Coronavirus update for maternity patients

Our hospitals are making changes to help respond to coronavirus and protect our patients, staff and visitors. Key changes for maternity services are as follows:

Home births suspended until further notice

As we respond to the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our home birth service until further notice. This will help us to ensure we continue to provide the highest standards of clinical care for our mothers and families, and a safe working environment for our staff at this challenging time. If you were planning to have a home birth with us, our midwives will contact you to discuss your options. We thank you for understanding.

Giving birth in our hospitals

At present women on low risk pathways who are not suspected or confirmed to have coronavirus can still choose to have a water birth in our birth centres or on our labour wards.

We are currently still able to perform planned and emergency caesarean sections but would like to inform women who are booked with us that we may need to change the date of any planned procedure depending on staff availability. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this.

As the pandemic progresses we will continue to prioritise the safety of women and their babies. If there is a significant reduction in staff, it may not be possible to support planned caesarean sections which have no medical or obstetric indication. We may also need to review other planned caesarean sections which are not medically necessary.

We will keep this website updated with the latest guidance and thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

Appointments

  • We will contact you to discuss any changes to your upcoming appointment. If we make any changes to your upcoming appointment we will telephone you otherwise please attend as planned
  • We may offer you a phone or video consultation to replace your upcoming appointment, but we will discuss this with you first
  • Glucose tolerance test appointments will still be held in hospital – if you have a glucose tolerance test scheduled, please come to hospital for that appointment
  • Please do not bring anyone to your appointment — you must attend your appointment alone to help prevent the spread of infection

Scans

  • We are continuing to offer ultrasound scans at 12 weeks and 20 weeks at present – if you have a 12-week or 20-week scan scheduled, please come to hospital for your scan
  • We will no longer offer ultrasound scans at 28 weeks
  • We will continue to offer additional scans where clinically necessary
  • We may need to reschedule or postpone some scans depending on our clinical capacity. We will contact you to discuss any changes we may need to make to your scan appointments
  • Please do not bring anyone to your scan appointment — you must attend your appointment alone to help prevent the spread of infection

Birth partners and visitors 

  • You may have one named birthing partner with you for the duration of your labour and delivery
  • if you have a caesarean section with regional anaesthesia, you may have one named birthing partner present
  • birth partners will be asked to leave hospital when you are transferred to the postnatal ward, or about two hours after the birth of your baby
  • unfortunately, if your planned birthing partner has suspected or confirmed coronavirus, they will not be able to attend hospital with you
  • we thank you for understanding — this was a difficult decision, but it will play an important role in helping to prevent the spread of infection
  • if you have any questions when you arrive at our hospitals to give birth, please speak to your midwife

Antenatal classes and tours

  • All antenatal classes, tours and drop-in sessions are cancelled until further notice. This includes: 
    • all antenatal parent education classes for Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea and St Mary's hospitals, and children's centres
    • birth preparation classes in the birthing centres at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea and St Mary's hospitals
    • early pregnancy drop-in tours of the maternity units
    • baby massage classes
    • homebirth drop-in sessions
    • breastfeeding classes
    • physiotherapy classes
  • please see the Mum & Baby app for helpful information about pregnancy and our maternity services

Maternity helpline

  • Please contact the maternity helpline in the first instance with any questions about your care
  • The maternity helpline team will answer your questions, or transfer you to another team if required
  • The helpline is available at 020 3312 6135 Monday through Friday, 10.00 to 17.30 

Maternity advice email service

If you are booked to have your baby with us and are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus or any other pregnancy-related problem, you can request a video or telephone consultation via email. Our doctors and midwives are available Monday through Friday, 09.00 to 16.30, to support you via video or phone.

If you’d like to request a video or phone consultation, email the following information to imperial.maternityhelpline@nhs.net:

  • Your full name
  • Your NHS number or hospital MRN number
  • A brief description of your problem
  • Your telephone number (mobile phone if you have one).

Please keep your phone on and close to you. You will receive a text message with instructions on how to join the video consultation, or a phone call. We aim to respond to enquires within two hours during our hours of operation.

*Changes to our maternity ultrasound services

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we have made the difficult decision to reduce many of our outpatient services, to keep those who need urgent care as safe as possible. We will no longer be offering pregnant women ultrasound scans at 28 weeks. We understand this decision may cause anxiety for you and your family, but we want to reassure you that a scan at this stage in your pregnancy rarely identifies concerns about your baby or how your baby is growing. If you would like to speak to a healthcare professional, please call our maternity helpline: 020 3312 6135.

About

Our maternity ultrasound departments at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea and St Mary's hospitals perform all ultrasound scans for women that book their maternity care with the Trust. All women are offered a dating scan at around 12 weeks, with the option of Down's syndrome screening, and an anomaly scan between 18 weeks and 20 weeks and six days. Additional scans are performed at the request of your midwife or doctor for reasons that are specific to your individual pregnancy.

Last year our sonographers performed approximately 17,000 scans at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital and approximately 10,000 scans at St Mary's Hospital.



Conditions and treatments

Ultrasound scans use high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of your baby inside the womb. This is done by building up pictures from the return of sound waves as they bounce back from resistance they meet within your body.

Ultrasound waves are sent to and from the body using a handheld sensor (transducer), which is moved over the surface of your abdomen. The scans are painless and do not involve x-rays. The sonographer will explain the findings of your scan to you and there is a secondary monitor so that you and your partner can view your scan. You can also purchase an image of your baby to take home.

In addition to our regular maternity ultrasound scans, we offer 3D/4D scans of your baby, which offer moving images of your baby. Please note that there is a charge associated with this additional service.


Further online resources

Contact

Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital
020 3313 3916
St Mary’s Hospital
020 3312 5446
Maternity helpline
020 3312 6135