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COVID-19 Coronavirus - for women using our maternity services

The current global situation surrounding Covid-19 can be extremely worrying for everyone, including pregnant women.

Firstly let us reassure you that the care we provide to you, alongside the safety of our staff is our priority.  All the measures we are putting in place are up to date government guidelines. We are working to reduce the spread of Covid-19 virus while maintaining a safe NHS service.

If you have any Covid-19 symptoms such as a raised temperature, a dry persistent cough or shortness of breath please visit NHS.uk/coronavirus 

We are aware that some GP surgeries and Children's centres in our area are closing.  This means that your antenatal care will be affected if you are pregnant.   We are continuing to provide our services however they are greatly reduced.

Click this link to see a video message about the changes to our services

Scans

You will have a face to face midwife appointment after your 12,20 and 36 week ultrasound scan at the hospital.  At 28 and 32 weeks if you don't require additional scans, you will have a face to face appointment with a midwife in a clinic.  For women requiring additional scans you will be seen by a midwife during or following your scan at the hospital. 

All other midwife appointments will be conducted over the phone. Should complications arise or be suspected and you need to be seen more often, provision for this will be made.

If you have an appointment and have symptoms of Covid-19 please inform the scan department on 01702 385161.  An appointment will be rearranged for you when you are symptom-free and out of the isolation period. 

Visiting

We have stopped partners visiting within the Maternity unit.  Only one birthing partner can attend when women are in labour or having a planned caesarean section.

Appointments

We are limiting routine antenatal and postnatal appointments.  Women are being risk assessed and care provided accordingly.

If you are pregnant please book your pregnancy on line via the Southend hospital maternity webpage.  We will then phone you and book your pregnancy, discussing everything within your antenatal booklet as we would have done if we were seeing you face to face.

You will have a face to face midwife appointment after your 12,20 and 36 week ultrasound scan at the hospital.  At 28 weeks you will have a face to face appointment with a midwife in a clinic.

All other midwife appointments will be conducted over the phone.  Should complications arise or be suspected and you need to be seen more often, provision for this will be made.

If your pregnancy is deemed high risk due to any number of factors and you require a consultant appointment you will be seen after your 12 week ultrasound scan for a face to face appointment and a plan will be discussed.

Our antenatal triage service will continue to run as normal so if you have any concerns about yourself or your baby in between these times you will still be able to self-refer for advice and or a check-up.  Please call our antenatal ward on 01702 385301.

Labour

Our labour ward is still open and staffed with midwives who are waiting to care for you throughout your birth.  Please call our triage number on 01702385261 if you think you are in labour. 

For those of you who have opted for a homebirth we are currently still running this service.  However please bear in mind this may change.  For any women experiencing signs and symptoms of covid-19 the recommendation is to attend the hospital when in established labour as additional monitoring may be required for you and your baby. 

Postnatal care

Once you have had your baby, the way we provide your care has also changed.  This is to ensure we are maintaining a safe service for all and ensure safety for our staff.  

Telephone consultations will occur when we cannot visit you at home.  Following your discharge from the hospital a midwife will call you on your first day home.  Either a midwife or a Midwifery Support Worker (MSW) will come to your home on day 5, as long as you or any one within the household are not symptomatic.  At this appointment we will weigh your baby and perform the New Born blood spot test.  We will then phone you again on day 10.  Depending on individual circumstances you may be seen be more during this time if deemed necessary.

In the meantime there is a free app for all pregnant women and for those who have just had a baby called 'MUM and BABY' which you can download from the app store.  This has a lot of information about all aspects of pregnancy and the first few weeks of caring for yourself and your new-born baby. 

Following your birth If you have any concerns about yourself or your baby please call the postnatal ward on 01702 385130.

Further information

We are aware that there are many questions and this situation is causing lots of anxieties and worries for all.  Please bear with us - your safety and the care we provide to you and your baby is of paramount importance and despite our service running differently in the coming months, safety remains at the heart of this provision, ensuring those who absolutely need to be seen can remain our priority.

We are in the process of setting up more telephone triage numbers which we will update you with.  We are also looking at a way of delivering antenatal classes in a more visual way.

Thank you for your understanding during this difficult period of time.   In the meantime please stay safe, keep washing your hands.

Southend Maternity Unit