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Changes in Maternity Services at Milton Keynes Maternity Unit

Thank you for using the maternity services at Milton Keynes Maternity Unit. We would like to update you on the most recent changes we have made to our maternity services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and most recent government announcements.

The current COVID-19 pandemic means we are required to make difficult decisions relating to the service that we provide. We make these decisions based on our duty of care both to you as expectant parents and to the staff who work for our NHS services.

We ask, at the moment, that you continue to only have one designated person who will be your support person throughout your pregnancy and birth care. We ask that you do not swap this person with any other unless they become unwell themselves and so are unable to attend to support you. Should this person become unwell during your labour and birth and has to return home, an alternative person may attend.

This page explains in which settings one nominated person of a woman being cared for by our maternity teams can be with them, due to COVID-19.

As part of the easing of restrictions, we are now recommending the use of lateral flow testing twice a week for those who do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. The applies to women and their nominated support person attending:

- The Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit

- All antenatal scans

- Antenatal appointments

- Labour and birth from the point of attendance at the hospital

Please note: If you and your support person both decline testing when admitted for labour and birth, your support person will not be allowed into any ward areas, including the antenatal and postnatal wards. Without knowing your COVID-19 status, we must ensure we continue to protect all others from transmission as best we can and, therefore, encourage everyone to take part in all testing on offer.

Care details and partner/support person attendance restrictions

In order to continue keeping everyone safe we ask the following:

If you wish to bring someone with you, we ask that it is the same person throughout your pregnancy journey, and confirm:

- they are free of any symptoms of COVID-19

- if they have had COVID-19, they must have completed their period of isolation

- that you have not been advised to self-isolate in the last 14 days when returning from travel abroad

We ask that you and your support person do a lateral flow antigen test 24 hours before your routine appointment and continue to complete these twice a week as recommended by NHS England. Your midwife or doctor will ask you to verbally confirm your test result on attendance at your appointment.

These tests are widely available from your local pharmacy, GP or asymptomatic testing centre or they can be ordered online in advance.

What types of test are being used?

The Innova SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Qualitative Test uses a swab which has been in contact with the nostril of the person being tested – this is what we use in hospitals.

The home testing is self-administered and will use a test that requires a nasal and a throat swab. The swab is then inserted into the extraction tube with the extraction fluid and then rotated and pressed to make sure that the sample from the swab is released into the extraction fluid (swab is then discarded at this point).

The person testing should then take the extraction tube with the nozzle cap and place two drops of extraction fluid into the sample well of the lateral flow device (LFD) testing device cartridge and wait for the result on the test device.

If you are unsure how to do a lateral flow test please watch this short video.

Testing and recording the test results

You and your support person should carry out the lateral flow test within 24 hours of attending your appointment.

When you have completed the test you must report the results online immediately. This will generate an email and a text message confirmation of the result.

You should bring proof of a recent negative test with you to each appointment.

If you and/or their support people who have access to lateral flow tests via a different route, e.g. employer or a school bubble, you should bring proof of the latest regular test.

Who are you reporting a result for?

If you have problems reporting the test results online, then please bring the test cartridge with you to the hospital appointment as proof of the negative COVID-19 test result.

Positive Lateral Flow Test

If your birth/support receives a positive rapid swab test result, they will need to:

- return home and self-isolate

- book a coronavirus test from a recognised site (via NHS 111)

If your birth supporter’s coronavirus test is negative, we will need to see the SMS or email that confirms the result. This can be the original message or a screenshot.

In the event of a positive coronavirus test, you and your partner should identify a back-up birth partner who can stay with you if their rapid swab test is negative.

Attending scans, Antenatal Clinic and Antenatal Day Assessment appointments at Milton Keynes University Hospital

Women can be accompanied by one nominated support person for all scans and antenatal appointments in Antenatal Clinic and Day Assessment Unit.

To attend the appointments and scans, you and your support person must have had a rapid COVID-19 test (also known as a lateral flow test) within 24 hours of your appointment. When you come for your appointment or scan you will need to provide proof of a negative rapid coronavirus test from the government test reporting system.

If your support person does not provide proof, we will unfortunately not be able to allow them into the department.

Please arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your planned appointment time.

On arrival, you and your support partner must show their negative lateral flow test to the receptionist.

For appointments in ultrasound, you and your companion or partner will be directed to the women’s ultrasound waiting area.

For antenatal clinic appointments, please wait in the antenatal clinic waiting area. If there is not enough space reception staff can assist you.

COVID-19 testing – Labour and birth

All women will be asked to have a COVID-19 test on admission. This will include both a lateral flow test and PCR test (which is sent to the lab) so we can make sure you are cared for in an appropriate environment.

If you are being admitted in labour, your support partner(s) will be asked to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test in the last 24 hours. If you are unable to do this, we will offer a lateral flow test on site but there will be a 15 to 30 minute wait for the result.

Your partner should not attend if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. If you are in labour and your partner’s lateral flow test is positive and they do not have any symptoms, your partner will be facilitated to stay during labour and birth provided they stay in the birth room and follow the Trust’s infection control policy, including wearing a face mask at all times. They will be asked to follow government guidelines and return home and self-isolate after the birth.

Antenatal and postnatal ward

Only one person can visit throughout the duration of your stay as there is limited space for maintaining social distancing. Your support person is required to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test.

Birth supporters will be asked to provide evidence of their negative lateral flow test every three days while you are staying on the maternity wards.

If you or your support person test positive for COVID-19 they will not be able to visit the ward.

If birth supporters choose not to have a lateral flow test test, we will decline them entry to the maternity ward.

Caesarean section

If you have an elective caesarean, you will have your coronavirus test during your pre-operative appointment in the Antenatal Clinic before you are admitted and again on admission.

This will include both a lateral flow test and PCR test (which is sent to the lab) so we can make sure you are cared for in an appropriate environment.

Birth partners may accompany you during your admission for caesarean section.

Your birth partner can stay with you throughout the procedure if their lateral flow test is negative.

Home birth

Our midwifery team still supports home birth services, as long as you and other members of your household are not experiencing symptoms of coronavirus.

Information for birth/support partners

COVID safety

In order to keep you and other people in our hospitals safe, you must follow these guidelines during appointments, scans, and hospital visits:


follow all instructions given to you by our staff

wear a face mask at all times while you are at our hospital

wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser gel for at least 20 seconds when you enter and leave the hospital, or an ultrasound scan room

stay 2 metres apart from other patients, visitors and staff

sit in the social distanced chairs


do not bring more than one birth supporter to your scan appointment

do not bring children or siblings to your appointments or visiting on the ward

do not visit the hospital if you or anyone in your household is symptomatic of has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days

do not visit the hospital if you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, or symptoms of sickness or diarrhoea

do not arrive early (you may be asked to wait outside the hospital until the time of your appointment)

do not visit other areas of the hospital, unless staff tell you to


We are currently offering women and other birthing people a COVID-19 test in the following situations:

2–3 days prior to an elective procedure such as induction of labour or elective caesarean section

If you are admitted to hospital during your pregnancy

When you are admitted to hospital in labour

At regular intervals throughout your inpatient stay, should it be greater than 3 days

If you are re-admitted to hospital after having given birth to your baby and being discharged home

COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy

Pregnant women and birthing people are recommended to have the COVID-19 vaccine as per the guidance issued from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) issued 16 Apr 2021.

You are able to have a COVID-19 vaccination in line with government priority groups or if you have a health condition or reason that means you are eligible: list of priority groups.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the preferred vaccines for pregnant women of any age who are having their first dose. This is because they have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues. See full guidance here

Anyone who has already had the first vaccination and is offered a second dose while pregnant should have a second dose with the same vaccine unless they had a serious side effect after the first dose.

For more information, read this guide from Public Health England: A guide to COVID-19 vaccination


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