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We understand that you will be worried about the impact of coronavirus on your pregnancy and your baby. The information below aims to provide you with information about coronavirus, your pregnancy care and changes we have made to maternity services at Heartlands, Good Hope or Solihull hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak to keep you and your baby safe.
Ensuring that you are supported and cared for safely through pregnancy, birth and the period afterwards remains our number one priority.
Why are pregnant women in a vulnerable group?
Based on the evidence we have so far, pregnant women are still no more likely to contract coronavirus than other people. However, what we do know is that pregnancy in a small number of women can alter how your body handles severe viral infections which is why pregnant women are classified as a vulnerable group. This is something that midwives and obstetricians have known for many years and are used to dealing with. As yet, there is no evidence that pregnant women who get coronavirus are more at risk of serious complications than any other healthy individuals.
How does coronavirus affect pregnant women?
It is expected that the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms.
Symptoms and what to do
Do not leave your home if you have any of the symptoms listed on the NHS website.
If your symptoms are mild please use the NHS 111 online service for further information and advice. Only call 111 if you cannot access the online service.
Self-isolation helps stop coronavirus spreading
Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.
This is called self-isolation. The isolation timetable shows you how long you must isolate for depending on whether it is you or someone you live with who has symptoms.
What to do if you are self-isolating and have a midwife or other maternity appointment?
If you are due to attend an appointment with your community midwife or another team, it is important you contact them in advance to advise you are self-isolating due to you or a family member having symptoms.
Your handheld record has contact details for your community midwife and other departments.
How will my maternity care at Heartlands or Good Hope hospitals change?
Ensuring that your pregnancy care is safe and in line with national guidance remains our number one priority. We have had to change the way we deliver some care because:
- Pregnant women have been identified as a group at risk from coronavirus. In view of this we want to reduce the chance of you being exposed to the virus when receiving care from us.
- There have been changes to staff available to work and extra demand for services in the hospital.
Antenatal care: community midwife and outpatient appointments
To reduce the chance of you being exposed to the virus, and so you can follow government advice and stay home, we will be reducing hospital antenatal clinics and community clinics. Where we can, we will hold your appointment over the phone.
If you have an appointment scheduled and you no longer need to attend face to face, then we will contact you to let you know and provide you with a time for your telephone appointment.
For telephone appointments, we will contact you by phone on the number we have on your file. Please ensure your midwife has your most up to date contact details.
If we do not contact you to say your appointment has changed then it means we still need to see you in person, and you should attend as planned.
Some of the buildings we use for community clinics have closed so we may advise you of a new location, and we will try to keep this as close to your home as possible.
For all appointments, both in community and hospital settings, please attend alone to help us reduce the spread of the virus. If you feel that you need additional support when attending the appointment, please contact us in advance. We are currently unable to offer a face to face interpreting service but are utlilising technological alternatives.
Call between 09:00 – 17:00 from Monday – Friday and your call will be answered by a midwife, who will do their best to support you and answer your questions/queries/worries.
Tel: 0121 424 2829
This helpline doesn't replace your existing advice channels, so please continue to contact triage, maternity assessment centres or community offices as normal, if those are the services you need.
Blood clots and enoxaparin
You may have been given some medication to help you prevent blood clots during pregnancy. These videos will help explain how to reduce blood clotting during pregnancy and how to administer the medication yourself at home.
Blood clots (thrombosis) and pregnancy
Enoxaparin in pregnancy
Reduced Fetal Movement (RFM)
Call during working hours (09:00 – 17:00) and your call will be answered by an experienced midwife. If you need to get in touch outside of those hours, please contact the delivery suite of the hospital you are booked to have your baby at.
Tel: 0121 424 1720
A change in your baby’s movements can be an important warning sign that they are unwell, so please call if you are worried. We understand you may be concerned about exposure to COVID-19, however you should still come to hospital to be checked out. Providing you and your baby are OK, we will aim to get you back home as quickly as possible. Please be reassured that we have protocols in place to ensure your safety and that of your unborn child.
It is very important that you continue to contact our maternity triage with any concerns during your pregnancy and at the onset of labour. Our midwives will be able to redirect you to your GP or community midwife if they feel that this is a more appropriate route.
If you experience any of the following please call triage:
- Suspected labour
- You suspect your waters have broken
- Stomach pain in pregnancy
- Bleeding in pregnancy
- Reduced or changes to your baby’s movements
- Feel unwell
- Postnatal concerns
The Maternity Assessment are can be contacted via these direct lines:
Tel: 0121 424 1514
Tel: 0121 424 7055
If we invite you in to be assessed in our Maternity Assessment area then you must inform us if you are suspected or confirmed as having coronavirus, even if you only have symptoms. This will enable the health professionals to wear the appropriate protective equipment when they meet you at the ambulance entrance. We will provide you with a surgical mask to wear for the duration of your time in the hospital. If someone else brings you to the hospital then we need to ask them to remain outside the hospital to help us reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
During your labour
We will aim to adhere to your birthing preferences but we have had to make some changes that you will need to be aware of.
- Only one birth partner is allowed to accompany you during labour in the birthing areas only.
- Once you have been assessed in Triage, your birth partner will be contacted to join you in the Delivery Suite or Birth Centre.
- If you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus please attend Delivery Suite reception and clearly inform them of this when you arrive. Please attend on your own, if your birthing partner is needed they can be contacted if necessary.
- The anaesthetic service is under great pressure at the moment and this may mean significant delays in providing epidurals for pain relief. If this happens we will offer you alternative methods of pain relief.
- After you have had your baby, when you are ready to be transferred to the ward, your birth partner will be asked to return home.
Induction of labour or planned caesarean birth
Due to increasing demands on our service at this time, there is a high probability that we will need to make changes to planned births at short notice. This may include attending on a different day to originally planned and we may not be able to give you much advance notice.
Birth partners are not permitted to be with you during the beginning of an induction of labour process. They will be contacted to join you in a labour or birthing area once it is confirmed your labour has started. We understand that this may be worrying for you. It is not a decision we have made easily but is a necessary step to reduce the risk of the virus spreading by limiting the number of people in these areas.
When you are admitted prior to a planned caesarean birth, your birth partner will be able to accompany to you the Elective Caesarean Section area.
Following all births, when you and your baby are ready to go to the ward, your birth partner will be requested to go home. As long as your caesarean birth is uncomplicated, you should be able to return home the following day.
Postnatal care following birth
If you and baby are well we aim to get you home as soon as possible, ideally within six hours, after we have completed newborn baby checks which we can do when your baby is four hours old.
Once you have been discharged, one of our staff will escort you down to the front entrance where your partner can meet you to take you both home.
Postnatal care at home and in the community
Our community midwives have now commenced home visits. Following discharge from hospital, your community midwife will contact you by telephone on your first full day at home. During this call your midwife will talk to you about how you and your baby are doing, any concerns you have and make sure you know how to access any support you might need. Your midwife will arrange to visit you that same day or invite you to a postnatal clinic to be reviewed. It’s important that we have your up to date contact details when we discharge you. You should expect a call from us from 09:00 onwards.
Your midwife will either invite you to a designated postnatal clinic or visit you at your home on day five to carry out neonatal screening checks.
If you are suspected or confirmed as having coronavirus, midwives will be wearing protective equipment and will visit you at the end of the day. All midwives will wear protective personal equipment for all patients now, but if you have been tested positive for coronavirus, some tests may be delayed until it is safe to do so.
For all home appointments we request that the midwife sees you and the baby in a separate room to others in your household. It is helpful if you can ensure you have the things you need ready to change baby along with your red book, as this prevents you needing to go in and out of the room while the midwife is there.
Around day 10 – 12 your community midwife will contact you again by telephone to complete a wellbeing check for both you and baby and arrange for your baby to be weighed. They will also arrange for you to either attend the postnatal clinic to be discharged or a home visit depending on the circumstances.
Thank you for your patience and understanding at this challenging time.
For your postnatal check-up and newborn examination at six weeks
Your GP surgery should have made contact with you, either by telephone or letter two weeks after having your baby to arrange your six weeks postnatal appointment for you and your baby. If you have not received an appointment, then please call your local surgery to arrange one.
For registration of your baby’s birth
Birmingham is open but due to a significant backlog of registrations, they are prioritising in order of date of birth. There is an online pre-registration form to complete and the office will contact you with an appointment date and time. You can also telephone for more information.
Tel: 0121 675 1000
Staffordshire is now fully open open and appointments can be booked online.
Tel: 0300 111 8001
You can currently make a claim for child benefit and universal credit prior to the birth being registered. Claim forms are available in the Bounty Packs available from the postnatal ward or can be completed online.
Infant feeding support
All face to face feeding support groups have been suspended until further notice.
For initial feeding enquires you can contact either your community midwife or call the postnatal ward you were discharged from.
A hospital based telephone support line for infant feeding support is available on Mondays only between 13:00 – 16:30.
Tel: 0121 424 9741
Alternatively you can call the:
National Breastfeeding Helpline
Tel: 0300 100 0212
Breastfeeding Network (BfN)
Tel: 0300 456 2421
NCT Breastfeeding Helpline
Tel: 0300 300 0700
La Leche League
Tel: 0345 120 2918
When to seek help
- If you become unwell with symptoms of coronavirus, a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, please use the online 111 coronavirus service. Only telephone 111 if you are unable to get support or advice online
- If you have very heavy postnatal bleeding, you are passing blood clots or are feeling generally unwell please ring:
- Maternity Assessment Centre at Good Hope Hospital (Tel: 0121 424 7055)
- Pregnancy Assessment Emergency Room at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital (Tel: 0121 424 1514)
- For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance
- Most newborn babies have jaundice. If your baby has jaundice, their skin or the whites of their eyes may look slightly yellow. For most babies jaundice is nothing to worry about. However, if you are concerned that your baby is jaundiced or that it is becoming worse, please contact your community midwife for advice and support. If you are unable to get in contact your community midwife, please contact the postnatal ward you were discharged home from for further advice
Very occasionally babies can become unwell very quickly. You know your baby best, so do not wait too long if you are worried. Ask for help sooner rather than later. Contact your midwife or GP if your baby has symptoms such as:
- A high pitched cry
- Faster than normal breathing
- A disinterest in feeding
- Reduced passage of urine
- Bulging fontanelle (the soft part of a baby's head)
- Blood in stools is present
Urgent medical attention must be obtained by calling 999 if your baby:
- Has a fit or convulsion
- Vomits green fluid
- Has a rash that doesn't fade when you press it
- Stops breathing/goes blue
- Is unresponsive and shows no awareness of what is going on
- Has glazed eyes and does not focus on anything
- Cannot be woken
Frequently asked questions
Can I bring my boyfriend/husband/partner to my scan or antenatal appointment?
I’m afraid that we are restricting the number of visitors into the hospital so you will need to attend on your own. Your partner can drive you to and from your appointment.
How many birth partners can I have?
You can have one birth partner with you for the labour and birth this includes caesarean section. For bereaved parents on the Eden Suite you are also permitted to have one birth partner.
Are visitors allowed after the birth?
Your birthing partner can stay for the remainder of the visiting hours in the delivery suite, but once you are transferred to the postnatal ward, they will need to return home and won’t be able to return as a visitor the next day. We're very sorry but these measures are necessary to keep our patients and staff safe.
Am I still supposed to attend my antenatal/scan appointment?
Unless you have been contacted by telephone or letter to let you know otherwise, please attend your appointment as usual.
Are elective c-sections still going ahead?
Elective c-sections are still going ahead.
Can my partner come into theatre with me for my elective c-section?
Your partner will be able to attend your c-section procedure. Once you are transferred to the postnatal ward however, they will not be able to return as a visitor the following day. We're very sorry but these measures are necessary to keep our patients and staff safe. You can find more info on visiting the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust website.
Will all vaccinations still be going along as normal?
Yes vaccinations will be administered as normal.
How soon can I be discharged from hospital following the birth of my baby?
If you have had an uncomplicated elective C-section you should be able to go home within 24 hours if all is well. If you have a normal birth, you should be able to go home within four to six hours and if you have an assisted birth you will be able to go home within twelve hours, as long as there are no complications.
I am worried about coming into hospital in case I contract the virus?
Please feel assured that hospital birth is safe. All of our maternity units are following national guidance regarding transmission of the virus and all staff have been provided with the required personal protective equipment to keep both you and them safe.
Can my partner visit me on the ward?
We have currently stopped all visiting on the postnatal and antenatal wards.
I want to breast feed my baby, should I still do this?
All the latest evidence suggests that breast feeding your baby is safe and the virus has not been detected as yet in breast milk.
My 28 week scan was cancelled, will I be able to have it soon?
Due to the pandemic, we had to postpone or cancel some scans, but we are now back in a position where we are carrying out 28 week scans.
I am due to have my baby on the midwifery led unit, can I still do that?
Yes, we have now reopened our Willow Suite.
Will I be tested for COVID-19?
We are now testing all women who need to stay overnight on our units.
I would like to have my baby at home, can I still do that?
Yes we have recently reinstated the homebirth service at our Trust, so please speak to your maternity team about whether this is an option that is suitable for you.
I am due to give birth at Solihull Birth Centre, can I still do that?
Yes we are now able to welcome those having low-risk and midwife-led births at Solihull Birth Centre. Please speak to your community midwife to arrange.
Ask the Midwife
As part of our commitment to continue providing a high standard of care during the pandemic, we are working with our local maternity system partners at Birmingham Women’s Hospital to offer free regular online "Ask the Midwife" Zoom sessions.
You can find the questions and answers from the sessions below:
Maternity Assessment Area
Tel: 0121 424 7055 (Good Hope Hospital)
Tel: 0121 424 1514 (Heartlands Hospital)
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Please use this number at the onset of labour and for anything that is concerning you.
Tel: 0121 424 9201 (Good Hope Hospital)
Tel: 0121 424 2710 (Heartlands Hospital)
COVID-19 related enquires
Tel: 0121 424 2829 (Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 17:00)
Women who experience reduced fetal movements
Tel: 0121 424 1720 (Monday to Sunday, 08:00 – 20:00)
COVID-19 Maternity Surveillance
Tel: 0121 424 1720 (08:00 – 20:00)