Welcome to our Maternity Unit

 

We provide maternity care for nearly 6000 women and their babies each year, during pregnancy, labour, birth and up until one month after birth.

During and after pregnancy, we offer both midwifery-led and consultant-led care and our teams are multidisciplinary which means all the care you need is provided within the maternity wards.

Our midwives look after women at the hospital antenatal clinic, at local GP surgeries and children’s centres.

We provide a home birth service and hospital-based care during labour and birth. In addition, Homerton is a leading regional neonatal centre and we will be able to provide the highest quality specialist care for your baby after birth if needed.

Please note we are a teaching hospital and as such students work alongside qualified practioners in providing your care. You will be asked for your consent for the student to be present or participate in your care

We appreciate that this is challenging time and that you may be anxious about attending Homerton or about the care you will receive when you are with us. Whether you are attending for antenatal appointments, scans or during labour, birth or the early postnatal period you will be met with dedicated professionals who will have the skills, resources and equipment to provide a safe and caring environment for you and your baby. Maternity care is essential and has been developed over many years to reduce complications in pregnant women and babies. We follow Public Health England infection prevention and control guidance stringently, use appropriate PPE and have made significant changes to both the environment of the hospital and visiting arrangements promote social distancing. It is therefore vital that you continue to see us for all planned care.

It is particularly important that you do not delay seeking help if you notice any emergency signs, such as significant changes in the baby’s movement, pain, swelling, redness, ache or tenderness in one leg, and fluid leakage or bleeding, significant itching, heart palpitations, persistent headache, blurred vision, flashing lights or pain under the ribs. Please call Delivery suite immediately on 02085107351/7352 if these occur

You can contact a midwife for advice or support via the Homerton Maternity Helpline on 0208510 5955 from 10am - 6pm each day or via email on huh-tr.maternityhelpline@nhs.net

The CQC

The Trust has now received its CQC report following an inspection earlier this year. Homerton Hospital has been rated Outstanding.

 Highlights from the maternity part of the report are that:

  • The Maternity Department overall is rated ‘Good’.  
  • The rating for the ‘well led’ category moves from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’.
  • The ‘safe’ rating from maternity has moved from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’. The primary reason for the change in rating is due to lack of interface between the maternity and Trust IT systems. We were aware of this issue and had been working to address this prior to the inspection and will continue to work on this with our external providers.

I want to assure you that that the quality of care provided to you and your baby remains of the usual high standard. The inspection team acknowledged improvements made since the last inspection and  identified a number of good / outstanding practices.

As we have always been, the maternity team are committed to providing outstanding care to our families.

The overall Homerton Hospital site rating is now rated as outstanding! We are extremely proud of this recognition and acknowledgment of the quality of services we provide to all patients.

If you have any questions relating to this statement; please contact us using the following email address -huh-tr.HUH.Senior.Midwives@nhs.net

Homerton Maternity Unit Statement on increased risks to pregnant women from BAME backgrounds

Here at Homerton maternity unit, we recognise that pregnant women from BAME backgrounds, and their families, are likely feeling anxious about the news that coronavirus is more likely to affect people from BAME backgrounds more severely. 

We are working hard to reduce the increased risk of a number of poor outcomes that are not related to coronavirus but have been shown to affect women and babies from BAME backgrounds.

We understand that hearing about these risks will be very worrying, and want to tell you what we are doing to try to ensure you and your baby are safe and well.

  • Implementing new guidance for care as it is published by our Royal Colleges and NHS England
  • Developing a pregnancy-specific COVID-19 assessment tool that includes ethnicity as a risk factor for more severe disease. This will alert staff that they may need to escalate for a review and possible admission to hospital at an earlier point for those from BAME backgrounds.
  • Regularly auditing our outcomes via ethnicity so that we can identify areas for increased focus and service development
  • Involving all staff in discussion and training regarding unconscious bias, engaging in hospital-wide work to dismantle systemic racism, and reviewing our services to find ways we can adapt services to better suit families from different cultures and backgrounds.

How you can be involved

We would welcome hearing your views on maternity care and how Homerton can provide the best care to women of BAME backgrounds, both during the pandemic and in the future. There are a number of ways we are doing this:

  • Encouraging engagement from women and their partners from all backgrounds with our Maternity Voices Partnership (forum run by local parents for families who are using or have used our services, to gather feedback and help improve maternity care locally). If you would like to get involved, please contact us via:
  • Looking for more effective ways of communicating with women from different backgrounds so that important health messages reach everyone. If you can advise or help us, or would like to share your experience, please get in touch via any of our social media channels
    • Instagram: @homerton.maternity / @homerton_birthcentre / @homerton_homebirth
    • Twitter: @huhmaternity

Important things you can do to care for your and your baby’s health:

  • Book early for maternity care and keep all your appointments – whether in person or virtual
  • Call or visit us for a check-up without delay, anytime day or night, if you have any concerns about yourself or your baby – do not wait. Contact details:
    • Maternity Helpline 7 days per week, 10am – 6pm: 0208 510 5955
    • Out of hours: Delivery Suite on 0208 510 7351 / 7352 / 7353
  • Ensure you are regularly taking a vitamin D supplement (at least 10 micrograms daily)
  • Tell us if you have any concerns about your care.

Poster with testimonials from families who have had their baby at Homerton Hospital

How to Contact Us

Contacts

   Telephone Opening hours
Maternity Helpline

020 8510 5955

and email:

huh-tr.maternityhelpline@nhs.net

Every day,10am - 6pm
Antenatal clinic 020 8510 7175 Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm
Delivery suite 020 8510 7351/7352 Every day, 24 hours
Templar Ward 020 8510 7541 /7561 Every day, 24 hours
Community midwifery 020 8510 5761 Monday - Sunday, 9am - 4pm
Fetal Medicine 020 8510 7291 / 7597 Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm

 

Shirley Peterson
Deputy chief nurse and head of midwifery
tel: 020 8510 5767
email: shirley.peterson@nhs.net

Sarah Latham
Deputy head of midwifery
tel: 020 8510 7404
email: sarah.latham11@nhs.net

Mr Yinka Akinfenwa
Associate medical director, Consultant Cbstetrician/Gynaecologist and lead consultant for fetal medicine
 
Mr Ademola Kojeku
Clinical lead for obstetrics, Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, Lead Consultant for Emergency Obstetric Unit, audit and guidelines 

Gitty Blum
Matron for Delivery Suite, Emergency Obstetric Unit and Triage
tel: 020 8510 7350
email: gitty.blum@nhs.net

Tracy Beason
Matron for Community Midwifery and Homerton Birth Centre
tel: 07747 457 354
email: tracy.beason@nhs.net

Ruth Stocks
Matron for Maternity Wards, Antenatal Clinic, Antenatal and Newborn Screening
tel: 020 8510 7350
email: ruth.stocks1@nhs.net

Sumayyah Bilal/ Laurie Deeks
Named Midwife for Safeguarding
sumayyah.bilal@nhs.net/ laurie.deeks@nhs.net

Ella Hill Behari
Lead Clinical Midwife Specialist, Fetal Medicine Unit
email: ellahill1@nhs.net

Louisa Griffiths
Maternity Risk Managment Midwife
email: huh-tr.maternity.clinicalgovernance@nhs.net
tel: 020 8510 5768

Philippa Cox
Consultant Midwife
tel: 020 8510 7046
email: philippacox1@nhs.net

Tamsin Bicknell
Consultant Midwife, Public Health
tel: 020 8510 7715
email: tamsinbicknell@nhs.net

Paula Griffin
Professional Midwifery Advocate & Practice Educator
tel: 020 8510 5235
email:
paula.griffin1@nhs.net

Senior Midwives
A senior midwife is available 24 hours a day and is contactable via the hospital switchboard 020 8510 5555. 

How to Refer to Us

Please complete our online form below.

Referral information Page 1

Note: Questions marked by * are mandatory








  Yes No
Do you have sight problems?
Do you experience hearing loss


  Yes No
Are you or your partner currently taking non prescribed drug/substances?
Have you, your partner or one of your children ever had a social worker?
Do you have any of the following conditions: Diabetes
High blood pressure
Heart condition
Epilepsy
Sickle cell disease
Are you a sickle cell carrier?
Thalassaemia
Are you a Thalassaemia carrier?




  Yes No
Did you have any of the following conditions in your previous pregnancies? Diabetes
Pre-eclampsia
High blood pressure


*

Homebirth enquiry form

Warning
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that if you have a straightforward pregnancy  and you have not had any complications in any  previous births you may want to choose to give birth at home. If this is an option that you would like to consider please complete this homebirth enquiry form and the Homerton Homebirth team will contact you as soon as possible. Please note the homebirth team only cover the City, Hackney and a small part of Waltham Forest.

If you do not fulfil the criteria above we will arrange for you to speak to our Consultant Midwife to discuss your options. If you haven't heard from us within two weeks, please repeat the enquiry form or contact Homerton Maternity helpline at 020 851 05955.
Thank you

Details

Note: Questions marked by * are mandatory


*

Visiting Homerton during Covid-19

Visiting Arrangements during Covid-19 

The following changes to visiting restrictions in the maternity unit will go live on Wednesday 21st October:

 We are very pleased to be able to start easing the visiting restrictions that were put in place for the protection of both our patients, their families and our staff during the pandemic. The restrictions have been very challenging for us all, and we recognise that this has been a particularly difficult aspect of the temporary changes to care provision for our families.

As always, we have been taking an individualised approach where there are families with exceptional circumstances; if you feel this applies to you, please discuss with your midwife and they put you in touch with our senior team who can advise.

We are taking a stepped approach to easing the restrictions, and will monitor the changes closely to ensure we are able to maintain safety for all. Please bear in mind that we may be required to reduce the visiting capacity again if we experience a second wave of infection and work with us to keep everyone safe and well. We appreciate your cooperation and patience during this very strange time.

Scans:

A adult of your choice will be able to attend both the 12 week (dating) and the 20 week (anomaly) scans, provided they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. We cannot accomodate children at scans so we will not admit your accompanying adult to the scan if children are also with you.

 Women and their accompanying adult will be screened (temperature check and risk assessment questions) at the hospital entrance prior to admittance. The adult accompanying you should wait downstairs in the glass corridor whilst you go to the scan unit to check in at reception. When you are called for your appointment you can call or text them giving them the room number that you will be in. This will help to promote social distancing and the safety of all in the scan department.

We are unfortunately still unable to accommodate anyone coming with to scans at other gestations at present, as all types of pregnancy scan take place in the same location and we would not be able to maintain safe social distancing due to the limited space available in the department.

However, if the sonographer finds important clinical information that you would like another adult to be aware of, you will be supported to call them so that they can be in attendance virtually when the relevant information is being discussed. 

 

Antenatal (Turpin) ward:

Those undergoing induction of labour on the antenatal ward will, as has been the case throughout the pandemic, be able to have a single birth partner with them from the beginning of the process. Once you are in established labour and move to the delivery suite for one to one care, your second birth partner will be able to join you.

We will be gradually restarting visiting on the antenatal ward (those staying in the hospital due to antenatal complications), starting with a single visitor, the same visitor each day, between 2pm and 6pm daily. We cannot accommodate more than one visitor, including any children, on the ward at present.

All birth partners/visitors will be subject to the same screening checks and requirements not to be experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms as previously described.

Second birth partners:

Everyone having their baby in the birth centre or on our delivery suite will be able to have two birth partners. Birth partners will be subject to the same screening checks and requirements not to be experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms as previously described.

Postnatal (Templar) ward:

We will be gradually restarting visiting on the postnatal ward, starting with a single visitor, who must be your primary birth partner, between 2pm and 6pm daily. Your visitor will be subject to the same screening checks and requirements not to be experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms as previously described.

We cannot accommodate more than one visitor, including any children, on the ward at present.

Appointments:

In order to minimise face-to-face contact we have conducted a risk assessment and cancelled some appointments and transferred some others into telephone only. The appointments and scans which remain face-to-face are vitally important for us to be able to ensure the health of you and your baby so please continue to attend them if you are well. If you cannot attend an appointment because you have symptoms or are self-isolating due to a household member then please call the Homerton Maternity Helpline on 0208 510 5955 10am - 8pm each day or email on: huh tr.maternityhelpline@nhs.net.

Information on Coronavirus information in English, Albanian, Dari, French, Farsi, Hindi, Kurdish, Mandarin, Pashto, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese can be found by following this link. More languages are being added regularly:

https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/news/coronavirus-information/

Latest advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Public Health England

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG):

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/  

RCOG Information for pregnant women and their families:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

Public Health England (PHE)

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance

Summary:

  • Pregnant persons are still required to attend face to face antenatal appointments alone
  • You can bring one adult with you to attend the 12 and 20 week scans. Pregnant persons are still required to attend all other scans alone
  • Children are not permitted at any appointments unless completely unavoidable (i.e. you have no childcare options whatsoever and they would otherwise be left unsupervised at an age where this is inappropriate) or in the inpatient area
  • Antenatal inpatients can have one visitor daily between 2-6pm (same person each day)
  • Up to two birth partners are permitted
  • Postnatal inpatients can have one visitor daily between 2-6pm (same person each day)

Winter Flu Vaccination

 

Flu vaccinations are now available in the scan department and in Picton suite. You can have the vaccination at any time during your pregnancy. You can drop in any time 8.30 - 4.30, Monday - Friday, or you will be offered the vaccination when you attend for your scans.

 

Having your flu jab can:

  • Prevent you becoming seriously unwell with flu.
  • Prevent you passing on flu to your newborn.
  • Protect your baby from the increased risk of being born prematurely, not growing well, stillbirth and death in the first week of life, all of which are slightly more likely if you have flu in pregnancy.

 Important points:

  • The flu jab cannot give you flu because it is not a “live” vaccine. This means it does not contain live virus: the virus cells are “inactivated” (killed), so they cannot cause illness, in this case flu. But it will cause your body to create a defensive immune response that will be activated and protect you if you come into contact with the flu virus.
  • Vaccines can’t overload your immune system. It’s a bit like exercising - they make your immune system stronger!
  • Its important to have the flu vaccine in pregnancy to protect yourself and your baby even if you feel well
  • Like wearing masks against coronavirus, the flu vaccine protects not only you, but also helps prevent you passing it on to other people in vulnerable groups, like the elderly or those with certain health conditions
  • If you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows that you’re more likely to be seriously ill

 

Coronavirus (Covid-19) infection and pregnancy – Information and Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus (Covid-19) infection and pregnancy – Information and Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus (Covid-19) and Maternity – An Introduction

What the updated guidance means for you and your pregnancy
Pregnant women are strongly advised to follow the latest Government guidance on measures that we should all be taking to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (Covid-19) as much possible. It is reassuring that there is as yet no robust evidence that pregnant women are more likely to become infected than other healthy adults. It is known from other respiratory infections (e.g. influenza, SARS) that pregnant woman who contract significant respiratory infections in the third trimester (after 28 weeks) are more likely to become seriously unwell. It is therefore imperative that pregnant women follow guidance by the UK government.

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

What effect does coronavirus have on pregnant women?
Pregnant women do not appear any more likely to contract the virus than the general population. However it has long been known that, whilst pregnant women are not necessarily more susceptible to viral illness, changes to their immune system in pregnancy can be associated with more severe symptoms. This is particularly true towards the end of pregnancy. If you are infected with Covid-19 you are still most likely to have no symptoms or a mild illness from which you will make a full recovery. New evidence from America suggests a similar pattern of disease severity to the general population.

If you have an underlying condition, such as asthma or diabetes, you may become more unwell if you have coronavirus. Women of BAME background should be advised that they may be at higher risk of complications of COVID-19; we advise they seek advice without delay if they are concerned about their health. Please see the “Welcome to our Maternity Unit” section for more detailed information on this issue.

What effect will coronavirus have on my baby if I am diagnosed with the infection?
As this is a very new virus we are just beginning to learn about it. There is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to Covid-19.

 Emerging evidence suggests that it is probable that vertical transmission does happen (this is where the mother passes the virus to the baby either during pregnancy or labour). How many pregnancies this occurs in and the possible impact on the baby remains unclear. There is no evidence that Covid-19 can cause birth defects or harm the baby during pregnancy.

Some babies born to women with symptoms of coronavirus have been born prematurely. It is unclear whether coronavirus caused this or the doctors made the decision for the baby to be born early because the woman was unwell. As we learn about the risk of pre-term birth and coronavirus infection, we will update this information.

What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?
There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Following all social distancing advice from the UK Government closely.
  • Washing your hands more often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

Antenatal care during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Should I still attend my routine antenatal appointments and scans in the community and at Homerton Hospital?
In order to promote social distancing we have put into place new measures to reduce the number of face-to-face appointments during pregnancy and the postnatal period. Some of these have been replaced by telephone consultations or by seeing the Midwife directly following your scan appointment. If you have an appointment to see a consultant, you will get a phone call about rescheduling as we want to ensure that all face to face appointments are needed at this time.

The amount of face-to-face care required to monitor you, the baby and your pregnancy safely differs person to person and will be based on an individualized risk assessment. For this reason it is essential that you attend any face-to face care which is scheduled for you.

Maternity care is essential and has been developed over many years to reduce complications in pregnant women and babies. Not attending antenatal care risks potential harm to you and your baby. It is important that you continue to attend all of your planned care as long as you remain well. Staff at Homerton follow Public Health England infection prevention and control guidance stringently and use appropriate PPE in order to promote a safe environment.

All women will be offered a dating scan at around 12 weeks and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. Other scans will be booked for you by your Midwife or Doctor if there is a clinical need for them.

When you attend hospital or community appointments you will receive a text message beforehand advising you not to attend if you have symptoms of Covid-19. If you are symptomatic of the virus we would ask that you remain at home and contact the maternity helpline.

After you have had the baby, we will call you at home before each visit to talk about any symptoms or exposure that you might have had. It is very important to ensure that the Midwife has the correct phone number for you and that you answer all calls, especially those from a withheld number. Postnatal appointments with Consultants will usually take place via telephone.

All antenatal classes have been suspended at the current time but resources for you to read and watch at home are available on the Homerton website. These include slide-shows and videos containing all the information which would usually be taught in our antenatal classes

Mental Health and Coronavirus

We understand that being pregnant and giving birth at this time may have an effect on your mental health. You may be affected by concerns about the virus itself, by reduced social interaction, support and interaction with family and friends as well as by financial, career and housing concerns, bereavement or circumstances within your home environment. Please let your Doctor or Midwife know if you have any concerns about your mental health so that they can help you access support. This is available via remote services; both through self-help resources and through referral to the IAPTs service (Improving Access to Psychological Services) as well as through professionals at Homerton Hospital if appropriate.

Labour and Birth during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Changes to our Homebirth service during Coronavirus
We recently shared, that due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we were temporarily suspending our homebirth service. This was a difficult decision for us to make as we have spent many years building up our homebirth service and are proud of the work that our homebirth team undertake. At the time we took the decision, the impact of the COVID 19 on our maternity service was significant, seeing the numbers of midwives available to work reduce by 25% and notification from the London Ambulance service that they were likely to be delayed in responding to emergency calls due to increased demands on their service.

We have been assessing this situation daily, and are very pleased to now be in a position to review this temporary suspension of the homebirth service.

As of Wednesday 15 April 2020 the response times of the London Ambulance service are much improved and we have seen midwifery staff returning to work. We are pleased to inform you that we are able to recommence the homebirth service with immediate effect for the time being.

Although midwifery staffing within the maternity has begun to improve this is a situation which will be reviewed and risk-assessed daily with a view that, in case of staffing issues and/or high activity, our on call midwives may be needed to support the acute service.

We will continue to assess the service constantly depending on whether we have midwives available and communications from the London Ambulance service as to their ability to respond to a category 1 call: this is where we have concerns regarding the mother or baby’s condition that warrants an urgent transfer to hospital. We will do all we can to maintain the service but we are also required to ensure the safety of all women and our midwives.

Changes to Visiting arrangements during Coronavirus

In order to restrict the spread of the virus and protect the health of all our women we have made some changes to our visiting arrangements in Maternity. The following is a summary of these changes, for more detail please see the  "Visiting Homerton during Covid-19" drop down section

  • Pregnant persons are still required to attend face to face antenatal appointments alone
  • Partners can attend 20 week scans. Pregnant persons are still required to attend dating scans (11-13 weeks) and late gestation scans alone
  • Children are not permitted at any appointments unless completely unavoidable (i.e. you have no childcare options whatsoever and they would otherwise be left unsupervised at an age where this is inappropriate) or in the inpatient areas
  • Antenatal inpatients can have one visitor daily between 2-6pm (same person each day)
  • Up to two birth partners are permitted
  • Postnatal inpatients can have one visitor daily between 2-6pm (same person each day)

    Masks will be provided on entry to the hospital and it is requested that these are worn at all times except when by pregnant persons during labour and birth.

If you have a confirmed or suspected Coronavirus Infection

What should I do if I have suspected coronavirus?

If you have symptoms of potential Covid-19 such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste you must:

  • Stay at home (self-isolate) – do not leave your home or have visitors. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also self-isolate.
  • Get a test – get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, should also get a test if they have symptoms.

Self-isolation

  • If you live by yourself, you will be required to self-isolate for 7 days. If you live with other people, the whole household and your support bubble will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Do not leave your home during this period
  • Ask friends, neighbours, and delivery services to leave food and essentials on your doorstep (including medication).
  • You must not invite guests into your home
  • Keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people in your home
  • Sleep alone if possible
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Regularly clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Do not share towels or cutlery
  • If you are travelling home from a hospital admission we will provide you with a mask which should be used when travelling home. When you arrive home please discard it in the bin.
  • If you need to self-isolate then you do not need a GP note. Instead you can get a note for your employer on the NHS website here https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/

After self-isolation

  • After 7 days, if you no longer have a fever you can end self-isolation. If you live with others, they should stay at home for 14 days in case they develop symptoms.
  • After 14 days, anyone you live with and those in your support bubble can end self-isolation provided they have no symptoms.
  • If anyone at home or in your support bubble develops symptoms, they should continue to self-isolate for 7 days from when their symptoms began.
  • If your fever continues, stay at home until the fever ends. As long as you do not have a fever you can end self-isolation even if you still have a cough.

Use the 111 online services on 111.nhs.uk

  • If you feel that your symptoms are too much to cope with at home, particularly if you are feeling more short of breath or confused, then you should access the 111 service, preferably online
  • Your symptoms persist for more than 7 days (except for cough)
  • Only call 111 if you cannot get help online or you do not have access to a computer.

If you need to attend your pharmacy or GP, try and arrange for an online consultation and for your medicines to be delivered to your house.

In an emergency dial 999.
Please see www.nhs.uk, www.gov.uk or www.patient.co.uk for further information.

Testing for coronavirus

Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can get a free test to check if they have the virus. There is another type of test (antibody test) that checks if you've already had the virus. This test is not widely available yet. You can find out about antibody testing on GOV.UK.

You can get a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms
  • for yourself, if you have been told to have a test before you go into hospital, for example, for surgery

You can get 1 test for each person with symptoms or one for yourself if your hospital tells you that you need it.

What the test involves:

  • The test usually involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.
  • You can do the swab yourself (if you are aged 12 or over) or someone can do it for you.

When to apply for a test:

  • You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms.
  • If you do not have symptoms, you can only get a test if your hospital has told you to.

How to get a test:

There are 2 ways of getting a test. You can:

If you test positive for coronavirus, you should contact your midwife or antenatal team to make them aware of your diagnosis. If you have no symptoms, or mild symptoms, you will be advised to recover at home. If you have more severe symptoms, you might be treated in a hospital setting.

From July 13th 2020 we will be performing routine swab testing of all maternity patients that are admitted and planned to be admitted into the hospital even if you do not have symptoms. If you have a planned admission to the hospital coming up, such as an elective caesarean section then you will be asked to come into the hospital a few days earlier for a test. You and your household will then be asked to self-isolate between the test and hospital admission.

Your antenatal care whilst in self-isolation

You should contact the maternity unit to inform them if you are self-isolating. You can do this via the Homerton Maternity Helpline 0208 510 5955 10am - 6pm each day or via email on: huh-tr.maternityhelpline@nhs.net

Please let us know your full name, hospital number (this is a 6 digit number which can be found on the front of your blue notes), estimated date of delivery (due date) and about any appointments you have booked in the next 14 days.  Please do not contact your named midwife as we anticipate a number of staff may be absent from work over the next month or so and we want to ensure the message is received

It is likely that any routine antenatal appointments will be delayed until isolation ends. If your midwife or doctor advises that your appointment cannot wait, the necessary arrangements will be made for you to be seen. For example, you may be asked to attend at a different time, or in a different clinic, to protect other patients.

If you have confirmed coronavirus infection, as a precautionary approach, an ultrasound scan will be arranged 14 days after your recovery, to check that your baby is well. This 14 day period may be reduced as more information on how infected people are in recovery becomes available.If you have recovered from coronavirus and tested negative for the virus before you go into labour, where and how you give birth will not be affected by your previous illness.

Please ensure you stay well hydrated whilst self-isolating and that if you are taking any thromboprophylaxis (such as Clexane [Enoxaparin]) that you continue taking these. If you notice any signs of pain, swelling and tenderness in one leg, usually at the back of the lower leg (calf), a heavy ache or warm skin in the affected area or red skin, particularly at the back of your leg below the knee) then contact Delivery suite immediately by phone.

You should also contact us if you have concerns about the wellbeing of yourself or your baby during your self-isolation period. They will provide further advice, including whether you need to attend hospital.

If attendance at the maternity unit or hospital is advised, pregnant women are requested to travel by private transport (a private car or taxi)

Going into labour with suspected or confirmed coronavirus

As a precautionary approach, pregnant women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus when they go into labour, are being advised to attend an obstetric unit for birth (rather than the Birth Centre or a Homebirth), where the baby can be monitored using continuous electronic fetal monitoring, and your oxygen levels can be monitored hourly.

The continuous fetal monitoring is to check how your baby is coping with labour. As continuous fetal monitoring can only take place in an obstetric unit, where doctors and midwives are present, it is not currently recommended that you give birth at home or in a midwife led unit, where only midwives would be present.

Women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus are advised not to use the pool during labour as it is an infection risk.

There is currently no evidence to suggest you cannot give birth vaginally or that you would be safer having a caesarean birth if you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus, so your birth plan should be followed as closely as possible based on your wishes. However, if your respiratory condition (breathing) suggested that urgent delivery would be needed, a caesarean birth may be recommended.

There is no evidence that women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus cannot have an epidural or a spinal block. There is no evidence that the use of Entonox (gas and air) is an aerosol-generating procedure (AGP) and so we are continuing to offer it.The labour ward team will discuss all the options with you in early labour to ensure you are aware of the pain relief options available to you.

If you go into labour, you should call your maternity unit for advice via Delivery suite on 020 8510 7351/7352, and inform them that you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection. If you have mild symptoms, you will be encouraged to remain at home (self-isolating) in early labour, as per standard practice. This means we would advise you to stay at home until your labour is well established.

When you and your maternity team decide you need to attend the maternity unit, general recommendations about hospital attendance will apply:

  • You will be advised to attend hospital via private transport where possible, or call 111/999 for advice as appropriate
  • You will be met at the maternity unit entrance and provided with a surgical face mask, which will need to stay on until you are isolated in a suitable room
  • Coronavirus testing may be arranged
  • Your birth partner(s) will be able to stay with you throughout.

Caring for your baby during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Your baby and Coronavirus
As this is a new virus, there is limited evidence about managing coronavirus infection in women who have just given birth. If you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus at the time your baby is born, your baby will be tested for coronavirus.

Provided your baby is well and doesn’t require care in the neonatal unit, you will be kept together after you have given birth and will be able to have skin-to-skin contact. There are some reports from China which suggest women with confirmed coronavirus have been advised to separate from their baby for 14 days. However, this may have potential negative effects on feeding and bonding.

A discussion about the risks and benefits should take place between you and your family and the doctors caring for your baby (neonatologists) to individualise care for your baby.

Babies and children under two should not wear masks or other face coverings, as they may risk suffocation.

Breastfeeding and Coronavirus
At the moment there is no evidence that the virus can be carried in breastmilk, so it’s felt that the well-recognised benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk. The main risk of breastfeeding is close contact between you and your baby, as you may share infective airborne droplets, leading to infection of the baby after birth.

A discussion about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding should take place between you and your family and your maternity team. If you choose to breastfeed your baby, the following precautions are recommended:

  • Wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles
  • Try and avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding at the breast;
  • Consider wearing a face mask while breastfeeding, if available
  • Follow recommendations for pump cleaning after each use
  • Consider asking someone who is well to feed expressed breast milk to your baby.

If you choose to feed your baby with formula or expressed milk, it is recommended that you follow strict adherence to sterilisation guidelines. If you are expressing breast milk in hospital, a dedicated breast pump should be used.

Maternity - Covid19 Parent Information.pdf
Maternity - Covid19 Planning Your Birth.pdf
Maternity - Covid 19 Looking After Yourself.pdf

 

Antenatal classes

During pregnancy, you will have time to think about your future as a parent and to consider some options for yourself and your baby, including decisions about the birth and about feeding your baby. We provide parent education classes to help you prepare for the birth and for parenthood. Please click the following link for details

https://www.homerton.nhs.uk/parentcraft-sessions

NHS maternity care entitlement and charges

Some women may be asked to pay for their care. However, maternity care will not be refused or delayed for any woman, whether or not you are able to pay for your care.

Where women are eligible for charges, we can arrange affordable payment plans according to your circumstances. It is very important for yours and your baby’s health that you receive care during your pregnancy, birth and afterwards.

If you are worried about NHS maternity care charges, you can view information about whether this would apply to you via the Maternity Action website or by calling their maternity rights advice helpline for independent legal advice on: 0808 802 0057 (Freephone) Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri 10 am – 1 pm.

You can also contact our maternity helpline on 0208 510 5955 10am - 6pm daily to speak confidentially to a midwife, or email our consultant midwife to discuss this via tamsinbicknell@nhs.net

Please do not let worries about charges put you off seeking maternity care. Maternity care will never be refused or delayed for any woman, whether or not you are able to pay for your care.

Philosophy of care

Our philosophy of care is based on respect for pregnancy as a state of health and childbirth as a normal, healthy, physiological process. 

Pregnancy and birth are very significant events in a woman’s life and that of her family. The care we provide will aim to respect the diversity of women’s needs and the variety of personal and cultural values that women, families and communities bring to these events. Care will be continuous, personal and responsive to a woman’s health, social and emotional needs.

We aim to keep women informed at all times of the progress of their pregnancy and likewise any issues that arise during their care. We will encourage decision-making as a shared responsibility between the woman, her family and her care givers. To facilitate this, care provision must include evidence based information, education and counselling support to enable the woman to make informed choices.

Share your views

Please see below for the link to a national survey: London women's experience survey: Pregnancy and giving birth during the pandemic.

The purpose of the survey is to gather feedback of women’s experience of accessing maternity services throughout the pandemic to enable the restoration of maternity services with women’s voices heard from the start.

Please see the link below to share with colleagues, local women and your social media platforms:

 https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=kp4VA8ZyI0umSq9Q55Ctv8-cdBeVcUdGq0fmWAvPz8FUOEtIQUtENklNQzZJSEZEN0g5TDhLQUxIRiQlQCN0PWcu

City & Hackney MVP

City & Hackney Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) is a committee chaired by local mums and consists of local parent reps and health professionals, which advises NHS in City & Hackney on the care they provide to women, their partners and their babies, during pregnancy, birth and in the weeks after the baby’s arrival. The role of the Partnership is to make sure that local maternity units listen to and take account of the views and experiences of people who use their services.  

The MVP wants to hear your views and experiences and provides direct feedback to the Homerton and East London Local Maternity Systems. Please email us.

Join the community and keep up to date on maternity services through Facebook and Twitter: 

City & Hackney MVP Facebook Page - a place to get up to date, reliable information on maternity services in City & Hackney 

City & Hackney MVP Facebook Group - a community of local women and families and maternity service providers to share views and provide feedback.

There is also a weekly Zoom call taking place at 11am on Wednesdays during Covid-19, which is chaired by the Head of Maternity for East London along with the local commissioners and MVPs. We're inviting women to join us and share their views, experiences and to ask questions.  We are really keen to hear from women and families from all backgrounds. If you need a language translator for the call - ELLMS will provide translators. Please email elhcp.enquiries@nhs.net

For anyone that would prefer to send in written feedback please use elhcp.enquiries@nhs.net

Topic: Coronavirus - What are your thoughts and feelings with regards to maternity care?

Time: 11am

Every week on Wed, until May 20, 2020