Coronavirus guidance

If you think you may have symptoms of Coronavirus, follow the national guidance and self-isolate for seven days. We have Introduced a number of measures and changes to help delay the spread of the virus and maintain essential health services for those that will continue to need them during these unprecedented times. 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.

Maternity Services during Coronavirus

As a pregnant woman the news that you were placed in a ‘vulnerable group’ by the Chief Medical Officer on Monday 16 March 2020 may have caused you concern.

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.

What has driven the decisions made by officials is the need to restrict spread of illness because if the number of infections were to rise sharply, the number of severely infected women could rise and this could put the lives of pregnant women in the third trimester in danger.

Our general advice is that:

  • If you are infected with COVID-19 you are still most likely to have no symptoms or a mild illness from which you will make a full recovery.
  • Symptoms that you may have COVID-19 include a high temperature, a persistent cough and a loss of smell or taste
  • If you develop more severe symptoms or your recovery is delayed, this may be a sign that you are developing a more significant chest infection that requires enhanced care. Our advice remains that if you feel your symptoms are worsening or if you are not getting better you should contact your maternity care team, NHS 111 or local alternative straight away for further information and advice.

Advice regarding your appointments or urgent visits to clinics and hospitals at any of our UHDB maternity sites

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 have a routine scan or antenatal visit due in the coming days, your Midwifery team will contact you before your appointment is due.  You will be asked some screening questions and advised if you still need to attend for a visit. The appointment venue may change and we are now providing some telephone appointments where it is safe to do so and where an antenatal examination is not essential.
  • If you are between appointments, please wait to hear from your maternity team. If you are attending more regularly in pregnancy, then your maternity team will be in touch with plans for further appointments, as required.
  • There may be a need to reduce the number of antenatal visits you have. This will be communicated with you, and will be done as safely as possible, taking into account available evidence on the safe number of visits required.
  • Do not reduce your number of visits without agreeing first with your maternity team.

Your baby’s movements matter

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.

Advice regarding social distancing and self-isolation while pregnant

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:

  1. For all vulnerable people including pregnant women: view here 
  2. For individuals and households of individuals with symptoms of new continuous cough or fever: view here

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).

Additional support for new and expectant parents in Derby

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:

Additional information for new and expectant parents in Staffordshire

Staffordshire Maternity Voice Partnership offer additional online support:

Information about our services during Coronavirus

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. 

Will Midwives wear face masks and protective equipment?

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.

Ultrasound scans

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. 

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 scan they will be asked to remain outside the department.

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.


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 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.

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

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.

Caesarean section

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 prior to transfer to the postnatal ward. Once on the postnatal ward we would ask that the birth partner returns home.

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.

Reinstatement of Homebirth Service

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 aim to fully reinstate the homebirth service, seven days a week from 27 May 2020, 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.

Postnatal care

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

Breast feeding is still encouraged.

There is no visiting on the postnatal ward due to following strict social distancing recommendations for all pregnant women, 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.

Preparing for your midwife visit

Whatever your personal situation please consider the following:

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.