Changes are to be made to the way expectant mums are cared for by midwives and the maternity service, to reduce the risk of infection from coronavirus.
In line with measures to prevent people attending hospital wherever possible, it’s proposed that most antenatal appointments are conducted in the community, rather than at Noble’s as at present. This would include a woman’s first appointment with the midwife, as well as subsequent routine check-ups and meetings during her pregnancy.
Some appointments will continue on a face-to-face basis at a GP surgery or other suitable venue, while others will be conducted by telephone, including conversations with an obstetrician where appropriate. Ultrasound scans, when clinically indicated, will take place at Noble’s Hospital and arrangements for women who need follow-up appointments and further scans will be made to suit individual circumstances.
The changes in the service follow UK NICE guidance for maternity care. Replacing face-to-face visits with telephone consultations and reducing non-urgent appointments are in the interest of patient safety, and will minimise coronavirus exposure risk during the current outbreak.
Lead Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist Michelle Moroney said:
‘We need to continue to provide a safe and effective service for pregnant women on the Island and at the same time minimise coronavirus exposure risk. Regular maternity surveillance, to ensure the well-being of both mother and baby, will necessitate direct contact between healthcare professionals and women but many aspects of pregnancy assessment and planning can be conducted by phone.
‘Our aim is to continue to deliver effective care and at the same time, minimise direct contact. The danger of infection in pregnant women is probably low but still being understood and we would offer increased surveillance to ensure the on-going well-being of the baby for those women who have had coronavirus.
Mrs Moroney added:
‘Advice and help will be available as before only in different ways and settings. Women may for the time being, have less face-to-face contact with their midwife or obstetrician - although this is regrettable, telephone communication is an immediate and invaluable resource for delivering care and information.’
Details of the plan for maternity care are available online on the pregnancy page.
The information aims to reassure women, their partners and families that their needs will continue to be met.
Post-natal checks and baby clinics have also been reorganised, with home visits being replaced with regional clinics on a hub basis. This change aims to make best use of the district nursing and community midwifery teams, who are currently providing additional care and support to vulnerable groups in the community, as resources across the health and care system flex to meet unprecedented demand.