Updated maternity visiting guidance

From 11th October 2021 visiting arrangements for maternity services at West Hertfordshire Hospitals will be as follows:

Please read our signage and posters before entering maternity department. Birthing partners in isolation or with any coronavirus symptoms should not enter the hospital. If you are in labour or need to be seen urgently, please contact the telephone triage number on your notes as you would normally and advise the staff that you require isolation. YOU SHOULD NOT DELAY COMING INTO HOSPITAL.

The lateral flow test must be done at home before attending the hospital or GP practice.

We encourage all women and support partners to attend appointments on time.

Birth partners/companion must show evidence of negative lateral flow test. Without this, they will not be able to accompany women/ birthing people to appointments or visit any of the ward areas.

Appointments: Please see below for information on different appointment areas. Partners must wear a face always mask/ covering during the appointment.

All antenatal/postnatal appointments in antenatal clinics: Women can attend the appointment with one birth partner.

Community midwives’ clinics

You may be able to bring one support partner to routine appointments in community sites, subject to the approval of visiting arrangements at the GP or Family centres.
Speak to your midwife for details in your area.

Ultrasound appointments: Women can attend the appointment with a single birth partner.

Maternity triage, or Maternity Day Assessment Unit: The waiting areas are too small to accommodate social distancing, women should not bring a partner into these areas (except for labour assessment, see below). We aim to keep appointments as short as possible to minimise time in these areas.

Labour assessment: One named birth partner may accompany you to maternity triage for labour assessment on presentation of a negative lateral flow test.

Birth in labour ward and birth centre: One named birth partner may stay with you in the birthing room for the duration of a woman's time there. Partners are asked not to use any of the shared facilities and may only consume refreshments that you/ have provided when there are no staff members in the room.

Elective caesarean sections: Your named birth partner can be present from admission, during theatre and remain on the postnatal ward in line with postnatal visiting times.

Induction of labour:  One named birth partner can accompany you and stay with you between 9am to 8pm.

Postnatal/ Antenatal ward:  One named birth partner will have a 4-hour allocated time slot per day.

Transitional care/neonatal unit: Providing a negative lateral flow test can be provided, both parents have unrestricted access to visiting in transitional care/ neonatal unit

COVID-19 testing arrangements

A. Antenatal and scan appointment in hospital/community setting.

Mother and one named partner must perform a lateral flow test at home, which can be obtained at your local pharmacy, GP or the LFT are available to order by post from NHS website https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

Please note the lateral flow test will not be offered at the hospital

The test must be done at home prior to attending hospital appointments or visiting. Unfortunately, partners will not be allowed to attend appointment or visit ward area without a confirmed negative COVID-19 test result.

B) Planned admissions into Maternity

All mothers who are having planned admissions into the Maternity unit (Induction of labour/ elective caesarean section) will be offered a different COVID-19 test, a PCR test, 3 days prior to admission. One named birth partner will be offered a PCR test at the same time with the mother as this will allow visiting to the wards following the baby's birth. The PCR test will be arranged by hospital staff. They require your names, NHS Numbers and Dates of Birth (mother and partner).

C) Unplanned admissions into Maternity

The mother will have a PCR test on the ward. Partner will need to provide evidence of negative Lateral Flow Test. Partners can be provided with a lateral flow testing kit, for self-testing, if this has not been done at home.

D) Women choosing to birth at home

From 37 weeks the mother and her support partner will be asked to undertake weekly PCR tests at the West Herts drive through COVID-19 testing. Full discussion will take place with your community midwife.

We appreciate your support in helping to keep service users and staff safe during this time.

For more information, please see our frequently asked questions

Support

Please contact us on the following numbers as necessary: