Any woman who has someone in her household who is unwell or has been self-isolating due to COVID-19 contact will be asked to come into hospital to give birth in our designated maternity isolation area.
We have been advised that we should care for women who are unwell or at risk of developing COVID-19 in hospital, and offer them additional care in labour:
- The current recommendation is that we ask you to have continuous fetal monitoring in labour so we can monitor your baby closely.
- We may ask to take blood tests whilst you are in labour.
- We will delay clamping the baby’s umbilical cord for a short time when he or she is born unless there are specific reasons why this is not advisable.
- We will have a member of our neonatal team present (on standby – won’t be in the room) at the birth in case your baby may need some additional help with his or her breathing when he or she is born.
- We will assess your baby at birth and he or she will remain with you unless you or the baby are unwell and need extra care in our high dependency or neonatal unit.
- We will make a specific plan with you for the care of yourself and your baby after birth. This will depend on your condition at the time, the type of birth you have and whether you and your baby need any further treatment.
We will also do these things if you are having a planned caesarean section.
At present there is no evidence that women who may have COVID-19 need to change the way they are intending to give birth. If you are seriously ill the team caring for you will make a plan for your birth with you and your birth partner.
We are strongly advising women to breastfeed their baby as this may offer the baby additional protection and other health benefits.
You will be given advice as required about ways to limit the chance of baby catching the virus after birth.