COVID-19 information

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    Important information for women about Coronavirus COVID-19

    Due to the current Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and following the Government and Public Health England’s new measures for pregnant women to reduce social contact, we have taken steps to change the way in which we will be providing some of your care. 

    This is a constantly changing situation and we would like you to use this website for the most up-to-date information and advice.

    We would like to reassure women that our birth centres and home birth services are fully operational across both our sites and, for well women, water births remain a birth option.

    If your query is urgent and you need to speak with us, please call our maternity helpline:

    • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital: 020 3315 6000, option 1
    • West Middlesex University Hospital: 020 8321 5839

    Important update for all expectant parents

    The current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic means  we are required to make difficult decisions relating to the service that we are able to provide. We make these decisions based on our duty of care both to you as expectant parents, and to the staff who work for our NHS  services.

    We have already put in place a restricted visiting policy for our inpatient areas (where women are admitted in pregnancy, and after their baby is born). This has been communicated to our service users via various means.

    We have had several incidents which have led to us having to further review this policy. We have already attempted to implement a variety of measures to ensure that nobody enters the hospital with current or recent history (within 7 days) of COVID-19 symptoms. Sadly these measures have not proven to be adequate.

    Visiting Policy

    Visitors must obey social distancing, must be temperature-checked and symptom-checked on entering the hospital, must follow hand hygiene measures (regular hand washing or alcohol gel) and must wear their own face covering

    Antenatal and scan appointments

    • Antenatal appointments: Unfortunately partners are not permitted during this time. We are constantly reviewing this in line with the government recommendations regarding social distancing

    • Scan appointments: Partners can now be present for scan appointments.

    Antenatal admissions, labour, birth and postnatal period

    One birth partner as before, but they can now visit for the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal stay, but cannot stay overnight in the antenatal and postnatal period. In exceptional circumstances a woman may be able to have a second birth supporter (please discuss this with your midwife if you feel this applies to you) and this would need to be agreed by the Head of Midwifery. Partners can also be present for scan appointments. Children are not allowed to attend appointments or be present in the maternity units.

    • The birth partner must have no symptoms (current or within the last 7 days) and completed the declaration to be allowed access to the unit.
    • If the birth partner is living in a household with someone who has had coronavirus, they need to have self-isolated for 14 days to be allowed into the unit (as per Public Health England)
    • If there are indications that your birth partner may have COVID-19 they will be asked to leave the premises immediately and asked to self-isolate at home for a period of 7 days. They will not be granted admission to the unit within this isolation period.
    • All birth partners admitted will be asked to wear a fluid repellant mask during their time on the unit, and advised to follow regular hand hygiene.

    Our women have the right to birth in a safe environment, and our staff also have the right to be protected to perform their jobs in a safe environment.

    Please consider other women and families when you are making this declaration. We cannot stress enough that this is a protective measure for you, your family and the staff that want to care for you.

    We are acutely aware of the emotional impact that not allowing partners onto the unit will have and we want to work with you to maintain this as a safe option for you and your family, as well as the families coming after you.

    We pledge that we will stay at home when we are sick, and we are asking the same of you.

    We do hope that you will understand the reasoning behind us enforcing this process, and that you will support us to maintain partners attendance in labour and birth.

    COVID-19 symptoms

    The signs of coronavirus according to Public Health England are:

    • High temperature (fever): This means that you feel hot to touch on your chest or back and your temperature is at 37.8°C or above
    • A new continuous cough: Coughing for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours

    Social distancing

    Your baby’s movements

    During COVID-19 your baby's movements are as important as ever.

    Should you have any concerns please contact your midwife.

    Facebook Live sessions

    Join our consultant midwife Natalie every Thursday at 8pm to answer your questions via Facebook Live through our Chelsea and Westminster Maternity Voices page. These sessions are for answering questions about your care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Virtual antenatal classes 

    We have created a package of virtual antenatal classes and are running Zoom sessions in place of face-to-face classes.

    Post-birth contraception services

    Access to primary care contraceptive services and sexual health services is significantly reduced due to COVID-19. For this reason, the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) guidance has been updated to recommend that all maternity units provide contraceptives prior to discharge from maternity services. It is important to note that the community contraceptive services may continue to be limited for the foreseeable future. 

    As fertility returns rapidly after childbirth, effective contraception should be started as soon as possible after childbirth by both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers. This will enable you to plan any subsequent pregnancy and reduce risks associated with short intervals between pregnancies.

    The recommendations include:

    • Long acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) methods which are highly effective and include coils, implants and depo injections.
    • Progesterone only pills (POP) which are extremely safe with very few contraindications to their use. The POP can be started immediately after the birth (or by Day 21) without any need for additional contraceptive precautions. We will offer all women a six-month supply of this unless there are any medical contraindications.

    Whilst there will be a few circumstances when these options may not be suitable or you may have a preference for other methods, the maternity team members will be able to support you through these. 

    You are advised to access information about contraceptive choices (also on our Mum & Baby app, see sidebar) before your next consultation with the maternity team. We recommend that you decide on your preferred method of contraception prior to giving birth so that we can facilitate this without delaying your discharge from hospital.

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    Get help (maternity helpline)

    Chelsea and Westminster
    T: 020 3315 6000

    West Middlesex
    T: 020 8321 5839 

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    Mum & Baby app

    Our Mum & Baby app supports your journey with us through your pregnancy, birth and life with your baby—download it today!

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    Care Information Exchange

    The Care Information Exchange gives you online access to your results, scans and appointments during your pregnancy. Find out more.

    eRedbook app

    eRedbook is an NHS-approved app that allows you to keep a secure digital record of your child's health and development—download and register today!

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