Covid-19 Advice

Important July 2021 update

In-line with the general Trust policy,  our COVID-19 health and safety measures for maternity users will not change after Monday 19 July 2021.

Birth companions will still need to wear a face covering (and if unable to tolerate a face covering should not attend, but can have someone else who can in their place).

Maternity users being admitted will need to have a COVID-19 PCR test.


Our birth companion policy has not changed. We still welcome one consistent birth companion throughout the labour and birth period (including on the antenatal and postnatal ward), providing they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and are able to wear a face covering. We can also welcome a second birth companion during labour and birth on the labour ward/birth centre. The same conditions for this birth partner apply.

To ensure we are still keeping our patients and staff safe during this time, all pregnant people and their chosen companions are advised to consider taking rapid lateral flow tests.* These can be used 24 hours before a planned appointment or routinely twice a week.
 
If you would prefer to take a lateral flow test on arrival at the hospital you should plan to arrive one hour early to allow time for this. Please read our FAQs below to find out how to get a free test kit and the simple process for recording your result.
 
Please note that taking a rapid lateral flow test is not compulsory. If you choose not to perform the test you and your companion can still attend your appointment as normal.

Are you pregnant or breastfeeding and considering whether to have the COVID-19 vaccination?

 The Covid-19  vaccine is being offered to pregnant women at the same time as the rest of the general population. There is currently no evidence to suggest there is harm to you or your baby from the COVID-19 vaccination.
 
You can find out more about having the vaccine whilst pregnant from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists and watch their short videos explaining more about the safety of the vaccine during pregnancy. We have also produced a short downloadable guide on this topic.
 
Protecting yourself from COVID during pregnancy is important as the infection can be harmful to you and your baby so please do read the resources and ask your midwife if you have any questions.
 
 

Drop-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic every Monday in August and September at Hornsey Central Health Centre

From Monday 2 August 2021 we are offering a COVID-19 drop-in vaccination clinic for anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding at Hornsey Central Health Centre. This specialist clinic will be open every Monday in August from 9am until 6pm.
 
The clinic will be run by a midwife who will be available to speak to you on a 1-1 basis to answer your questions about the vaccine and any concerns you may have. After your discussion you can  decide if you would like to have your first or second vaccine.

We are still here to support you

During this time our services may be subject to change due to the impact of COVID-19. Please check Frequently Asked Questions below.

For anyone needing extra support or advice, please click here to view a selection of free services that are available.
  
We are also offering all maternity users to make use our convenient Attend Anywhere appointment system which takes place via a video call (or it can be a regular voice call if preferred) with your midwife or doctor. Your midwife will advise you as to when this may be a suitable.

View how to make the most of your maternity Attend Anywhere appointment here. 
 

What is a rapid lateral flow test?

A rapid lateral flow (LFT) test is used to test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) when you have no symptoms. The reason why these tests are used is because some people show no symptoms of COVID-19 and could spread the virus without knowing.
 
They are called 'rapid' as you can get the results within 30 minutes and you do them yourself at home.

Where can I order a free LFT test kit?

You can order free lateral flow tests online - please note, we do not supply the tests ourselves and we cannot give out tests at your appointment.
 
Once you have done a test you will also need to record your result online.

What do I need to do before my appointment?

If you have a box of tests at home, please do a lateral flow test 24 hours before your appointment. Or you can choose to test yourself two days per week and record  the results online.
 
Your companion can choose to carry out a test 24 hours before or twice a week in the same way.
 
  • If your result is negative, please record the result online and in addition, please take a picture of the negative test so we can check your result when you come for your appointment. Please ensure your companion does the same.
  • If your test is positive please see the last FAQ in this section for specific advice.
  • If you do not have a test kit yet, please attend your appointment as normal. You will be offered a test here instead.
 
Important: When you arrive for your appointment, you and your companion still need to wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain social distancing with others. Our one-way systems are still operating so please check the signage in the hospital for guidance.

What if I can't do a home test?

If you can't order a test kit on time or are unable to order one, please attend your appointment as normal. You can still bring a companion to this appointment. If they have not been able to take a test, they will also be offered a test upon arrival.
 
Important: If you need to take a test at the hospital, please allow one hour of extra time before your appointment. This is so that we can take you to the designated testing zone and for you to be able to wait for the results.
 
If you are unable to arrive one hour beforehand, you can still go ahead with your appointment as planned.

What if I test positive or I have symptoms?

  • If your lateral flow test result is positive, please contact your midwife, midwifery team or the Maternity Assessment Unit.
  • If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, please follow the same advice above.
 
Following a positive lateral flow test or if you have symptoms, you will be required to take a PCR Test. We will advise you on what to do if this applies to you when you call us.
 
You can still attend your appointment if you are symptomatic or if you have Coronavirus, but it is important to let us know in advance. Please remember to not delay in getting in touch with us if you are worried about your baby's health or your own health.
 
If any of the above applies to your companion, if you can, please choose a different person to be with you as soon as possible. If you do not have another companion, please contact your midwife to discuss your options.
 

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 except for VBAC workshops. 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 or via a video call with your consent.
We are now able to offer the booking appointment via Attend Anywhere video consultation. Details about this will be sent with your Welcome Pack which includes booking information, this will be sent to you by email.
 
Before your video call, please read this information about how the virtual appointment works. It is worth noting that you will need access to wifi or have plenty of data to use the video appointment successfully.
 
If we feel that a face-to-face booking is necessary we will arrange this for you and you will be offered this shortly after you booking appointment to take the screening bloods.
 
Attending Obstetric Scans

Update 12 April 2021:
We are pleased to be able to allow a partner or supporter to all pregnancy scans. Please refer to any pre-appointment advice that has been sent to you for more detailed information.

 We ask that our staff  are respected and politely request that you follow their guidance as everyone’s safety is paramount. Policy decisions on partners in scan rooms are taken to reduce the risk of virus transmission in order to safeguard the team so that service levels can be maintained. If you are unhappy about any aspects of our policy we can arrange for a senior manager to discuss this with you.
 
 
  • Your dating scan at 11 plus weeks and bloods appointment
    This will be face to face with the scan and bloods appointment in one session. You are welcome to bring a partner or supporter to this appointment if you wish.
  • At 16 weeks you will have a face-to-face appointment to see how you are and your blood tests results will be reviewed. You are welcome to bring a partner or supporter to this scan.
  • At 20 weeks you are once again welcome to bring a partner or supporter to this scan.

  • From 28 weeks you will have an antenatal appointment every 3 weeks as normal. They will be face-to-face with a midwife and/or consultant. Some community hubs (Children’s Centres) are re-opening and your midwife will inform you where to attend.
  • You may have  additional Ultrasound growth scans after 28 weeks, following a clinician or midwife referral.
  • At 36 weeks you will discuss your birth preferences and options with your midwife.

Can my partner attend antenatal appointments?

Please see the FAQ above 'How will Covid-19 affect my appointments' for detailed information about how appointments are affected.
 
Where specified,  we ask that you attend any outpatient appointments, including antenatal visits 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 nearby waiting area to see you after your appointment. Please ensure you are wearing a face mask to your appointment 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?

From Monday 29 March 2021, we are pleased to be able to offer a second birth partner to accompany you if you wish . Please note that your second birth partner can be with you during labour only. Upon arrival at the hospital your second birth partner will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms (as with everyone else visiting the hospital) and be asked to sign a Birth Partners Agreement form.
 
Our previous policy to bring one birth partner remains the same:
 
You may bring one consistent birth partner with you if you are having your baby in the Labour Ward or Birth Centre. This policy will be regularly reviewed alongside government guidelines.
 
If you are moved to theatre, one partner can go with you.
 
On the postnatal ward, one partner can stay with you, but this arrangement will be kept under review and may be subject to change according to how the safety measures around COVID-19 develop.
 
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. 
 
We are very pleased to still be able to welcome one birth partner to be with you throughout labour. Postnatally, we are the only Trust in the North Central London sector that is able to offer one person to stay with you throughout.

 
Useful forms for partners or supporters:

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.

Where can I have my baby?

You can have your baby in our Birth Centre, Labour Ward at home or by planned caesarean.
 
During this time, please note that we may need to adjust our services so that we can continue to provide safe care for you and your baby. Unfortunately on some occasions this may mean we need to restrict the use of some of our facilities. If this does happen, we will always do our best to support your birth choices by offering alternative arrangements.
 
If there are any changes to our facilities or services, your midwife will be in touch or we will talk to you about your options when you arrive at the hospital. 
 
Thank you for your understanding.
 

Can I still use water during labour or water birth?

Please speak to your midwife about this option.

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.

Home Births

Update 19 August 2021: Unfortunately we have had to temporarily suspend our Home Birth Service until further notice. If you were due to have a home birth, your midwife will be in touch to talk to you about your options.

 

Keeping safe and looking after you and your baby

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

If you notice any changes please contact the Maternity Assessment Unit immediately on 020 7288 5880.

What happens to my care if I have tested positive for COVID-19 or I have symptoms?

We will continue to care for you as normal and have processes in place to keep you safe.  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. Your local Registry Office may have individual arrangements in place so it is important to check before you try to go in person.
 
Information about registering the birth of your baby from the main boroughs we serve can be found below:


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. Please note that this service is available until 29 March 2021.
 
During weekends or after hours, please contact the Maternity Assessment Unit on 0207 288 5880.

Working on it!