Maternity guidance during coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to our services

Communications Team

  • Reference Number: HEY1234/2021
  • Departments: Maternity Services

Testing for coronavirus (COVID-19)

NHS England has decided that women who need to stay overnight for any reason either during pregnancy or labour and women returning to hospital should be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) on admission.

It is important that we ensure our Maternity Services remain safe, so all women and babies can be cared for in the safest environment.
We know that some patients who do have coronavirus (COVID-19) may never develop any symptoms. Swabbing everyone who is admitted will help us keep all our patients as safe as we can.

Rapid lateral flow testing in pregnancy

Following a recent Government announcement, free rapid lateral flow tests are now available to everyone over the age of 11. The tests are for people who do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and you can see the result on a device similar to a pregnancy test, usually in 30 minutes.

The NHS recommend that all pregnant women and their support person use lateral flow tests to test themselves for coronavirus twice a week at home. Ideally, you should test yourself 24 to 48 hours before you come for any appointment or antenatal scan.

Although these tests are voluntary, we encourage you to test yourself and will make sure no woman’s care is impacted whether or not they take part. www.nhs.uk – How to get lateral flow tests

Lateral flow tests should only be used by people without coronavirus symptoms; if you have any symptoms of coronavirus please arrange to book a PCR test on www.gov.uk

Hospital appointments – updated

One adult from your social bubble is welcome to attend all ultrasound scans with you and all hospital based antenatal appointments.

In instances where you have a planned appointment e.g. scans and clinic appointments you should self-administer a COVID test within 24 to 48 hours before an appointment. If you want a support partner to accompany you to the appointment, they should also undertake a test within 24 to 48 hours before the appointment.

From Monday 14th June 2021 all women and their partners (or other support person) will be requested to undertake a test to help screen for Covid-19 before attending hospital-based antenatal appointments.

Tests should be completed 24 to 48 hours before the scheduled appointment time, and proof of a negative test result should be brought to the antenatal clinic or scan appointment.

What do I need to do if my test comes back positive?

During times when levels of coronavirus are low in the community, it is possible that a positive test may be a false result. If you get a positive result, do not worry but arrange to get a PCR test at your local testing site as soon as possible. You should also contact the appropriate hospital department as soon as possible to inform them. If you receive your PCR test result prior to your appointment, and this is negative you may still attend the appointment. If your PCR test is not ready or positive, then please contact to department to discuss the next step. If this is a routine appointment, it is safest to cancel and reschedule the appointment (if positive for after your 10 days of self-isolation). If the investigation or appointment is relatively urgent or cannot be delayed, then we will invite you to still attend. Whilst in the hospital we will make sure you, our staff and other patients are kept safe by wearing masks, other PPE and seeing you in a separate COVID area.

You should also follow all relevant instructions provided to you within the lateral flow test kit (or at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus) around self-isolation.

Contact details:

  • Antenatal Clinic – (01482) 382713 or (01482) 604386
  • Antenatal Day Unit – (01482) 382792
  • Labour Ward – (01482) 604490
  • Ultrasound Department – (01480) 607848
  • Community Midwives – (01482) 382658

What happens if the support person gets a positive result?

If your support person tests positive on the lateral flow test, again they should have a PCR test. If this is negative they may attend with you. If the result is not ready or if their test is confirmed positive by PCR, you should contact the department, but as above would not miss any essential appointment.
Again, if their test is confirmed positive by PCR your support person needs to self-isolate and you will also need to self-isolate for 10 days if you have had contact with them in the 48 hours before the test.
Antenatal appointments are important for the safety and wellbeing of you and your baby, so we will advise you to attend your appointment if it is clinically necessary. You can then select an alternative support person who has not tested positive to COVID-19.

The support person should isolate as set out in government guidance: www.gov.uk – COVID-19 Stay At Home Guidance

What if I forget to do the test?

You should still attend your booked antenatal appointment as planned.

What if I forget to bring my lateral flow test result with me?

You should still attend your booked antenatal appointment as planned.

If my appointment has to be cancelled, how long will I have to wait for another appointment?

This will depend on what your appointment was for and the clinical need but we will endeavour to fit you back in as soon as possible. If anything changes in the meantime, please contact us and we will see you as soon as needed.

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