Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG) has set out a number of changes to maternity services in the area in response to Covid-19.
Changes currently in place include:
Face to face contact appointments are being minimised, including obstetric clinic appointments, and group appointments such as antenatal preparation have been cancelled.
Non-urgent face to face appointments with midwives have also been limited. Your midwife will continue to be in contact with you to provide support and face to face visits when necessary, and will provide information on antenatal education and all other aspects of maternity care.
- In line with national guidance, birth partners have been restricted to one per woman at this time.
- As part of the social distancing strategy to protect staff and patients, the public are being asked to limit visitors to hospital. Check your local hospital's policy before you make a journey.
Some Registration offices are not currently registering baby’s births at this time. Your GP practice should still be able to register your baby as a patient without the birth registration.
Changes at birthing units
The CCG have also announced changes to community maternity services, including the opening times of birthing units at Trowbridge, Chippenham and Paulton.
Baby’s movements and growth scans
Your baby’s movements in pregnancy are a sign that they are well. If your baby moves less or if you notice a change this can sometimes be an important warning sign that your baby is unwell.
Please do not hesitate to contact your local maternity services if you have any concerns about your baby’s movements.
Please follow the advice and guidance that you have been provided by your midwife relating to observing your baby’s movements and please do not delay contacting your midwife or maternity service due to worries about hospitals being too busy to see you or concerns about Covid-19.
If you have been asked to attend scans to check your baby’s growth it is very important that you still attend.
There is no evidence that Covid-19 can be carried in breastmilk. The main risk of breastfeeding is close contact between you and your baby, as if you cough or sneeze, this could contain droplets which are infected with the virus, leading to infection.
You should discuss the risks and benefits of breastfeeding with your family and your maternity team.
When you or anyone else feeds your baby, the following precautions are recommended:
- Wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles.
- Try to avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding.
- 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 your expressed breast milk to your baby.
If you are feeding your baby with formula milk it is important that it is prepared as directed on the manufacturer’s instructions and not watered down, as this will result in your baby not receiving the adequate nutrients required for health.
If you have any problems obtaining formula milk, try shopping in smaller shops if you can’t find it in your usual supermarket. The manufacturers are still distributing regular supplies to shops and increasing production.
Mental health and wellbeing
It is understandable to feel more anxious and stressed than usual in times like these.
The Mental Health Foundation has advice on looking after your mental health while staying at home.
Mind also offers resources to support you during pregnancy and after the birth.
Physical health and wellbeing
Exercise is important in pregnancy. It’s okay to go out for a walk once a day. Keep your distance from others, wash hands and follow guidance for social distancing. There are lots of free classes on social media. If you are concerned about safety, check with your midwife first.
More advice can be found here:
The following links give information and advice on staying healthy and well during pregnancy and early parenthood:
Healthy Start Scheme
You could qualify for the Healthy Start Scheme if you're on benefits and are pregnant or have children under the age of four, or if you're pregnant and you're under 18.
Due to Covid-19, a signature from health professional is now not required on the application. In Wiltshire, Children's Centres can support you with this process.
If you're claiming Universal Credit, you should also be able to claim Healthy Start vouchers.