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Ask a Midwife FAQs

Please see the list of frequently asked questions received through the Ask a Midwife service.

FAQ Answer
Can someone attend my Ultrasound scan with me?

On a trial basis, one person may attend your anomaly ultrasound scan with you. Your anomaly scan is the scan performed at around 20 weeks of pregnancy. This scan has been chosen because this is a complex screening scan where your baby’s  anatomy is looked at in detail.

Whilst it is acknowledged that the dating scan is also important, the scan departments are mindful that there may be other clinics running alongside the scans and that scans are not solely for pregnant women; vulnerable and elderly patients also access the department, and must be protected from the threat of Covid-19 by keeping partner attendance to a minimum.
What is the guidance for birth partners?
One birth partner may stay with you when you are in established labour or being induced on labour ward. Being in  established labour means when you are having regular contractions, with cervical dilation of 3-4cm. If you  are being induced in a ward area, your partner can attend for a 2 hour pre-arranged slot.. We ask that partners do not attend if they have symptoms of Covid-19. Partners will be expected to wear a mask per Government guidance.
Can my birth partner stay with me on the antenatal or postnatal ward?
Unfortunately, partners cannot stay with you if you are an inpatient on our antenatal or postnatal wards. Instead, they can book a two hour appointment in which they can visit you. This time must be pre-arranged, and agreed by the ward staff. This aims to reduce the number of visitors on the ward at any one time, enabling us to practice social distancing and utilise a track and trace system should we later learn a visitor was Covid-19 positive.
Are birth pools available?
Yes, birth pools are available as normal provided you have no Covid-19 symptoms.
What PPE will be worn by staff?
All staff who are providing direct care for you will be wearing a mask, eye protection, gloves and an apron.
Will I have to wear PPE?
You are asked to attend any antenatal appointments or scans wearing a face mask, however, you do not have to wear a mask while you are in labour or an inpatient. With consent, all women will be swabbed for Covid-19 on admission. This will enable staff to keep you, and other women and families safe.
What can I do to help my Pelvic Girdle Pain (commonly known as SPD)?

The physiotherapists are currently not offering face-to-face consultations with pregnant women. Instead, they recommend you access support here:
What do I do if I have reduced fetal movements?

Our maternity services are operating as normal, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have anyconcerns with your baby’s movements, please contact us immediately on the following numbers:

Scarborough: 01723 342124

York: 01904 725924

We have had relatively few cases of Covid-19 in Maternity, and the risk of Covid-19 should not discourage you from attending.
Where can I access reliable information regarding Covid-19 and pregnancy?
Why can we not film scans if partners are not allowed to attend?

The potential for recording scans was explored at length by the scan department. The decision not to allow the filming of scans was made in light of;

  1. In the current situation, we are having to ensure the shortest possible examination times to reduce risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus as ultrasound scans are performed in a small room with limited ventilation with the woman and the sonographer in close contact.
  2. The actual physical action of recording the scan would be extremely difficult. The sonographer would not be able to do this as they need both hands to perform the medical examination. The woman holding the phone would lead to a taught abdomen and might also impede the sonographer’s position making it difficult to acquire some views.
  3. The main reason that filming the examination would not be a viable option is that it will risk distracting the sonographer, lengthening the examination and increasing the risk of a reduced quality examination and missing abnormalities.
Are there any antenatal classes during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Yes, we currently are offering virtual antenatal classes. These can be booked via your community midwife once you are 28 weeks pregnant.
Are homebirths still available?
Yes, homebirths are being offered to all low risk women, as usual. Though not common, there will be occasions where homebirths cannot be accommodated due to staffing or another homebirth already in progress. This will be explained to you at your homebirth assessment.
Why are changes to antenatal and postnatal care necessary during the coronavirus pandemic?

These changes are a way of ensuring we deliver the best care without overloading our NHS services, which are crucial during the coronavirus pandemic. This helps us to:

  • Reduce the number of people coming into hospitals where they may come into contact with other people and spread the virus
  • Ensure staff are not overwhelmed and stretched too far by the additional strain on services, which could be due to staff sickness and self-isolation as well as the higher numbers of patients needing care and overnight hospital stays due to coronavirus

This allows us to care for you and protect you from coronavirus while also ensuring we protect NHS staff and services.

(RCOG, 2020)
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