All women who need to stay overnight in hospital for any reason will be offered testing for Covid-19, whether they are showing symptoms or not.
We will offer you a test if you:
- need an overnight stay in hospital during pregnancy, labour or the postnatal period
- are having a planned Caesarean birth
unless you have symptoms of Covid-19, we will not routinely offer you a test if you:
- come to hospital for a check-up
- attend routine maternity appointments
- have a home birth
Coming into hospital
When you arrive at the hospital, you will be assessed by your midwife or doctor. If you need to be admitted to the hospital, we will offer you a test, even if you do not have any symptoms of Covid-19.
We will use swabs to collect samples from the back of your throat and inside your nose. This is not painful but may be a little uncomfortable.
Consenting to the test
If you are offered screening for Covid-19, we recommend that you have the test. This will help us to provide you and your baby with the care you need as safely as possible. However, the test cannot be done without your consent and you can decline the test if you wish.
If you decline the test, your midwife / doctor will make a plan for your care based on other factors, such as whether you have symptoms of Covid-19 or not. In some cases, we may need to treat you as though you have had a positive test result and this may have an impact on your choices.
We want to support you to make the right decision – if you have any concerns about the testing or want to know more about the implications of declining the test, please discuss this with your midwife / doctor.
Getting your results
We will usually get the results of your test within 72 hours. We will contact you with your result whether it is negative or positive. If you have already been discharged home, we will call you on the contact number that we have for you so please ensure this is up to date.
We know that you might feel anxious waiting for the result, but please don’t call us to get your results. Please wait for us to contact you – we will let you know the results as soon as we can.
If your test result is negative
You will continue to receive maternity care as planned by your midwife/doctor.
If your test result is positive
Your midwife will be sent your test result – if any changes are needed to your maternity care, they will contact you to discuss this.
If you don’t have any symptoms or your symptoms are mild, you will be able to recover at home and your household must self-isolate – NHS track and trace will be able to guide you with this. If you become unwell after testing positive, you should contact NHS 111 for help and advice.
If you test positive for Covid-19 during the third trimester (over 24 weeks), we will arrange an ultrasound scan at least two weeks after your recovery. This is just a precaution, to make sure your baby is well.
Your birth choices may be impacted if you have a positive Covid-19 result or you have symptoms of Covid-19. Your midwife or doctor will discuss this with you to make sure you understand what changes are needed and why. Changes will only be made where they are necessary to protect you, your baby and the staff at the hospital.
If you have a positive test result:
- We recommend that you labour on Central Delivery Suite where your baby’s heart rate can be continuously monitored with a CTG (cardiotocograph) so that we can ensure your baby is well
- You will not be able to use a birthing pool, as there is evidence that the virus can be transmitted through faeces (poo) in the water. If you had planned a water birth, your midwife will discuss the alternative pain relief options with you
- Staff will need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and there may be brief delays in some aspects of your care while staff put this on
If you are admitted during labour and you have no symptoms of Covid-19, your birth choices will not be affected until the results are received. If you receive a positive result before your baby is born, we will discuss this with you and develop an updated birth plan.
If you are concerned about the test results impacting your birth choices, please discuss this with your midwife / doctor before you make a decision.
Concerns about yours or your baby’s wellbeing
Our Maternity Services remain open 24/7. It is just as important as ever that you contact us if you have any concerns about your pregnancy or your baby’s wellbeing (for example your baby’s movements are reduced). If you are concerned, it is very important that you call Labour Line without delay on 0300 369 0388 for advice. You may be advised to come in to hospital, even if you have tested positive for Covid-19.
We want you to feel that it is safe to come into hospital if you need to. We have set up a dedicated section of the maternity unit for women who have tested positive and who need urgent maternity care.
Maternity Matters Dorset
Royal College of Midwives
For further general health-related information, please ask the relevant department for an information prescription or contact:
Patient Experience Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Telephone: 0300 0198499
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Review date: 11/11/2020