Maternity services during COVID-19 pandemic
Updated August 2021
It has been over 18 months since we as a maternity service began adapting our care in view of the coronavirus pandemic. We recognise this has continued to be an anxious time for you and your families and acknowledge the impact that restrictions have had on your birth experiences - we are proud to have continued to put you and your family at the centre of the care we provide. We are now in a much stronger position with more evidence to guide our decision making than at the start of the pandemic. We have seen the benefit of our communication with you on social media and plan to continue its use to respond to the rapid changes due to COVID and as a source of ongoing communication for questions: please follow Southampton Maternity Service on Facebook for the latest updates.
Our key messages are:
- COVID-19 vaccination is safe and recommended in pregnancy. In the past 3 months alone we have seen 171 women admitted to hospital nationally, none have been fully vaccinated with only 3 women having their first dose. We know 1 in 10 women admitted to hospital will be admitted to intensive care and this means higher risk of preterm birth, caesarean birth and potential separation from your newborn baby. Currently as long as you are over 18 years old, you and your partner can access the vaccine for free via their GP or the NHS booking website here: Book or manage your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- If you decide not to have the vaccine then it is important to reduce your risks of getting COVID-19 by washing your hands regularly, wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing.
- We kindly ask all of you to attend wearing face masks at all times unless in labour or you are exempt. We will offer you all including birth partners COVID-19 testing on admission to hospital either via a lateral flow test, a PCR test or both: this guides our care for you and those around you. We hope that you will support us with these measures so that we can keep everyone safe.
Accessing care if you have COVID-19
- If you are well (and not in isolation), you should continue to attend for all your routine appointments. If you are isolating because you are unwell, or someone at home is unwell, you should defer routine visits until their isolation is over.
- We will still see you if your care is urgent if you have COVID-19 as it may be important to you or your baby’s wellbeing. If you are concerned these please contact us in the normal way and we will advise regarding this.
Please be assured that the safety of you and the families in our care is our highest priority and we will be taking all appropriate measures to ensure that you receive all your maternity care in the safest possible way. Thank you for supporting us to keep you safe.
Best wishes from all of us in the maternity team
Director of midwifery and professional lead for neonatal services, UHS
Advice for people with coronavirus
Illness and coronavirus in newborn babies
Please read the information sheets below:
Advice for pregnant people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
As a pregnant person from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background, you may feel worried about coronavirus. Your local maternity team is still here to help you, so contact them as you would normally. They will be working together with you and providing you with extra support during this unprecedented time.
Some studies suggest that BAME pregnant people are more likely to be admitted to hospital with coronavirus than white people, so maternity services have been asked to take extra precautions to keep you safe, which includes prioritising your care and access to services.
It is also important that you take extra steps to protect yourself and follow the advice about how to avoid getting coronavirus. If you think you have coronavirus then alert your maternity team and they will advise you about what to do next.
Remember to attend all your antenatal appointments and seek help early from your midwife or maternity team if you have any concerns about your health or your baby’s health. Get help early so you have the best chance of recovery.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest coronavirus pregnancy and birth advice on the NHS website, which has links to helpful resources, including a range of topical videos and leaflets and an animation. Alternatively contact NHS111 or in an emergency dial 999.