COVID-19 information

COVID-19 information for all women and birthing people currently booked with us for care

Thank you for using the maternity services at Chelsea and Westminster and West Middlesex hospitals. We would like to update you on the most recent changes that we have made to our maternity services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and most recent government announcements.

Important information about COVID-19

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and following the government's and Public Health England’s measures for pregnant women to reduce social contact, we have taken steps to change the way we are 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 birth remains a birth option.

If you think you may be unwell with COVID-19 please do the following:

  • Inform us if you have moderate or escalating symptoms on our helpline numbers:
    • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital: 020 3315 6000, option 1
    • West Middlesex University Hospital: 020 8321 5839

If you have received a positive COVID-19 swab and do not have any symptoms, please let us know through the following numbers:

  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital: 020 3315 6000, option 3 for antenatal clinic or please contact your community midwifery team
  • West Middlesex University Hospital: 020 8321 5839, option 3 for the antenatal clinic and leave your contact details

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
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • aching body
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

Testing

We are currently offering women and birthing people a COVID-19 test in the following situations:

  • 2–3 days prior to an elective procedure such as induction of labour or elective caesarean section
  • If you are admitted to hospital during your pregnancy
  • When you are admitted to hospital in labour
  • If you have been an inpatient for more than 3 days and then go into labour and give birth
  • If you are re-admitted to hospital after having given birth to your baby and being discharged home

Partners and support people are only being tested if the woman or birthing person has tested positive.

You and your partner/support people are no longer required to do twice weekly LFT testing.

Please note: If you decline testing when admitted for any reason, your support people may be unable to attend the inpatient ward areas including the antenatal and postnatal wards. Without knowing your COVID-19 status, we must ensure we continue to protect all others from transmission as best we can and therefore, encourage everyone to take part in all testing on offer.

Care details and partner/support people attendance restrictions

The COVID-19 pandemic means we are required to make difficult decisions relating to the service that we 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 ask that you have two designated people who will be your support throughout your pregnancy and birth care. We ask that you try not to swap these people for any other, unless they become unwell and are unable to attend to support you. 

We base these decisions on local infection rates, current hospital admissions, staff sickness and any lockdown in England.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for adhering to our precautions and code of conduct. Without your and your partner’s/support people’s support in this, we would not have been able to facilitate the presence of everyone within our buildings as much as we have and continue to plan to do when possible. Complying with face coverings, regular hand hygiene and minimal entering and exiting from the room which you occupy is so very important in helping us to keep everyone safe

Unfortunately, children may not attend the maternity unit at any time unless absolutely necessary.  They are not able to attend the ward areas at any time.

Antenatal and scan appointments

  • Routine midwifery appointments: Partners/support people are able to attend in person. They remain more than welcome to join virtually, should you prefer. We continue to have challenges providing adequate social distancing in the waiting areas for clinics, so encourage your partner/support person to only attend if this is essential to you. They will also be asked to wait outside until the appointment begins, to help reduce the number of people in the waiting areas. Children may not attend at any time unless absolutely necessary.
  • Scan appointments: Your partner/support person may attend any of your scans. We continue to ask them to wait outside the clinic until the appointment starts, to help reduce the number of people in waiting areas. Children may not attend at any time unless absolutely necessary.
  • Obstetric antenatal appointments: Partners/support people are able to attend in person. They remain more than welcome to join virtually, should you prefer. We continue to have challenges providing adequate social distancing in the waiting areas for clinics, so encourage your partner/support person to only attend if this is essential to you. They will also be asked to wait outside until the appointment begins, to help reduce the number of people in the waiting areas. Children may not attend at any time unless absolutely necessary. 

Antenatal admissions (staying in hospital during pregnancy)

If you have an antenatal admission onto the ward for any reason other than induction of labour, your partner/support person may attend between 8am and 8pm. Your two nominated support people may swap with each other but only one person can be present at any one time.

If you are having an induction of labour, your partner/support person may attend at any time, including outpatient induction appointments. If you are in early labour and you need your partner/support person to remain with you because you are labouring, they will be able to stay with you for a period of 24 hours.  Your two nominated support people may swap with each other but only one person can be present at any one time.

Labour and birth

Your partner/support person will be able to remain with you throughout your labour and birth, whether this is in the birth centre, labour ward or theatre. When you come in for your initial assessment in labour, your partner/support person will be able to remain with you. For non-labour attendance to the triage/assessment suite they may be asked to wait outside depending on your reason for attendance.

Your second support person may also attend for labour and birth. They may only be present in the birth areas and only one support person is able to be present in theatre. 

What happens if you have a test and it comes back COVID-19 positive?

  • If you are admitted in labour, and the test that we took on your admission comes back positive a few hours later we will continue to provide your care as you require it.  We will then test your partner/support person.  If they test positive they will be able to stay for labour and birth (not in theatre) but not attend in the ward areas while testing positive. 
  • If you have your COVID-19 test as a pre-assessment appointment prior to induction of labour or elective caesarean and it comes back positive we will individualise your care in terms of your wellbeing and maternity care plan. 

Postnatal admission (staying in hospital after you give birth)

After giving birth, if you are not going home within six hours, you will be admitted to the postnatal ward. Your partner/support person is able to be with you between the hours of 8am and 8pm. If you give birth during the night, your partner/support person will be able to remain with you following your baby’s birth until you are admitted to the postnatal ward, which is usually 1–2 hours after birth.  Your two nominated support people may swap with each other but only one person can be present at any one time on the postnatal ward.

Postnatal visiting at home after birth

The midwives will be coming to see you at home following your birth. They will be wearing PPE and we ask that only those who need to be present in the room with you stay in that room to support social distancing, and that face coverings are worn by you and anyone else in the room. Please provide facilities for your midwife to wash and dry their hands. You may receive a telephone call first to assess your needs for visiting—please answer your phone to any ‘unknown’ numbers.

Our community midwives have been asked to keep their footwear on in your home by our infection control teams to help prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Their shoes are wiped clean and the midwives carry clinical wipes to clean them. We recognise that, for some families, you may request we remove our shoes. Unfortunately this will not provide protection for either our staff or your and other families, and we ask for your understanding at this time. Shoe covers are not recommended as they can potentially spread the virus during the process of removing them from the shoe.

Your partner/support person

Your partner/support person should bring with them everything they need, such as food, drink and a toothbrush, so they can remain in the room with you.

  • Your partner/support people must have no symptoms (current or within the last 7 days).
  • They must wear a face covering/surgical mask at all times.
  • If there are indications that your partner/support people may have COVID-19 they will be asked to leave the premises immediately. 

Women and birthing people have the right to give birth in a safe environment and staff have the right to be protected to perform their jobs in a safe environment. Please consider other people when you are making this declaration. We cannot stress enough that this is a protective measure for you, your family and the staff who want to care for you.

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

You can also receive regular updates by following the social media sites of our Maternity Voice Partnership, or contact them with your feedback:

MVP Chelsea and Westminster: ChelWest.MVP@gmail.com
West Middlesex: WestMid.MVP@gmail.com
FB Chelsea and Westminster: Chelsea and Westminster Maternity Voices
West Middlesex: West Middlesex Maternity Voices
Twitter @ChelWestMVP
Insta @ChelWestMid_MVP
M&B The Mum and Baby app is a free resource with lots of information about all aspects of pregnancy and the first few weeks of caring for you and your baby.  You can also start using the personalised care plans on this app to highlight your choices regarding your preferences for birth and afterwards.

Further information

Please also see the ‘Your pregnancy and birth’, ‘leaflets and information’ and ‘antenatal education’ sections of this website for additional support during your pregnancy, birth and afterwards.

When to call us

If you experience any of the following during your pregnancy please call us:

  • Chelsea and Westminster (Maternity Assessment Suite): 020 3315 6000, option 1
  • West Middlesex (Triage): 020 8321 5839

Symptoms

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Your baby is not moving, or the movements are not the usual pattern
  • Constant tummy pain
  • Persistent headache not resolved with paracetamol
  • Starred vision or disturbed vision
  • Epigastric pain not resolved with antacids

If you experience any of the following in the days after your birth please call us:

  • Chelsea and Westminster (Maternity Assessment Suite): 020 3315 6000, option 1
  • West Middlesex (Triage): 020 8321 5839

Symptoms

  • If your bleeding is becoming heavier or you are passing clots
  • You are concerned that your wound site is becoming infected (red, inflamed, painful, swelling, oozing)
  • Your vaginal discharge is offensive, or your stitches become more painful
  • You are concerned about your baby feeding or your baby is sleepy and not waking for feeds
  • You feel unwell and/or feverish
  • You have pain or swelling in your legs or feel short of breath
  • If you have any other concerns

Relationships with others

Is someone you are close to making you feel afraid or frightened?  You are not alone and it is safe to talk about this with any of your care providers or you can call these numbers below:

  • Chelsea and Westminster: 07583 172 928
  • West Middlesex: 07817 077 122
  • National Helpline: 0808 2000 247

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 on the numbers above.

Facebook Live service updates

Join our consultant midwives Natalie and Louise at the advertised times to hear about any additional service updates via Facebook Live through our Chelsea and Westminster Maternity Voices page

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.

While 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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