Covid-19 Advice

We are here to support you

We are doing everything we can to support your choices during this difficult time. The ongoing situation, along with changing government guidelines means we need to constantly adapt so that we can keep our patients and staff safe. As things begin to improve, we will continue to make necessary changes to protect you and our staff.
 
We have set up a COVID-19 maternity hotline number which is available for you call from 9am until 6pm Monday to Friday for any queries you may have. Please call us on 07831 122 271. In addition to this, we hope that you find answers to any questions you may have with our FAQs below but if not please contact your midwife or call the maternity hotline number.
 
You can read our maternity outpatients pathways document here and read the latest COVID-19 news updates for children's and maternity services here.
 
We have updated our visitor policy for women who are in labour, our frequently asked questions section has more information about this.

Important: We require anyone entering the hospital to wear a face mask so please ensure you bring one with you.
 

How have maternity services changed?

When should I come to the hospital?

Pregnant women have been put on the vulnerable list as a precaution during COVID-19. Social distancing has therefore been recommended for this group. As a result of this, we need to limit the number of times you need to travel to see us but please be assure that we will still give you the best possible care.
 
Please note that you can still self-refer online from 6 weeks of pregnancy.
 
If you have an appointment with a doctor at the hospital, they will contact you over the phone and give you advice to decide whether you need to come in.
 

If you feel unwell or your baby’s movement is reduced, please attend the maternity assessment unit to be seen. Please do not stay at home as you may need to have urgent care

What will happen when I need to come in to the hospital?

All health workers are now wearing gloves, aprons and masks when caring for you. This is so we can keep you and NHS staff safe. We also require anyone who is entering the hospital to wear a face mask so please ensure you bring one with you.

For antenatal appointments please come on your own, unless it is absolutely necessary to bring someone who is essential to your care such as a signer or interpreter. Please use our labour ward entrance only when attending for appointments, we have a map of our site available to view here.

We ask that you tell us if you develop COVID-19 symptoms before your appointment. If you do have symptoms, please don't worry as this won’t affect the quality of the care you receive, but it will ensure that those looking after you, and people around you, can be protected.
 
If you are being admitted to the maternity unit within the next few days, you will be offered a test for COVID-19. You can find out about what happens during the test by clicking here.

 

Are antenatal and breastfeeding education workshops still available?

Following current government advice, all face-to-face group antenatal education workshops at Whittington Health are  unfortunately paused until further notice. However you can access information and support via these apps and websites:

As a Trust, we are looking at ways in which we can offer online classes with you, please discuss with your midwife as to when these classes may be available.

How will Covid-19 affect my appointments?

 Booking by a midwife will be on the phone with your consent.
If we feel that a face-to-face booking is necessary we will arrange this for you.

Your dating scan at 11 plus weeks and bloods appointment will be face to face in one session.
At the moment, we are unable to allow partners into your appointment room, this is so that we can maintain social distancing. Your partner is welcome to use our waiting area nearby to see you after your appointment.

At 16 weeks you will be contacted to see how you are and your blood tests results reviewed.

At 20 weeks you will have your anomaly scan, and we ask you to attend alone. We are revisiting our policy to allow visitors to this scan, so please check with your midwife before you come in.

From 28 weeks you will have an appointment every 3 weeks as normal. They will be face-to-face with a midwife. Some community hubs (Children’s Centres) are re-opening and your midwife will inform you where to attend. We ask that mothers attend these appointments alone.
 
At 36 weeks you will discuss your birth preferences and options with your midwife.

Can my partner attend antenatal appointments?

At the moment, we ask that you attend any outpatient appointments, including antenatal visits, scans and blood tests on your own so that we can maintain social distancing whilst in the room itself.

Your partner or supporter is welcome use our waiting area to see you after your appointment. Please ensure you are wearing a face mask to your appointment as well as if you are using the waiting area.  An interpreter will be arranged if you need one, so please let us know before your appointment.

How will the birth of my baby/babies be affected?

Can I bring a birth partner?

You are welcome to bring one partner without swapping at any time, if you are in the hospital for care and treatment.
Please note that your chosen partner or supporter will be asked to leave if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. In this instance, please plan to have another partner or supporter available should your chosen partner be ill.

Your partner can stay overnight on the postnatal ward but this arrangement will be kept under review and may be subject to change according to how the safety measures around COVID-19 develop.
 
Your partner will be required to wear a face mask at all times when they are with you.
 
If you are in labour, only one person is permitted to accompany you throughout.  We are unable to allow a doula or an independent midwife to be with you as a second accompanying person. This is so that we can maintain social distancing according to recommended guidelines.
 
We are very pleased to be able to welcome a partner to be with you throughout labour and postnatally and we are the only Trust in the North Central London sector that offer this.

Can my partner or supporter attend my induction?

Yes, they can. This arrangement will be kept under review and may be subject to change as the health and safety guidelines around COVID-19 change or develop.

Can I have a home birth?

After a period of stopping homebirths, we are pleased to confirm that our homebirth service is back. Please speak to your midwife about your choices.

Can I still use water during labour or water birth?

Yes, you can use water for labour and birth.

Will my planned caesarean still be able to go ahead?

 We will carry out all planned caesareans, both for medical need and maternal request. We might have to change the planned date and /or venue of your caesarean, if it is safe to do so. We will always let you know if this is the case.

Keeping safe and looking after you and your baby

What should I do if my baby's movements are slowing down?

You will probably start to notice your baby (or babies) moving from 16-20 weeks of pregnancy. 
If you notice any changes or are worried about your baby’s movements, please do not delay contacting the Maternity Assessment Unit on 020 7288 5880.

If I have tested positive for COVID-19 or I have symptoms, can I still give birth at the Maternity Unit?

Yes, absolutely. We advise you to contact us and come to the maternity unit for the birth.
 As a precautionary approach we recommend monitoring your baby's heart rate using continuous electronic foetal monitoring.

Who should I contact if I am feeling worried or depressed during my pregnancy or after the birth?

Please do talk to your midwife or health visitor.  There is still lots of support for you, please click here to view our free support summary. 

How can I look after my mental wellbeing during the crisis?

It is important to look after your mental health at any time during your pregnancy and especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

 
Try to stay connected with family and friends, which could include using video calls and messaging services to share photos and keep a daily routine. Keep active, eat well, make a to-do list. Ensure you take a lunch break, and be kind to yourself, make sure you rest if you need to.
 
Finally, please speak to your midwife – we are here for you.

Is it safe to breastfeed my baby during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Yes it is. Keeping you and baby together is still important and breastfeeding is strongly encouraged and there is currently no evidence that the virus passes into breast milk. You can find more information about breastfeeding and Coronavirus here.
 
When you are breastfeeding, you will make antibodies that will be passed on to your baby via your milk, usually within four hours, this antibody protection will not exist if your baby/babies are exclusively formula fed.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, try to wear a mask when feeding and ensure you wash your hands regularly.

After your baby is born

Can I register my baby's birth?

Please remember to register your baby’s birth, you will be given the relevant paperwork you need to register your baby when you are sent home from hospital. 
 
Islington Council are now able to register new births by pre-booked appointment only following a period of closing their offices. Please click here for more information. Please do note that your local Registry Office may have individual arrangements in place so it is important to check before you try to go in person.

Your baby does not need to be registered to receive medical care. You can also claim for child benefit or universal credit if the birth has not been registered as yet.

 

What happens after my baby's/babies' birth

We will phone you before we visit you the for first time after you have had your baby when you are at home. 
 
The day after you go home we will then visit you at home and then 5 days after your baby’s birth we will visit you at home again. This visit will include the heel prick test (blood spot check) for your baby.
 
Then 8 days after your baby’s birth we will check in with you by phone to see how you are and at around days 10-12 you will receive another phone call and a visit can be arranged if required.

Our Midwives will decide when to transfer your care to health visiting services, depending on you and your baby’s health. They may also refer you to other services for further help and support.

Health visiting and breastfeeding support services will contact you by phone and inform you on how to access their support after you have had your baby.


 

I have more questions and concerns, what can I do?

You can contact the COVID-19 maternity helpline from Monday-Friday 8am-6pm, 07831 122 271.
 
During weekends or after hours, please contact Maternity Assessment Unit on 0207 288 5880.

Working on it!