Our maternity services during Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Maternity Services during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We would like to take this opportunity to update you about your maternity care whilst we deal with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global outbreak. We want to reassure you that our dedicated teams will continue to strive to provide outstanding care and prioritise your safety and that of your baby at this unprecedented time.

It is expected the majority of pregnant women who are exposed to COVID-19 will experience only mild to moderate cold/flu like symptoms. There is no evidence that pregnant women who have contracted COVID-19 are more at risk of serious complications than any other healthy individuals.

We are taking extra care in how we are looking after all women who access our maternity services to ensure we maintain their safety and well-being. We have created separate areas on both the labour and inpatient wards and are following government guidance to care for those who have confirmed, or are suspected to have, COVID-19. This ensures that those women who are unaffected are also kept safe and well.   

For the most up to date pregnancy COVID-19 advice and information we recommend you visit the RCOG website on Covid-19 virus infection and pregnancy.

Help and advice regarding Covid-19

If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19 you should use the NHS 111 online service for information. Please only call 111 if you are not able to access the advice on-line as there are very long wait times.

  • Stay at home and do not come to the hospital if you have a high temperature or new persistent cough, and follow guidance available at: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
  • If you do not start to feel better within 7-14 days this may be a sign that you are developing a more significant illness that requires enhanced care. You should use the NHS 111 online service for advice.
  • If you develop more severe symptoms of COVID-19 such as for example; difficulties in breathing you should phone 999.
  • If you are concerned about your pregnancy or new born baby, you should contact our dedicated 24 hour Maternity Helpline which is available 7 days a week on: 01708 503742

Protecting yourself and others from COVID-19

As a precaution, you should follow government advice about pregnancy and social distancing; stay away from public places and avoid anyone who has symptoms suggestive of COVID19. Please refer to the current guidance on social isolation both for yourself and your household. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Please follow the Government advice:

  • Stay at home as much as possible. Only go outside for essential food items or health reasons.
  • Work from home if practical to do so.
  • If you do need to go out stay two metres away from other people.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth and eyes with your hands.
  • On returning home wash your hands as soon as you get home.
  • If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant you should be particularly attentive to social distancing and minimising any contact with others.
  • Pregnant women with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired) are strongly recommended that you follow shielding measures to keep yourself safe. Shielding means you are advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks.

If you work in an essential service as a Key Worker as deemed by Government guidance and you are less than 28 weeks pregnant, please seek advice from your employer and access for up to date advice


Maternity Care

It is important for your maternity care and safety that you let us know if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Please let your community midwife know, on the telephone number within your handheld notes, so she/he can make alterative arrangements to ensure that you receive the care that is required.

  • Please do not attend if you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (fever/high temperature, persistent cough, shortness of breath)
  • Please do not attend an appointment if you or anyone in your household is self-isolating for suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Please do not allow any other member of your household to accompany you to hospital at any time including if you are labour, if they are showing symptoms or are meant to be self-isolating.
  • Please do not bring any children with you to the hospital or to any of your appointments. They will not be allowed to accompany you and you will be asked to reschedule. Children can be carriers of COVID-19 and can easily spread it whilst not displaying any symptoms themselves.
  • Please ensure that your community midwife and the hospital have your correct telephone number.
  • If you are concerned at any time about your pregnancy or new born baby, you should contact our dedicated 24 hour Maternity Helpline which is available 7 days a week on: 01708 503742

Please keep us informed so we can keep you and your baby safe

Outpatient/Hospital Appointments:

Whilst we attempt to limit the spread of COVID19 we ask that you please:

  • Attend your Maternity appointments alone. This unfortunately includes your scan appointments.
  • We may contact you via telephone prior to any planned appointments, visits and attendances to ask screening questions to ensure you are well enough (asymptomatic) to attend. If you are contacted you must accurately and honestly answer the questions asked regarding COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolation or family members within the household who are self-isolating. This allows us to make a plan of care for you that will keep you and your baby safe.  It also helps us keep our staff safe so that they can continue to remain well to care for you and others.
  • Some hospital appointments will now be conducted over the telephone rather than face-to-face. We will inform you if this applies to you and your appointments.
  • All parent education classes and tours of labour ward have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. We are looking into ways of delivering these classes virtually – please follow our BHRUT social Media feeds for more information over the coming weeks.

Antenatal Care in Community

Your antenatal care pathway has also been adjusted to include telephone consultations when appropriate. This facilitates social distancing whilst ensuring that you and your unborn baby remain well. Your midwife will contact you to discuss your adjusted antenatal care pathway. Please inform your midwife if you or a family member in your household is displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

If you are concerned at any time about your pregnancy or new born baby you should contact either your Community midwife or our dedicated 24 hour Maternity Helpline which is available seven days a week on: 01708 503 742.

Labour / Triage Assessment

If you think your labour has started, or you need to attend the hospital due to an urgent pregnancy concern, please contact the dedicated 24 hour Maternity Helpline on 01708 503 742. A midwife will take a history and advise you when and where to come in. Please do not attend without calling first. This is particularly important if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or people in your household with symptoms of COVID-19.

Please note that during this COVID-19 outbreak some of the available options to you may unfortunately be limited or suspended such as Water Birth and/or non-emergency Epidural service. We will try our best to support your birth choices when possible.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The maternity team will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) due to COVID-19 when they provide patient care to you and/or your baby, this will include face masks. This is for their own and your protection, however this can make communication more difficult please bear with us.

If you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 you will be cared for in an isolation room (or bay) with the maternity team wearing PPE which will include a gown, gloves, face mask and eye protection. In an emergency this may cause a delay in staff responding as they must be wearing PPE before assisting for their own protection. Staff has been practising putting on PPE at speed to minimise and reduce the potential impact of these delays on you and your baby.

Visiting Policy

Unfortunately, all visiting is currently being restricted due to COVID-19 and the need to prevent the spread of the virus.

  • Only one named person will be allowed to accompany you whilst you are in labour and for the birth.
  • Please ensure that you have considered having a back-up birthing partner should your partner be self-isolating or symptomatic of COVID19 and therefore unable to accompany you.
  • We are aiming to discharge suitable women straight home from the labour ward.
  • If your partner has any fever/high temperature, persistent cough, shortness of breath they must  not accompany you (that means not entering the hospital building).
  • All other visitors must wait to see you and your baby until you have been discharged home.
  • No children will be allowed within the Maternity Services departments.
  • Please speak to a Midwifery Matron for exceptions in extreme cases only.

From Monday 21 September the following visitor arrangements will apply:

  • One visitor (the birthing partner) will be able to visit our antenatal, postnatal and Coral wards, for a two-hour slot between 1pm and 5.30pm. The ward will arrange your visiting time with you.
  • If you have had an elective caesarean your birthing partner can stay with you while you are in our High Dependency Unit or Recovery area.
  • Visiting hours have been extended on our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). One parent at a time can attend between 10am and 10pm.

If you have any questions about your pregnancy or our visiting policy please speak to your midwife.

Postnatal Care in the Community

Your postnatal care pathway will be adjusted to include telephone consultations and to minimise the face to face appointments during the COVID-19 outbreak. Once you are discharged home from hospital a midwife will contact you the following day by phone to assess you and your baby’s wellbeing.  The midwife will discuss your ongoing postnatal care pathway and provide you with contact numbers should you at any time be concerned regarding yourself or your baby. Please inform your midwife if you or a family member is displaying symptoms of COVID19.

For the most up to date advice; find us on social media

Trust Coronavirus Website- https://www.bhrhospitals.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Trust Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/bhrhospitals

Trust Twitter page- https://twitter.com/BHR_hospitals

Maternity Twitter - https://twitter.com/TeamMidwife

Our maternity services remain committed to providing you with outstanding care and have dedicated staff working round the clock and hard to ensure you have a safe and positive pregnancy and birth. Maternity staff cannot work from home as we need to care for you and your baby throughout the antenatal, labour and postnatal period; however they themselves will need to respond to personal or family challenges in dealing with COVID19, which may mean we are working with a lot less staff than usual. Our first priority is providing the best service we can for you and we ask that you understand the challenging situation that we are working in and support us in our efforts to care for you as safely and efficiently as we can during this time. Thank you.

Sue Lovell
Director of Midwifery

Coronavirus COVID-19: helpful maternity guidance videos

Using QR codes to find maternity information

Pregnancy and Coronavirus

RCOG Vice President Dr Jo Mountfield talking about coronavirus and pregnancy from RCOG on Vimeo.

RCOG Vice President Dr Jo Mountfield talking about attending routine antenatal appointments during coronavirus from RCOG on Vimeo.

Mental health resources during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Support services for women

Postpartum psychosis

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) will continue their national peer support services throughout the outbreak. The APP forum is available for people affected by PP to talk to other women and partners.

They offer one to one peer support for anyone in the UK, where people are paired with an APP coordinator with lived experience, or a volunteer peer supporter. They offer one to one peer support via email, private messaging on the forum, or via video call. Their regional postpartum psychosis cafe groups will also continue via video call. People personally affected by PP (woman, partner, family members) who would like to access this support should email app@app-network.org.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar UK provides coronavirus advice for pregnant women with bipolar disorder and also offers peer support on its e-community.

Perinatal OCD

Maternal OCD provides guidance and resources for coping with COVID-19 for people with perinatal OCD

Eating disorders

Beat Eating Disorders provides resources for people with eating disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Depression and other perinatal mental illnesses

The PANDAS Foundation provides support and advice for any parent and their networks who need support with perinatal mental illness.

Perinatal anxiety

Anxiety UK offers support, advice and information on a range of anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression condition via email, text and live chat services.

Useful links



Anxiety self help guide


Head space


Maternal Mental Health Alliance


Community Infant Feeding support during Coronavirus COVID-19

All drop in clinics and cafes have been cancelled.

London Borough of Redbridge

For infant feeding support please contact telephone Redbridge 0-19 Children's Service on 0300 300 1579. The service operates Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm. Voicemail covers out of hours and weekends. We aim to get back to everyone within 24 hours at most (excluding weekends).

You will be presented with the following options.

  • Option 1: Loxford, Cranbrook, Valentines, Clementswood, Mayfield
  • Option 2: Seven Kings, Newbury, Goodmayes, and Chadwell Health
  • Option 3: Fairlop, Hainault, Fulwell, Clayhall, Barkingside
  • Option 4: Wanstead, Woodford Green, Monkhams, Woodford Bridge, Churchfields, South Woodford, Snaresbrook and Aldersbrook
  • Option 5 - for any other enquiries (Admin Hub)

If forwarded to voicemail, please leave the following:

  • Your name
  • Contact telephone number
  • baby’s date of birth

Barking and Dagenham

Please call the duty numbers below for Infant Feeding Support.

West Locality

East Locality

North Locality

For more specialist infant feeding support please contact Health Improvement Practitioner Sahera Bharucha (Sahera.bharucha@nelft.nhs.uk).

London Borough of Havering

Havering Children’s Centres Infant Feeding Advisors

  • Telephone: Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm: 01708 432 309 (Becky) or 01708 434 747 (Michelle).
  • Email childrenscentres@havering.gov.uk with questions or to request a call back.

LatchOn Havering

Provides breastfeeding support:

La Leche League

Provides support via:

  • Online meetings: telephone 0345 120 2918
  • Email: local Leaders via helpform
  • Website: www.laleche.org.uk

For further support, contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212, who provides help and support every day of the year from 9.30am to 9.30pm.

For a Specialist Infant Feeding phone consultation from our team, email bhrut.infantfeeding@nhs.net. Include your name and phone number and we will call you back. Call back service available from Monday to Friday, 9am -3pm.