Coronavirus: What to expect when you are expecting
SPECIFIC advice has been issued for pregnant women in light of the evolving coronavirus situation.
All group sessions at the Maternity Services have been cancelled.
No children or partners should accompany pregnant women to antenatal appointments - including the scan.
Only one birth partner is permitted per labouring woman and only one named postnatal visitor per service user is allowed on the ward.
Pregnant women must inform their midwife if they are expecting a home visit and anyone in the home has flu-like symptoms, has been diagnosed with Covid-19 or is awaiting the result of a Covid-19 test.
There is no current evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more likely to contract the infection or to become severely unwell than the general population.
As well, there is currently no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to the virus.
Expert opinion is that the foetus is unlikely to be exposed during pregnancy and therefore it is considered unlikely that if you have the virus it would cause abnormalities in the baby.
Social distancing is strongly advised to pregnant women, along with the usual health protection precautions they would usually take during pregnancy.
Women above 28 weeks gestation should be particularly attentive to social distancing and minimising contact with others.
Public Health Services have advised women over 28 weeks gestation significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family and - if possible - remain at home until they have given birth, except to attend medical appointments.
The same advice is issued for pregnant women with underlying health condition such as heart disease.
Maternity Services will inform pregnant women if there are any changes in the provision of antenatal care and routine appointments. The midwife may offer some appointments using electronic methods of communication.
All pregnant women who are well are urged to attend their care as normal because attending antenatal and postnatal care when pregnant or with a new baby is essential to ensuring the wellbeing of the mother and babies.
However, unwell pregnant women or those in self-isolation should not attend routine appointments, but should call their midwife to rearrange.
If there is an urgent need for maternity assistance, do not wait until the symptoms have gone. Instead, call ahead and inform the team of any symptoms, relevant travel history, whether a Covid-19 test has been carried out and the result if you have it.
If you go into labour during the self-isolation period, call the maternity unit for advice and inform that of the suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection.
Those with mild symptoms will be encouraged to remain at home (self-isolating) in early labour, as per standard practice.
When you and the maternity team decide it is time to attend the maternity ward, you will be advised to attend hospital via private transport or call 999 for advice.
Do not use a taxi or public transport.
For pregnant healthcare workers under 28 weeks' gestation and no underlying health conditions, follow the guidance on social distancing; you are encouraged to continue work as normal.
However, if you are a healthcare worker in the third trimester of pregnancy or have underlying health conditions, you are advised to take a more precautionary approach.
For further support on this matter contact your line manager and the occupational health team.
After birth, wherever possible the mother and baby should not be separated more than usual, even if the mother tests positive for coronavirus.
Those with straightforward pregnancies and births will be encouraged to leave the hospital as soon as it is safe for the mother and baby and postnatal support will be provided outside the hospital setting.
Current evidence supports breastfeeding, even if the mother has a Covid-19 infection as any potential risks are outweighed by the benefits.
An individual assessment will be undertaken on each mother who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 to provide the correct support for that family.