Covid-19 and State of Maternity Update

Advice from our insurance company: Private Midwives/PRISM

For more information, please visit: www.privatemidwives.com

Background

Coronavirus has many strains. Some cause a common cold whilst others cause SARS. A new strain (Covid-19) developed in Wuhan, China and has now led to a global pandemic. This strain is highly contagious. Whilst most people infected will develop mild symptoms, or symptoms of flu, some will develop acute, or severe respiratory difficulties. In order to try and contain and manage the situation, many countries have imposed a variety of restrictions. These are changing daily, and as such specific guidance on self-isolation groups is not included here.

This page aims to provide some information during this very challenging and continually changing time. However, please refer to the latest information from the Department of Health, as this is updated daily as the pandemic evolves.

 

Impact for Pregnancy

Vertical transmission from mother to baby before birth is possible but very unlikely. The majority of women with Covid-19 will experience a mild form of the disease. Pregnant women can be immunosuppressed, and some will develop severe illness and pneumonia.

Covid-19 is unlikely to have a direct adverse impact on pregnancy but the pregnancy may be affected indirectly if the mother becomes seriously unwell.

 

Impact on Pregnancy Services

Women are advised to try to keep existing appointments, scans and check-ups unless they are symptomatic. However, the NHS is under huge pressure as a result of Covid-19. This has been exaggerated by staffing issues resulting from staff isolating or being unavailable (due to travel, contact, symptoms, children off school).

Most NHS services have reduced the range of care they offer.  There is a huge variation throughout the UK and Ireland. We are aware of areas where any/all of the following apply:

  • Home birth services being cancelled
  • Routine face to face antenatal appointments being cancelled or conducted via telephone
  • Postnatal care not provided other than via phone
  • Restriction on birth partners in hospital
  • No birth partners in hospital
  • Scans cancelled
  • Partners are not allowed in for scans or appointments
  • Stopping of all community visits and centralising antenatal appointments in hospital

 

Pregnant women are advised to socially isolate to reduce the risk of getting Covid-19, whilst also being advised to keep antenatal appointments.  The balance between the care required, the resources available, the restrictions being imposed, and the understandable concern of families makes for a complex situation to manage. You can find more information here.

Many pregnant women are understandably very anxious and do not want to attend large clinics or hospital appointments. In areas where home birth services have been withdrawn, we are hearing of women “free birthing” at home with no medical assistance at all. This puts them and their baby at risk.

Birth Partner Restrictions

Where hospitals are restricting birth partners: This is NOT intended to apply to your midwife as she is a Health Professional, not a birth partner. The CEO of every hospital has been written to by our insurance company, along with; The Royal College of Midwives, The Chief Midwifery Officer (England) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council to ask if your private midwife can provide care within the NHS facility. This would guarantee a qualified midwife for the woman and alleviates pressure on staffing.  So far in London there has been no agreement made.

If the hospital refuse to let your midwife in (due to their specific situation at the time), this is outside of our control.

We are receiving an unprecedented number of calls from women seeking reassurance, antenatal care, postnatal care and home births.

We are doing all we can to assist women during this very challenging time.

Private Midwives in South London