supported to stay with mother and baby in the recovery area on labour ward and for two hours after transfer to the postnatal ward.
Women who have undergone planned caesarean section without any complication and where baby is fit for home will be supported to consider discharge after 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 birth partner will be able to accompany their partner post–operatively in the recovery area prior to transfer to the ward.
Women who have undergone emergency caesarean section may require hospital stay greater than 24 hours.
UHDB Maternity Services are pleased to be able to reintroduce the homebirth service to support choice for women with low risk pregnancies who wish to birth at home.
We have reinstated the homebirth service for women booked with Midwifery teams at Royal Derby Hospital and Queens Hospital Burton, however safety remains our focus and we will only be able to support the provision of homebirths where safe midwifery staffing allows. This means that during the current COVID -19 situation, there may be some occasions where the provision to support the choice of a homebirth cannot be safely achieved and in these circumstances we recommend that women who had planned to birth at home attend the Derby Birth Centre or the Labour Ward at Royal Derby Hospital or Queen’s Hospital Burton. Birthing facilities at Samuel Johnson, Birth Centre, Lichfield remain temporarily suspended.
Women who already have a homebirth planned should contact their Community Midwife for a detailed discussion regarding birth at home and how to prepare for this during COVID-19.
Women who might be considering a homebirth should talk to their community midwife about this choice to ensure they receive adequate information to make informed decisions regarding this birth option.
Homebirths will be supported for women with low risk pregnancies who do not have any symptoms of COVID 19 and where no member of the household is self–isolating or symptomatic.
At the onset of labour, women who are planned to birth at home and who think they have symptoms of COVID-19, are self–isolating or have had a confirmed positive test for COVID-19 will be asked to transfer care to the maternity unit to allow for continuous fetal monitoring in accordance with Royal College of Obstetrics Gynaecologists guidance. This type of fetal monitoring cannot be offered at home.
Even though you may not have any symptoms of COVID-19, to help protect you and our staff, the midwives attending you at home are required to wear Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) during labour and birth and they will also require regular access to hand washing facilities within the home environment.
We politely request that birth partners within the home environment are kept to a minimum (one birth partner if possible) and that contact with others family members is kept to a minimum.
Any family member who has symptoms of COVID-19 or is self-isolating due to having contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19 should not be present during labour or birth at home.
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, the aim of which is to reduce the risk of infection to unwell mothers and babies who require medical admission.
Postnatal care following discharge 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.
We are really pleased to welcome birth partners back into the maternity wards and offer an increase in visiting time to two hours a day from Monday 28 September 2020, 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 birth partner is the only person who can visit. Please ask your birth partner to ring the ward after 9 am to check your bed number before they visit:
Your birth 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 birth partners will be able to stay overnight.
For your birth partner to visit he/she must:
To enable social distancing on the ward and in the corridor areas, designated visiting times are staggered between 12 noon to 7pm in two hour slots. The ward will notify birth partners what time slot they will be able to visit.
We trust that you understand the reason for these measures and we appreciate your support so that birth partners can have some time with mum and baby.
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. We have also reinstated our previously suspended home birth service from Monday 25 May.
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.
Maternity care is essential, and has been developed over many years with improving success to reduce complications in mothers and babies. The risks of not attending care include harm to you, your baby or both of you, even in the context of coronavirus. It is important that you continue to attend your scheduled routine care when you are well.
If you have any concerns regarding your pregnancy but not related to Coronavirus, you should still contact your maternity team at the hospital you are booked at to give birth. The contact number will be the one given to you at booking. Please note the maternity team may need to discuss the need for an appointment with the medical team and this may take longer than usual to get back to you.
If you think you have symptoms of Coronavirus, contact your maternity service and they will arrange the right place and time to come for your visits.
You should not attend a routine clinic if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus or you or a member of your family is self-isolating.
You will be asked to attend your appointment on your own. This will include being asked to not bring children with you to maternity appointments. If your partner has accompanied you to the clinic they will be asked to remain outside the department.
We politely ask that you use the hand sanitizer on arrival and follow social distancing measures by remaining at least 2 meters away from the reception desk and sit in the waiting areas where the chairs have been placed to maintain distance between patients.
At this time, it is particularly important that you help your maternity team take care of you. If you have had an appointment cancelled or delayed, and are not sure of your next contact with your maternity team, please let them know by using the contact numbers provided to you at booking or contacting your community midwife.