Subject to proof of a negative COVID-19 test for both patient and partner, partners are now able to accompany patients to all hospital antenatal appointments and scans. (There are a couple of exceptions, such as glucose tolerance tests and early pregnancy appointments.) Your partner may need to wait outside until your appointment to help us maintain social distancing, but we will advise you of this on the day. We also ask that you both please wear a face mask, and your partner will need to bring ID.
Regardless of whether you have any symptoms of COVID-19, we will need to test both you and your partner ahead of the appointment/scan if you would like them to accompany you.
Test results, will impact how we manage your care, and indicate whether it is safe for you and others if your partner accompanies you.
Partners are also able to attend fetal medicine outpatient appointments and may be with you during birth. Where there are exceptional circumstances, these will need to be discussed in advance and agreed by the clinical team.
How to get your test
You and your partner will be required to have a lateral flow device (LFD) test 24 – 48 hours before you both attend your antenatal scan or appointment. (If you have a positive result, you must isolate and must not attend the hospital during the next 10 days. See below for further information.) This is a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.
Where you book your test will depend on where you live.
- Get your LFD test (if you live in Birmingham)
- Book your LFD test (if you live in Solihull)
- Book your LFD test (if you live in Staffordshire)
- Book your test at a community pharmacy (Birmingham)
You can obtain your own lateral flow tests or order them from the Government website but please make sure you log your results online via the Government site. Your results will be sent to you via email or text, so please show this on entrance to the maternity unit. You do not need to bring the test device with you; the email or text will suffice.
Your partner may not be allowed in the building until the time of your scan or appointment, even if their test is negative, so that we can maintain social distancing in our waiting rooms.
What does it mean if I have a negative result?
A negative result means, that at the time the swab was taken, no COVID-19 could be detected. However, it does not tell you if you have already had the infection.
You must still take precautions, such as maintaining social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask to help prevent infection.
My support partner and I tested negative
If your support partner and you both receive a negative test result then they can accompany you at your appointment. This is subject to the normal restrictions that they must not be self-isolating following coming in to contact with a confirmed case or displaying any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
What does it mean for my appointment if I have a positive result?
If you have a positive result we may need to rebook your 20-week scan, but this will be looked at on a case by case basis.
I tested positive but my support partner tested negative. What does this mean?
If your support partner has been in contact with you within the last 48 hours then they will be legally required to self-isolate for 10 days.
Your 20-week scan may need to be re-booked for after the 10-day period as you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days following a positive test, but this will be looked at on an individual basis.
My support partner tested positive
If your support partner tests positive, they will not be able to accompany you at this time and must self-isolate at home, in line with national guidance.
My support partner doesn’t want to be tested
If your support partner declines the test then they will not be able to accompany you.
What if I have tested positive in the last 90 days?
If you are able to show evidence of a positive test result in the last 90 days (not including the last 10 days, in which case you would be required to self-isolate), and you have no symptoms, then you will not need to be tested. This is because if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days and are not in a current isolation period, you have developed antibodies to the virus and your next test result could continue to appear as positive, even though you are no longer symptomatic or contagious.
What does a positive test result mean?
It is unclear what the significance of a positive screening result is in the absence of any symptoms. It may mean that:
- you have had a mild infection in the last 28 days
- you could have a current infection without symptoms that you have noticed or
- you could be incubating COVID-19 and may develop symptoms in a few days
Unfortunately there is nothing that we can do to identify which of the above reasons apply, which is why we have to treat anyone with a positive result as potentially infectious.
Following a positive test result you will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days and the Public Health England stay-at-home guidance should be followed for you and anyone you live with.
What effect does coronavirus have on pregnant women and babies?
You can find more information on pregnancy and coronavirus on the NHS website.