Updated Guidance for Maternity Visitng - 9th April 2021
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with national recommendations, the maternity service at Northampton General Hospital stopped all non-essential visiting in March 2020. The maternity department continued to provide visiting for one partner for women in established labour. These arrangements were put in place to help prevent the spread of infection and to protect our patients, visitors and staff.
We appreciate that this has been a very difficult time for pregnant women and their partners and we have been undertaking an ongoing risk assessments of these arrangements across our maternity services.
During the past few months, we have worked to lift restrictions as and when it has been safe to do so. We are pleased that following further risk assessments and changes to our estates facilities we can now lift some of the restrictions further. As with our other restrictions, this will be done gradually and could change at any time.
Your partner will be screened each time they enter Labour ward, the Birth Centre or the postnatal wards at Northampton General Hospital. We are also now allowing one support person to attend key maternity appointments, subject to testing, you can find out more about support person visting and also check our frequently asked questions on COVID-19 testing.
If at any time your partner presents with a positive result to COVID-19, they must return home and will be advised to self-isolate in line with national guidance.
Getting in Contact
If you are newly pregnant and need to see a midwife or are pregnant and have recently moved into Northamptonshire, please call 01604 545430 between Monday and Friday, lines are open between 8.30am - 4.00pm. You can also let us know about your pregnancy through e-mail: email@example.com.
Our Antenatal Newborn Screening Department can advise you of the screening tests we can offer you and your baby.
For general enquiries about appointments, please dial 01604 523274 between Monday and Friday, lines are open between 8:00am - 4:00pm.
You are advised to use our triage maternity helpline if you are unable to contact your named midwife and the call is urgent - 07887 566489. If you cannot get through please call 01604 545058 and speak to a midwife on labour ward.
If you have a disability that affects your ability to communicate, please let us know. We are able to provide support such as a British Sign Language Interpreter and provide information in an alternative format if this is required.
You have a right to an interpreter at all of your appointments and during your care in hospital. Staff can access our interpreting service, which is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. If you do not speak English and need to have an interpreter for your appointment, please let your midwife or doctor know.
It may be considered necessary to use an independant, professional interpreter during your appointment. We do not wish to cause any offense to partners or family members who are kindly offering to translate at appointments.
Maternity and COVID-19
Your baby's movements are as important as ever. Even when isolating it's vital you report reduced movements immediately. If you notice a change in your baby's regular movement call your midwife or the maternity unit immediately. A change in your baby's movements can be an important warning sign that your baby is unwell.
We know that some of our expectant mums have questions about coronavirus (COVID-19). Up-to-date information can be found on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) website.
Guidance is also available which covers key information about our maternity services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have also produced information for Black and Minority Ethnic women about the support available to you during COVID.
When visiting the hospital, please follow floor markings, maintain 2 metre social distancing at all times and use the hand gel provided at all entrances and exits to maternity services. If your partner experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive with the virus, they must stay at home and not visit the hospital. Please let us know if that is the case.
Please bring sufficient food, drink and other essential items to reduce the number of occasions you need to leave the ward or birthing rooms.
From Monday 12th April pregnant patients will be allowed to bring one support person with them as long as they agree to have a test for COVID-19.
Testing will be required to allow support people to attend:
- the 12 and 20 week scan appointment
- fetal medicine clinic appointments
Patients and their support person will need to have completed a lateral flow test at home, as part of a regular testing programme, or access the onsite testing facility and have had a negative result. The test is a simple 30 minute swab test of the nose and throat.
Please ensure you have fully read our frequently asked questions on the before attending an appointment in maternity.
From Monday 5 October 2020, when a woman attends the Antenatal Clinic, their partners may accompany them to some parts of the appointment. The woman will need to attend the unit on their own while their partner waits in the car or outside of the hospital grounds. Once the woman has been taken into a side room for their appointment they can then phone their partner who can then come into the appointment.
Face coverings must be worn at all times and partners must please adhere to these rules. Partners are not permitted to wait inside of the building or outside of the Maternity Day Unit.
When presenting in labour the woman and her birth partner will both be offered COVID-19 swabbing. We ask that the woman and birth partner be from the same household or social bubble unless there as exceptional circumstances. Partners need to wear a face covering at all times.
Women attending antenatal appointments at the Northampton Saints Hub will not be able to be accompanied by a partner. At the Saints hub we have an average footfall of 150 women per day and the space is not adequate to accommodate safe social distancing when additional people are present.
Allowing visitors to this area would potentially double the footfall, impacting on social distancing guidance and heighten the risk to patients, visitors and staff. Face coverings must be worn at all times by patients.
Women attending for induction of labour (IOL), and their chosen birth partner, will be offered COVID-19 swabbing on arrival at the Maternity unit. This testing is to allow post-natal visiting.
Women who are booked for an elective caesarean section (ELLSCS) will be offered COVID-19 swabbing at their pre-op assessment. During this appointment COVID-19 swabbing is also offered to the birth partner which will allow post-natal visiting.
The above guidance may change at any time depending on our local COVID-19 situation and hospital response.
Choices in Maternity Care including place of birth
It’s never too early to start considering the choices available to you as part of your maternity care. At no point do you have to make definite plans, and you can change your mind at any stage in your pregnancy. What we do know is that women who are given information about the choices available and are involved in their care are more likely to feel in control and have a more positive experience of birth.
- Choices in Maternity Care including Place of Birth (English, PDF, 423Kb)
- Choices in Maternity Care including Place of Birth (Lithuanian, PDF, 174Kb)
- Choices in Maternity Care including Place of Birth (Polish, PDF, 167Kb)
- Choices in Maternity Care including Place of Birth (Romanian, PDF, 169Kb)
- Choices in Maternity Care including Place of Birth (Russian, PDF, 216Kb)
- Choices in Maternity Care including Place of Birth (Bengali, PDF, 183Kb)
You also have the choice to request a caesarean section. You can read some information about having a caesarean section, but you should also speak to your midwife about why you would like a caesarean section. You may also want to talk to other members of your healthcare team, such as your obstetrician or an anaesthetist.
Along with the advice you are provided by your midwife/doctor and the information on our website, there are other sources of trusted information for women and families in a range of different languages to support women during their pregnancy.